How Often Should I Drain My Portable Air Conditioner? What You Should Know About Portable Air Conditioner

How Often Should I Drain My Portable Air Conditioner

Portable air conditioners are convenient because they provide consistent cool fresh air, especially humid conditions. As good as they seem, portable air conditioners will require constant maintenance to work appropriately. Draining the portable air conditioning condensate tank is one of the most important maintenance steps you should take; this will always keep the appliance working efficiently. Keep in mind that the frequency of draining your portable air conditioner will depend on the air condition within and outside of its enclosure. 

So, How Often Should I Drain my Portable Air Conditioner?

Depending on the humidity within the space, you may have to drain your portable air conditioner every 8 hours. 

Some Basic Maintenance Things You Should Know About Your Portable Air Conditioner

The following are some things you should know about your portable air conditioner;

1. Frequency of Draining Your Air Conditioner

You don’t have to drain your portable air conditioner every 8 hours in certain conditions. If, for instance, you live in a very dry region, you may not need to dry your air conditioner often, and the reason is that your portable AC is filled with air drawn from the cooling of the circulating warm and humid air. If, for instance, the air around your portable AC is dry, then your appliance may pull little or no moisture out of the circulating external air.

Most new portable AC has been designed to eradicate moisture from home via the exhaust vent. The condensate releases its air and sprays it into the condenser coil to complete this process. The air released evaporates, and the vapor is removed from the house via the exhaust hose.

This design method is very effective in getting water out of the condensate tank, but if you live in a very humid environment, you will spend more time draining the air conditioner. This does not mean you should not check your condensate tank, even if you live in a dry area. You should check the tank at least twice a month, especially for likely mold growth.

2. What Will Happen When You Fail to Drain Your Portable Air Conditioner?

Several issues can be triggered if you don’t drain your portable air conditioner. The appliance, for instance, may shut off and wouldn’t turn on. Most modern portable air conditioners now come with an in-built float switch feature that automatically turns off when its condensate tank is filled with water.

There is usually an alarm attached to an in-built float switch triggered when the condensate tank is filled. You will know it’s time to drain the portable air conditioner with the alarm.

Sometimes, the tank may overflow. This problem does happen when the in-built float switch is not working. The overflowing condensate tank may not be a massive problem to the air conditioner itself, but it may cause some damage to the home.  

Mold growth inside your portable air conditioner is another problem that may arise when you fail to drain the appliance. Most people don’t often pay attention to this issue until they notice green or black water when draining their air conditioner. Mold grows only in portable air conditioners that are not emptied for a while. Leaving water inside your appliance can create an excellent atmosphere for mold growth.

3. How Long Can You Run Your Portable Air Conditioner Continuously?

 You can run your portable air conditioner as long as you want without issues. Your portable air conditioner should work appropriately as long as you conduct proper maintenance, including the filter cleaning and condensate tank emptying.

Even if you clean the air filter and take care of the condensate, you should not leave the portable air conditioner on for long. Like many appliances, portable air conditioners can lose efficiency and eventually pack up when left to work for extended periods without breaks. Turning off your portable air conditioner for breaks will give it some time to cool off and reduce wear and tear on components.

Go for portable air conditioners that automatically turn off at certain temperatures after cooling your home.

An average-sized portable air conditioner may run for between 10 and 20 minutes at a stretch as it lowers the temperature to the set point. If your air conditioner runs continuously, it may be pretty under-sized to service the room. You must check that you choose the appropriate portable air conditioner for an enclosure. There may be some extra heat or moisture-generating sources within the home that should be removed or fixed in many cases. The larger the portable air conditioner, the quicker it cools your entire space.

Why Is The Portable Air Conditioner Generating So Much Water?

Portable air conditioners generate wastewater most of the time, which is not a severe issue that should be worried about. These appliances generate water and replace your home’s warmer air with cooler ones. The generated water precipitates out of the appliances, and it is collected in a tank condenser outside of the air conditioner.

This process of removing water from the air is referred to as dehumidification. If your portable air conditioner is generating more wastewater than the average, it means your environment is hotter and more humid than usual.

Internal factors that can lead to more water generation by portable air conditioners are; cooking and showering. Even activities like ironing, playing games on the computer, and heating water can generate more heat and make your home humid than usual. If you have more guests in your home, humidity can increase sharply as people breathe air.

External factors that can make your portable air conditioner generate more water include; a warm and humid atmosphere and using heat-generating appliances outdoor.

The production of more wastewater means your portable air conditioner is working efficiently. You should be rather worried if your appliance is generating little or no water. Excess humidity may be generated and force your air conditioner to work even harder when there are gaps around your windows and doors. In this case, you may have to apply an insulator to seal such gaps.

Improving Your Portable Air Conditioner Efficiency

There are certain things you can do to make your portable air conditioner more efficient, and that includes draining.

1. Set Up A Continuous Drain for the Portable Air Conditioner

Setting up a drain hose is one of the best things you can do to improve water draining from your portable air conditioner. The drain hose will empty the water from the condensate tank, while another side of the hose will go into the drain. In many cases, you can direct the hose outside of the enclosed area to drain.

With the drain hose, your air conditioner condensate tank will not accumulate water. This means you can protect your home from stagnant water and, at the same time, prevent mold growth within the appliance. With the hose setup, you don’t have to worry about emptying your condensate tank.

Having this hose setup doesn’t mean you should not keep an eye on your portable air conditioner. Keep in mind that the inside of your condensate tank will still be wet; you still need to clean the appliance’s filters and prevent mold.

2. Improve Ventilation in Humid Conditions

Do you know you can cut the work rate of your portable air conditioner by improving air circulation? If you live in humid conditions, for instance, you may want to open the windows, push the curtains to one side and open the doors to allow fresh air in and reduce heat buildup. When you do a pre-heat removal by improving ventilation, you will end up reducing your air conditioner workload significantly, and that can prolong the lifespan of the appliance.

3. Go for the Larger Portable Air Conditioner

The smaller portable air conditioner will work harder and longer to cool an enlarged enclosure, and a bigger portable air conditioner will work much less. Though, the bigger portable appliance will generate more water that must be constantly drained. The maintenance work you perform on a larger portable air conditioner will eventually pay off. 

With more heat removed from the room before you turn off the air conditioner, the appliance will use less power to draw out and replace hot air with a cool one.


A portable conditioner is one of the most convenient, energy-saving ways to cool your home. You need to check the energy rating of the appliance before you choose it, especially if you are worried about the cost of operating the appliance. In some cases, you may have to set up a dedicated circuit breaker for some brands of portable air conditioners to prevent the electricity from tripping off frequently. You can also preserve the lifespan of the appliance by switching it off in certain seasons of the year; for instance, in the winter, you probably don’t need it to cool the air. It would be best if you were wary of refurbished air conditioners that may develop issues in a short period. Go for a brand new one if you can afford it.