How often do you have to drain a portable air conditioner?

How frequently you drain your portable AC unit will depend on the climate’s humidity levels and will also be influenced by activities that produce more humidity.

Owning a portable air conditioner offers you the benefit of having a mobile cooling system for anywhere you are in your home. Your portable air conditioner extracts hot air from a room in order to effectively cool the room.

Owning a portable air conditioner comes with ensuring that the unit is in the right working condition and that it is cooling efficiently, as it should, by getting rid of moisture in the air and releasing cool air into the room. This process requires that you drain your unit.

Draining your portable air conditioner

Since portable air conditioners work by extracting humidity from the room to cool it, they accumulate water internally that is collected in the condensate or water tank.

As the unit operates in different humidity conditions, the condensate tank steadily fills up with condensate water that eventually needs to be drained once the tank fills up to a certain level.

AC owners need to drain their units to avoid any leaks inside the house or space and to prevent the unit from shutting off due to overflowing water, but how often does your unit need to be drained?

How often do you have to drain a portable air conditioner?

Many portable air conditioner owners or those thinking of investing in one may wonder how many times they need to drain their portable unit.

The time can vary depending on the humidity conditions the unit is working in. It can be anywhere between every six to eight hours or every several weeks.

The hotter the climate is, the more humid the conditions are both inside and outside, and since the portable air conditioner works inside, it extracts a large quantity of humidity from the air.

Bear in mind that if it is excessively humid, the unit is likely collecting more moisture than it normally does, which may mean it needs to be drained more frequently, since the water tank fills up more rapidly.

Portable air conditioners differ and some of them do not need to be drained manually.

These units have an exhaust hose whereby the hose is vented through a window or another viable opening to vent the warm air extracted from the room. This warm air is vaporised and sent through the hose for the room to cool.

It is important to never leave your portable air conditioner with a full condensate tank as this can lead to system failures or malfunctioning when the water overflows. A drain hose is a good way of ensuring that your unit is draining continuously.

Other factors that contribute to your unit producing lots of water

If you find that your portable air conditioner is producing too much water, there can be other reasons for this besides the level of humidity in the air.

Activities such as cooking increase the level of humidity in your home. If your unit is operating close to the kitchen, then this is likely the reason the unit is collecting a lot of water.

Similarly, if your unit is close to a bathroom where you shower or run a bath regularly, a lot of water could accumulate in the unit.

Handling the exhaust hose

When it comes to units with an exhaust hose that needs to be vented outside, the hose needs to be kept short and straight.

This is going to increase the efficiency of your portable air conditioner, as a shorter hose minimises the risk of excess moisture building up and seeping back up into the unit which could damage the internal parts of the unit if the water stays in it for too long.

A shorter hose gives the moisture a shorter distance to travel out as opposed to a longer hose. The exhaust hose should never be extended as the unit will likely overheat.

How to know if your condensate tank is full

Some of the latest portable air conditioners alert you when the condensate tank is full and can potentially overflow. With built-in float switches, the air conditioner automatically switches off when the condensate tank is full and needs to be drained.

This will likely sound an alarm that will alert you to the status of the tank and you will need to drain your portable unit to get it to switch on again. Although not all units have a float switch, therefore, you need to monitor the unit to prevent overflow.

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