Everything You Need to Know About Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioning units are small air conditioners that don’t need to be permanently attached like regular AC units. Most portable models are up to 34” tall and weigh up to 80 pounds. These air conditioners are great for apartments and other places it would be impossible to install a window unit. Here’s everything you need to know about portable air conditioning.

Are Portable Air Conditioners the Same as Swamp Coolers?

Portable air conditioners are different from swamp coolers/evaporative coolers. Swamp coolers use water and evaporation to provide their cooling effect. Air coolers generally reduce ambient temperatures by up to 20 degrees. Portable air conditioners use the same compressor and coolant as a regular AC unit and are more effective.

Venting is Important

A portable AC unit extracts hot air which then has to eb vented. If this air isn’t vented it prevents the unit from being able to effectively cool a room. That’s why venting kits are included with the units. Portable units can also be vented through a wall vent, around a door, or into the attic. What matters is that they have some kind of venting.

Can a Portable AC Exhaust Hose be Extended?

Portable air conditioning units are supplied with a standard hose of between 5 and 7 feet. Longer ones can be purchased from any good hardware store if needed. Avoid hoses that are too long though. You can also use a dryer hose to vent an air conditioner provided it is over 5” in circumference and the outdoor venting flap has been removed.

Regularly Check the Water Reservoir

Portable air conditioners create condensation while cooling. The water is stored in an internal water reservoir. It may also be drained out through a hose. Be sure to check the water reservoir regularly and empty it when needed. Units are programmed to shut off automatically when the reservoir is full so if yours isn’t working, it could be that the reservoir needs to be emptied.

How Energy Efficient are Portable Air Conditioners?

The energy efficiency of appliances is measured with an Energy Efficiency Rating (EER). This is a measure of how much the unit costs to run. The higher this rating, the more energy efficient the appliance. An EER of 10 or above is considered excellent energy efficiency.

Portable air conditioners can save a lot of money over traditional AC units when used to cool a single room. The household standard for portable AC units is 115 Volts/60 Hertz and they operate on between 7 and 10 amps of power and are hooked up to the mains.

Portable Air Conditioners are Ideal for Server Rooms

Portable air conditioners are commonly used to keep computer server rooms cool. Even small server rooms can produce a surprising amount of heat and can benefit from a portable unit. Portable AC units also reduce humidity. They keep the room nice and dry and create an environment suited for continuous computer use.


Portable air conditioner units are designed to be used in places where a regular AC unit would be too big, such as apartments. They are connected to the mains and offer energy-efficient cooling for small spaces. They essentially work just like a regular AC unit but without taking up so much space.

Steven Cooper

Steven Cooper

Refrigeration and air conditioning engineer with over thirty years hands on experience.

Air Coolers UK