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Portable air conditioners are affordable, easy to install and a great option for air cooling in specific rooms. Since they are designed to operate from inside a room, portable AC units requires proper venting to effectively cool the air. Venting removes the collected hot air by the AC unit from a space and move it to somewhere else, usually outside or another room.
Unlike window air conditioning system, portable AC unit can be used in rooms with or without windows as long as you know how to deal with the hot exhaust air from the system. Further, it is possible to move a portable air conditioner from one room to another without interfering with natural light.
Let us look at the most suitable portable air conditioner venting options to can use in a room with or without window.
Portable air Conditioner Venting Options
Venting a portable air conditioner comes down to the layout of the room. These units can be slight noisier and some distance from your personal space can be important. Since they also rely on an electric outlet, you don’t want cables crisscrossing in your traffic path. Here is how to properly vent your portable AC.
1. Venting Through a Window
This is a traditional and easy way of venting an AC unit. Upon purchase, most units come with window venting kits. With this method, the air conditioner should be placed near outside window and near a properly grounded electric outlet so that the power cable and hose vent can be connected without stretching.
After going through the manual, and you are sure that your AC is positioned in the right place, check in the box to ensure you have the following:
- A vent hose
- Vent hose connector
- A window slide connector
- screws and foam or weather strips may also be included
- Attach the vent connector on the back of the unit
- Fit the vent hose into the hose connector on the unit
- Connect the window exhaust connector on the other end of the hose
- Extend the hose until it connects the connector on the window slider kit
- Plug in your portable air conditioner while adhering to safety guidelines
- Test and turn on your AC as directed in the user manual
Window kits are designed to work with most types of windows including casement windows. Here are further tips to consider.
- For a window with an up-down operation, place the kit at the bottom and extend it until it fills the width of the window opening.
- If a window slides side-to-side, then place the kit on one side and extend it until it fills the height of the window.
- If your window opening is smaller than the minimum length of the slider kit, then trim the kit down to fit the space
- If the window opening is larger than the maximum length of the slider kit, then reduce the gap using plywood, Plexiglas or a cardboard
2. Venting through sliding door
A sliding door is an alternative for venting your portable air conditioning unit in rooms without windows. It is also important to consider where these doors leads to. It might be difficult to get proper cooling if the door leads to another room. This makes doors that lead into an open air a great option as long as you don’t compromise on security.
The process of installing a vent on a door is pretty much the same as for windows. While there are specific slider kits for doors, you can as well use a window slider kit with additional filler materials to cover the extra gap.
3. Venting Portable AC through the Wall
A portable air conditioner that cannot be vented through the window or door can be vented through the wall. Since most rooms does not have any hole in the walls, you will have to drill where a hose vent will be fitted. Keep in mind that a portable air conditioner may not cool properly if not vented adequately.
Drilling can be a simple do DIY task but without correct tools you can make some errors and probably damages.
You may need a professional to drill the right size of the hole in your wall. They have the right equipment for drilling any sort of holes in any type of wall. They will inspect for plumbing and electric wiring before drilling. By the end of the day they will do a presentable job.
4. Drop-ceiling Venting
This method of ventilating a portable a portable air conditioner is only effective when you have a dropped ceiling. The area above the dropped ceiling, the plenum space, is commonly used for the HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) air return.
To vent through a drop-ceiling, just cut a hole in a ceiling panel and fit the exhaust hose. Specialized drop ceiling venting kits come with an extendable vent hose that fit almost all portable air conditioners. Drop-ceiling venting is also a great solution for venting rooms without windows.
5. Venting through a dryer vent
If you have a dryer, it is possible that you have a hole cut in the side of your house where water-laden air from your cloth dryer is channeled through to outside. You can vent your Portable AC through this dryer vent.
This method will not be effective if your dyer vent is smaller in size as compared the size of the hose vent. Even if you find a way of connecting it, air cooling may not be fully effective since the volume of hot air being blown out is decreased as opposed to the standard requirements.
When making a choice from the above discussed portable air conditioner venting options, ensure you are also looked at other factors that will affect the cooling power of your system. Make sure that your portable AC is properly sized for the room by looking at its BTU ratings – a measure of the unit’s cooling power.
Like any other air conditioners, whether a window unit or a central air conditioning system, a portable air condition requires proper maintenance including regular cleaning and replacement of filters when needed. Together with proper venting, air cooling will be highly effective and your machine will last many years without any problem.
HVAC tech with over 30 years of experience. Retired and doing repair work on the side around Madison County, AL.