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How to Set Up and Vent a Portable Air Conditioner

Portable air conditioners are super easy to put in the space that you want to cool, but hot air and water need an escape from the units, so you do need to arrange for the venting of your portable machine.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you set up your portable air conditioner, as well as steps needed to make sure that it vents properly:

Choose a location that will be near a window or other outlet

You will have a hose that will be attached to your portable air conditioner. That hose will need to push its hot air and/or water outside. So, you cannot put your portable unit in the middle of a hallway 10 yards from the nearest window.

In addition, the venting and possible water discharge hose will work best if they are not bent or twisted. Thus, you want to put your portable unit in a location that will not require the hose to be manipulated in several directions.

Most consumers choose a sliding window that is not overly tall or wide. Check to see how long or wide the venting kit is that comes with your unit, and choose a window that will match up well with your kit.

Choose a location near to power

As you decide where to move or roll your portable air conditioner into place, don’t forget to choose a location near to a power outlet that can handle the demands of the unit or a power strip that is up to the task. You don’t want to plug in your portable air conditioner somewhere that is already sharing power with other large appliances. You could blow a fuse quite easily this way.

Allow for easy change of filters and water removal

If your unit is on wheels, this is not a consideration. If it is quite heavy and awkward to move, then this is a huge consideration. You do not want to put your machine with its back almost to the wall, for instance, where you can’t easily get to the filters for cleaning or replacement.

Additionally, you will need to remove a water collection tray in some cases. If you can’t easily fit your arm and hands behind the unit so that the tray pulls out easily, you need to re-think where you want to put your unit. If too much water accumulates, the unit will either shut off or spill onto the floor.

Connect your venting hose to the machine, then to the window/window kit, ceiling or door

Most of the newer models of portable air conditioners have window kits that make this step a snap. Some do not, making this step a bit harder. You also might choose to vent the hot air through a wall or even a ceiling, further complicating matters.
In that case, you will need to cut a hole in the wall or ceiling to match the diameter of the venting hose. That can be difficult and you might need to call for help on this step.

Slip the exhaust connector over the opening in the back of your machine. Then, connect the exhaust hose(s). Some units come with heat and water discharge hoses.
Adjust the length of the window kit, if available, and cut to fit if necessary. Then, place the kit into the window and connect the hose to it. Shut the window and you are ready for cool air.

Finally, shorten the exhaust hose if necessary. Be cautious about doing this in case you decide to move your portable air conditioner to another spot where you will need your maximum hose length.

Turn on your unit, make sure that the hoses stay in place as the air conditioner does its job, and monitor its operation for a few hours to ensure that all hot air leaves the room smoothly through the hose, as well as water, if you have an additional hose for that purpose.

Make any adjustments necessary, such as increasing the size of the hole in your wall or ceiling, or sealing the extra space around your hole with caulk.
Of course, if you decide to move your unit (one of the advantages of portable air conditioners), you will need to repeat all of the steps given above.

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