My Portable A/C Fills Up With Water So Fast Because Of This

Portable A/C

It is not normal for an A/C to fill up with water faster than it should. But there is no reason for you to panic, as I will discuss why it happens in this guide.

Why does my portable A/C fill up with water so fast? High humidity, faulty units, incorrect installation, and dusty filters are some of the reasons why a portable A/C fills up with water quickly. Aside from those reasons, it could also be because of the climate in your area. Hot areas accumulate more A/C water.

It is upsetting when you experience A/C problems, especially drainage problems. Not only can this flood the room, but it also decreases cooling capacity. Below are reasons for water overfill and what to do.

Reasons Why Your Portable A/C Is Filling up with Water Fast

Units operate on the same refrigeration cycle as compressor-based A/Cs. For that reason, generating water is part of the cooling process of portable A/Cs.

Most people with portable A/Cs experience problems with cooling efficiency and drainage systems.

The biggest reason why unit owners experience A/C water problems is high humidity. Humidity adversely impacts air conditioning when the cooling effect is canceled out.

If the moisture is too much, it can make your room feel warmer than it is. When the room is warm, the A/C works faster, thus generating more water.

Another reason for excessive water deposits can be dirty condensate lines, which cause clogging. When condensate lines experience this, it leads to ice meltdown, which fills the container with water.

More often than not, people notice this only when the water is already leaking to the floor.

Not all portable air conditioners have the same drainage system. Some already have a feature of self-evaporating technology.

Through this feature, portable air conditioners efficiently recycle the excess humidity in the air. This negates the need to extract moisture by using a bucket or a drainage hose.

But not all portable A/Cs have advanced technology, especially cheaper ones.

Even if they do, this does not mean that the unit evaporates all of its accumulated water. You still need to get rid of the leftover water to avoid overfilling.

Even new units experience excessive water accumulation. But in most cases, it is not the manufacturer’s fault. The fault is usually with the transportation process or installation.

Here are more detailed reasons why your portable A/C fills up with water faster than it should. I will also discuss what you should do.

1. High Humidity

Air conditioners cool houses by removing heat and moisture from the air. They need to work a lot harder when humidity levels are high, thus causing more water generation.

Some units cannot deal with excessive humidity if the equipment does not have an adequate cooling capacity.

High indoor humidity signs include:

  • Water leaking. If you see water leaking under the unit, it could be because it has worked harder than it should.

  • Foggy glass. In the air, moisture is vaporized water. It fogs up the windows as it gets sealed up in your house.

  • A musty smell. Dampness in the home is caused by high humidity, which can ultimately contribute to this uncomfortable issue.

  • Uncomfortable air. When you are inside your house, your skin can feel clammy.

You can either wait or do something. Sometimes you have to wait only until the humidity in the room decreases, but that might take too long. If you cannot wait, you can install dehumidifiers.

This basic appliance can pull moisture from the air, trapping the condensation. You can combine dehumidifiers with air conditioning systems, which will allow you to change the space temperature and humidity level in one fell swoop.

2. New Installation

If you have just mounted the A/C for the first time or have been a while since the unit’s last use, you may experience excessive water.

Some versions accumulate more water, which may explain why your portable A/C fills with water faster.

The device initially needs to dehumidify the whole room, even though it cools before the humidity falls to normal levels.

To avoid further damage to your portable air conditioner, you should wait until the air is dehumidified. After dehumidification, there will be a decrease in the number of days you have to empty it.

In fact, from this point, most of the units involved will constantly be evaporating water. In the meantime, shutting the windows and doors in the room can be helpful.

3. Dirty Air Filter

A filter full of dirt restricts airflow over the coils of the evaporator. The coils become too cold and freeze over as a consequence. As they melt, the condensate pan drips with extra moisture, which allows it to leak.

Regardless of whether your unit has a partial evaporator, the water would still not be exhausted at the same speed as dripping. You would still have to keep emptying your portable A/C.

The newer ones feature a filter reset indicator. This is great because it turns on when the filter needs to be cleaned.

Sometimes even when a specific number of hours have passed in operation, the A/C will not run until you take out the filter, clean it, and put it back on.

Check your portable A/C filters and make sure that no dirt is lying around. If there is, take it out of the unit and give it a thorough cleaning.

The filters in portable air conditioners are usually reusable, so changing the filter is sometimes unnecessary. 

4. Faulty Unit

The next reason is that your unit might be faulty. This is one of the things you never want to hear because repair can be costly.

Because of clogging, the airflow in the unit’s evaporator coil is blocked. As a result, it freezes the coils.

When the coil is frozen, it will start melting and water will make its way into the evaporation container.

This will cause the unit to fill up with water even faster. Also, the condensate pump may be faulty.

Avoid further damage to your appliance by installing a working condensate pump. If you use one, the accumulating water in the water pan will be directed to your desired location. It is quick and easy to install, too!

Check, clean, or replace the pumps regularly. Most manufacturers encourage unit owners to clean or change pumps every one to three months.

However, I don’t recommend doing this yourself. This type of work needs a professional HVAC technician.

5. Refrigerant Leak

The other, even more frightening source of frozen coils is a leak of refrigerant from the A/C. If water escapes from inside somewhere, and the air conditioner recently sucks at cooling, you could have a refrigerant problem.

This is particularly the case if the coils have begun to cover up with ice. Hearing a buzzing/hissing from the rear of the machine is another tell-tale warning.

You should contact the manufacturer and avail yourself of the warranty, or call an HVAC technician to look at your unit and decide if any repair or replacement is needed.

6. No Proper Water Draining

Before purchasing a unit, first check on how water drainage works in the unit. Some buyers don’t learn the ins and outs of their desired unit.

One of the reasons for water leaks is clogged drains. When your drain is clogged, the water will no longer pass to the water tank to evaporate.

It is almost impossible that something inside caused the clog, so it has probably come from the outside. This happens when you don’t put the lid back on properly.

The easiest way to drain water from your unit is to do it manually. Remove the drain plug and let the unit drain water into an empty container.

Depending on your humidity and the running hours of your A/C, you can do this at least twice a month.

Do You Need to Drain Your Portable A/C Manually?

There is no need to empty the portable air conditioner in most situations. Some units use a condensation exhaust mechanism to remove water vapor accumulated during the dehumidifying/cooling process.

Along with hot exhaust air, this moisture is released through the exhaust hose.

The water obtained cannot be exhausted fast enough in highly humid environments and can fill the internal water tank.

When this happens, to prevent flooding of the internal reservoir, the device will automatically shut off.

When this condition happens, your unit can display an error code, warning, or indicator light. You may need to empty the internal water tank.

Drain the Internal Water Tank

  1. Find a bucket or drain pan. You can also transfer the unit to a spot where it can be drained into a sink.

  2. At the side or back of the device, find the drain plug.

  3. To empty the water tank, cut the drain plug and rubber stopper.

Water can continue to drain freely until the drain plug is withdrawn.

Continuous Drainage

  1. To empty the device initially, follow the above procedures.

  2. Measure the opening of the drain port.

  3. Locate a hose that is the right width or form of thread to protect the unit’s drainage port.

  4. Locate a hose that will have a match that is water-tight. A regular garden hose fitting can operate in some situations. Furthermore, most hardware shops should have a form of hose that will fit your machine.

  5. Route your drain hose to an acceptable place for drainage. Please bear in mind that water can drain only via the hose through gravity with a continuous drainage setup.

How Much Water Should You Expect Your Portable AC to Leak?

Your air conditioning unit will generate small quantities of condensation during service.

However, how much water spills from the air conditioner depends on a couple of things, such as:

  1. The configuration of the thermostat
  2. The outside temperature

Small quantities of condensation near the drainpipe of your A/C are natural and to be expected. Expect to see more water leaking when the air conditioner works hard on excessively hot and humid days. The regular activity is most likely the product of a slight puddle below the condensing device.

How to Keep Your Unit from Filling up with Water

A/C maintenance will help you keep your unit from filling up with water. Depending on the type of filter your unit has, monthly cleaning may be best.

You will need to monitor it closely if your air conditioner has a reusable filter. Doing so will ensure that your air conditioner operates at optimum quality.

  1. Before placing it back in, detach it from the unit.
  2. Rinse it off with water and dry entirely.

Slipping a wet filter back into your air conditioner will only cause problems worse than water leaking or filling up fast. Also, attempting to scrub the filter dry is likely to ruin the fragile surface.

It’s important to have replacements specially built for your system if your unit uses removable filters.

That means you’ll need to go straight from the manufacturer of your AC or to a factory-licensed supplier for models.

Do not buy one-size-fits-all air filters from a hardware store. It might be costlier, but the machine’s reliability and success are worth it.

I recommend monthly replacement of air filters, although the frequency depends greatly on the type of filter you are using.

Advanced filters will last a little longer between cleanings and replacements, so contact the producer for a suggested timetable.

However, when in question, fall on the side of more regular substitution, not less.


A leak in a portable air conditioner is never a good thing. It means that you are not getting the best out of your unit, and you might be paying extra in electricity bills. Contact a licensed air conditioning installer if your water leak lasts for longer than 24 hours.

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