Portable Air Conditioner Fills With Water Quickly – Causes + Fixes

When your portable AC starts to fill with water quickly, it is a sign that something is faulty and needs to be fixed. The unit might even use a lot of power to cool your room because the condensate pan does not drain well enough. So, what makes the portable AC to fill up with water quickly?

A portable air conditioner can fill with water quickly due to high humidity, dirty air filters, or clogged drain hose. To fix the AC unit, clean the filters, drain hose, and drain tank to clear any blockage. Also, run a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture and stop the AC from filling up too quickly.

If the problem is a faulty condensate pump (if you have one installed), you might want to call an HVAC repair specialist to help fix the unit. Let’s troubleshoot further and look at the common reasons for the water tank filling up too quick and what you can do to fix the problem.

Why your portable AC fills with water fast

Portable air conditioner fills up with water quickly

While the reasons for your portable air conditioner having drainage problems can be brand-specific(e.g. LG and Haier), the first point of diagnosis before fixing an AC that’s filling up is checking the condensate line and pump. In some cases, your portable unit may not be faulty at all; environmental conditions could be causing excess water buildup.

Here’s why your portable air conditioner fills with water quickly:

High humidity

Your air conditioner cools your home by removing excess moisture and heat in the air. If you live in an area with high humidity, the unit may struggle to get rid of the excess humidity. Your AC may also fail to cool the house effectively.

One sign very high humidity in the house is a portable air conditioner filling up quickly because there’s a lot more water that the unit is condensing. Therefore, in cities with high humidity:

  • Portable AC units fill with water very fast
  • You’ll be emptying the unit more frequently

The best fix is to use a good dehumidifier in your house to help the unit deal with a lot less humidity. This will mean using an extra appliance during the high humidity seasons to reduce the strain on your portable unit.

Blocked water tank and drain hose

For some portable air conditioners, you may need to drain the water tank manually. However, in some cases, the water tank may not drain any water at all even when the indicator is showing that the tank is full.

The problem here is a clogged water tank that’s making it full up too fast and draining very little water. When you remove the drain valve and try to empty the full water tank but little water comes out, chances are the tank is faulty or blocked.

The drain hose is another part that may be faulty if your portable AC unit fills up too quickly. Actually, if you’re using a drain hose to get rid of the water your AC collects, the tank should never fill up.

If it fills up quickly, check for blockage in the drain hose especially where there are sharp bends that can collect dirt and obstruct water from draining by aid of gravity.

Dirty filters

When your air conditioner is working properly and with clean air filters, air flows freely and is cooled as the excess moisture is condensed and removed from the air.

However, when the filters are dirty, air does not flow freely through the unit and over the evaporator coils. This obstruction can mean that the air gets overfrozen with excess moisture being generated, causing your portable air conditioner to fill up with water faster than usual.

Faulty condensate pump

Some technicians install a condensate pump as a way to easily collect the water released by the air conditioner unit. Sometimes the problem is as simple as a blocked drainage hose from the condensate pump.

The best fix for a faulty condensate pump problem is to call a repair technician to help you repair the unit.

First time use in a room

When you use an AC unit in your house for the first time, it may fill up with water too quickly but that does not mean the unit is faulty.

When being used in a new room for the first time, portable air conditioners can draw a lot of moisture from the atmosphere, floors, and ceilings, meaning the unit can collect a lot of water on the pan too quickly.

There’s no specific fix for this problem because the humidity level will eventually drop after running the air conditioner in the house a few times. Soon, your air conditioner will run normally without collecting too much water on the pan too fast.

How to Fix Your Portable Air Conditioner

The appropriate fix for your portable air conditioner filling up with water too quickly is to determine the cause first. Each cause has its own fix. The best place to start is to clean up the clogged filters and the drain pipes.

Here’s how to fix a portable air conditioner that fills up with water quickly:

Run a dehumidifier in the room

If you live in a city with high humidity, you’ll notice your portable air conditioner collecting too much water and straining to cool the room.

To fix the problem, run a dehumidifier until the level of moisture saturation in the air is below 50% before running your air conditioner. Humidity higher than 70% can host allergens such as dust mites, mold, and mildew that cause allergic reactions.

It is recommended to keep the relative humidity level in your house between 30% and 50% for a healthy living environment and also not to strain your portable air conditioner.

Humidity affects the cooling efficiency of any air conditioner. Therefore, when there’s too much moisture in your house, there will be uneven cooling and strain, increased wear and tear or AC problems that will need frequent repairs.

Clean the AC’s filter

The best fix for this here is very simple – simply clean up your air conditioners filters (if washable). However, some air conditioners and even purifiers don’t have washable air filters, so you might want to replace the filters.

To clean your portable AC’s filter, unplug the unit and remove the filter by pulling up the upper part of its panel. Shake the filter thoroughly or vacuum it to remove dust and then wash it with cool water. Gently shake the air filter to get rid of excess water and allow it to dry before installing it back.

Note: Some portable air conditioners have secondary filters. You can only access them after removing the main filter, so make sure you clean those as well to stop the unit from filling up with water quickly.

Clean the drain tank and hose

How to fix a portable air conditioner that fills up quickly
how to fix a portable air conditioner that fills up quickly

When the AC’s filters are clean yet the problem of collecting too much water persists, you might want to check the drain tank and hose to see if they’re dirty and preventing water that collects on the pan from collecting properly.

The best fix is to remove the drain valve and check the tank to see if it is clean. If there are any sediments, lint or other types of dirt, make sure to remove them to make the portable AC collect water and drain efficiently.

In addition, removing the drain hose and checking for any blockage will fix the problem of filling up too quickly and poor drainage.

LG portable air conditioner keeps filling with water

For most LG portable air conditioners, filling with water too quickly is commonly a drainage problem that you can easily fix by yourself. Remove the drain hose assembly and clean up the hoses to unclog any blockage. This will fix the problem.

Alternatively, set up a continuous drain to help solve the filling up too soon. Here’s a video to help you set up a continuous drain and help fix the problem:

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