Staying Cool with Portable Air Conditioners

portable air conditioner sitting on the floor in room

Maybe you’ve just moved into your dream house and have discovered that the AC unit isn’t working correctly. Or maybe you have a room in your house that doesn’t receive airflow. Or maybe you are dealing with a scorcher of a summer and your current unit can’t keep things as cool as you would like. Or maybe you simply don’t want or can’t afford an expensive AC unit.

No matter what the issue is, however, trying to live without AC in the summer can be problematic. As humidity rises outside and sunlight streams through your windows, your house can start feeling like a sauna. Sure, running a fan during the day and remembering to shut your blinds can help. But sometimes you just need a little more.

And that is where portable air conditioners come in. Instead of having to rely on a central HVAC unit, you can use a portable air conditioner to keep specific rooms nice and cold in the summer. Here’s how you can make the most out of a portable unit.

Install it correctly

When you install the portable unit, put it in a place that isn’t directly in the sun where it receives plenty of ventilation. The exhaust hose needs to be able to vent hot air out through a door or window. To make sure the exhaust hose works properly, don’t twist or kink or stretch it. Also, install the unit in a room with low humidity, to help with condensation. Extra condensation means you’ll need to clean and drain the unit more frequently.

Turn heat sources in room off

If the unit is the same room as your stove, it will have to work harder to keep the room cool every time the stove is turned on. This can eventually cause the unit to overheat. It is better to put the unit in a room where it is not working directly against heat sources. Keep in mind that some electronics also put off a large amount of heat when in use, so you shouldn’t put the unit near your computer or tv.

Give it time to work

Don’t expect to turn the unit on and for it to immediately cool the room down. Turn the unit on in the morning or early evening, because the temperature in the room will already be cooler, and allow the unit to start cooling the room several hours in advance. Many units have a timer feature so you can turn it on beforehand, even if you’re not at home. Also, keep the door to the room shut, so the air can properly circulate.

Keep the unit clean

To make sure the unit functions properly, you’re going to need to regularly change the filters, keep the vents free from dust and dirt, and keep the coils clean. Just because it is smaller than a normal HVAC unit doesn’t mean it can be neglected!

Filters will need changed or cleaned on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on the size of the unit. Vents should be vacuumed and wiped clean once a month. And coils should be cleaned once a year.

Store it properly

When your portable air conditioner isn’t in use, make sure to store it properly so that you can continue to use it next summer. It should be stored inside where it isn’t exposed to harsh temperatures.

Before storing, make sure all water has been drained from the unit and that all parts have had time to dry. This will prevent the unit from growing mold while in storage. Also, to prevent the exhaust host from becoming damaged, make sure to compress it.

Find the right unit

When purchasing a portable air conditioner, make sure to buy one that is the right size for your space. Trying to use a small unit to cool too large of a space will put extra pressure on the unit, which can cause it to stop working.

Here is a guide on some of the best portable air conditioners currently available on the market. Look over the pros and cons, as well as the various features, of each unit to narrow down your options.

Final thoughts

When it comes to using a portable air conditioner, there are many ways to ensure that the unit stays as efficient as possible. While they might not cool your entire house in the same way an HVAC unit would, they can at least help keep certain rooms in your house at a cool temperature.


About Amanda

I love to buy a lot of products for the home, and dissect them out. I split them into duds and winners, and share the findings here on my site. As a reader of my site, I'm aiming for your next purchase to be an informed and inspired one.

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