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Portable Air Conditioner Unit Venting FAQ

Portable Air Conditioner Unit Venting FAQ

Air conditioners work by pulling in hot air from the room, compressing it by using a refrigerant, and then blowing cool air back. Portable air conditioners house the compressor and evaporation system in the same unit. They are available in two types, split and hose, with capacities ranging from 1800 to 18000 watts.
Ranjan Shandilya
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
Did You Know?
Compared to window air conditioners that have an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 10, portable units manage about half, with an EER of 5 or 6.
Portable air conditioners are units that can be transferred from one room to another. This gives them an edge over the traditional cooling platforms. However, what they do require is a venting outlet, which can either be a window or a wall. Once the unit has been installed in the room, a suitable outlet can be selected and the vent positioned over it. Here are some FAQs regarding portable air conditioner venting.
1. Do portable air conditioners require outside venting? Is it possible to use a portable air conditioner without a vent?

All air conditioners need to vent hot air from a room. However, the hot air need not be vented outside a window. It can be vented into a room, like a storage one, where high temperatures aren't an issue. Portable air conditioners require a vent to function properly. Moreover, removing the vents, or otherwise altering them, might cause safety hazards that must be avoided.
2. What type of venting options are provided?

Most portable air conditioners come with an installation kit for a window or a sliding door. A wall or a drop ceiling can also be used for venting. These installation kits fit into the gaps between window sashes or sliding doors and have openings in them, where the air-con vents can be attached.
3. What are the steps involved to vent a portable air conditioner?

The typical steps involved are:
  • Select the location for vent.
  • Slide the exhaust connector over the discharge opening, at the back of the unit.
  • Connect the exhaust hose to the exhaust connector.
  • Connect the venting window kit adapter to the window kit.
  • Set the window vending kit into the window and shut the window.
4. How does the window kit work?

The window kit is customized to fit a slider or a window. Once fit, it acts as an extension to the window and its foam padding seal the window from the inside. The exhaust hose is attached to a small cut out in the foam and vents the hot air outside.
5. How long does an installation at a window take?

A single installation takes about 5 minutes, and the unit can easily be moved from window to window.
6. What is the ideal length of the exhaust hose? Can its length be extended?

The ideal length of the exhaust hose should be between 5 and 7 feet and it should be 5 inches in diameter. The manufacturers of portable air conditioners generally recommend that the length of the hose should not be extended. If there is back pressure or constricted airflow, the unit may suffer damage. If extending the hose length is your only option, make sure that the diameter is also increased in proportion. However, this is sure to decrease the efficiency of your unit. Make sure to consult the instruction manual as many manufacturers do not advise this at all.
7. What material is used to make the exhaust hose of a portable air conditioner?

The material used to make the hose is temperature resistant plastic, which is reinforced with metal.
8. Can I vent a portable air conditioner out a dryer vent?

Venting a portable air conditioner using a dryer vent is usually not recommended by the manufacturers, especially if the diameter of the dryer vent is smaller than the hose of the air conditioner. Also, if your dryer vent has external vents, it should not be used as the compressor may not have enough power to push the flaps open.
9. What is the difference between a single hose design and a dual hose design?

Some portable air conditioners offer one air exhaust hose while some offer two, one for air intake and the other for air exhaust. A single hose takes the air in, cools it and returns the same air back into the room. A small portion will be blown out of the air conditioner's exhaust host. A dual hose unit works by taking in air from the outside through one of the hose pipes cooling the air and releasing hot air through the exhaust pipe.
10. How much power is required for a portable air conditioner?

Portable A/Cs use the regular home appliance power sockets of 115/120 volts but, being power-hungry devices, it is advisable not to plug multiple devices into a single wall mount socket, as this can cause overloading and short circuits. Portable A/Cs also consume energy depending on environmental conditions such as dust and heat.
11. Where can I get window accessories to fit my crank-out window?

Currently, there are no window kits in the market that can fit casement or crank-out style windows because of the varying dimensions of such panes. However a Plexiglas sheet can be used to cover the frame area and the hole of the vent hose. It is a cheap and efficient solution.
12. Should I worry about water seepage? Does water collect in portable A/C's?

Most high-end portable A/Cs come with their own in-built water evaporation mechanisms so one does not have to bother with removing collected water yet, budget portable a/cs come with buckets which need to be emptied from time to time (8-10 hours in some, a month in others).
With a wide variety of PACs in the market, make an informed decision while choosing one. Also, make sure you read the user manual very carefully before installing a venting mechanism for your portable air conditioner.