This Is What Happens If You Don’t Drain Your Portable Air Conditioner

Draining Your Portable Air Conditioner

Among the most common mistakes that homeowners commit is that they fail to drain their portable air conditioner.

Since many, including me, are curious about its effect on the unit, I got into in-depth research about this matter to provide a time-worthy answer.

What happens if you don’t drain your portable air conditioner? It will create condensate from the cooling process. It can lead to water spilling all over the place as the portable A/C unit is continuously removing moisture from your air and when you are using it.

As promised, this article will discuss the process of how portable air conditioning units work and why some units need water draining.

If you want to avoid having some issues with your portable air conditioner, make sure not to miss anything from this post.

Do Portable Air Conditioners Require Draining Of Water

The cooling process of air conditioning units goes like this. The water is taken out of the air, making the portable A/C yield some condensation effect.

As a result, all portable A/Cs remove water from the air as they work.

Using a simple unit would make use of its built-in water reservoir. You need to empty or drain this reservoir daily utilizing a hose.

You can also do this routine as frequently as every 12 hours or just once a week as it can depend on the amount of moisture accumulated.

This water reservoir comes with a built-in auto-off system that makes sure no matter is intentionally leaked into your ground.

If you have an advanced portable air conditioner, you can see that it has an evaporative technology that can vaporize a large amount of accumulated moisture.

This capability is done using a hot-air discharge. For this reason, you only have a small amount of water or even none at all that needs draining.

Most PAC units have some kind of evaporative process that releases moisture using an exhaust vent.

But you can only expect this kind of feature in newer portable air conditioner models.

Meanwhile, other portable A/Cs have a water draining system inside that can enable continuous draining of accumulated water using a drip pan.

Common Portable Air Conditioning Mistakes To Avoid

If you are still hesitant about using portable air conditioners, it is totally valid.

But, these home technologies can provide a wide range of benefits for you and your family if you know how to use them properly.

Many people find it hard to use portable air conditioners. For this reason, they commit mistakes that lead them to get higher utility bills.

Some even reported having an equipment failure and an uncomfortable cooling experience—another reason to spend, specifically on unnecessary repair costs.

Here are some common mistakes that are important to avoid when using portable air conditioning units.

Spoiler alert! Failing to drain the unit is one of these mistakes. Don’t worry. The list also includes the best way to avoid making such mistakes, so make sure to continue reading.

Failing To Drain The Unit

Portable air conditioners are known to create condensate from the cooling process, and this is because they are continually removing moisture from the air.

Some units are designed to evaporate the moisture independently, but not all of them have this capability.

Others use some drain hose to extend towards a drain or up and out the window if you have a condensate pump.

Many portable air conditioners are known to use a bucket system or a shallow pan underneath the unit.

It will collect all of the condensates as it accumulates, which then prevents it from spilling out all over your floor.

While this system will alleviate all the spills, many people tend to forget the condensate being accumulated.

It is especially true if you don’t use the unit daily. If this is the case, you only leave the water to sit in the bucket or pan for long periods, leading to one of two things.

Firstly, you can leave the water inside the bucker for it actually to overflow.

It can be a problem if you don’t want to happen to be in a room when this happens.

The other outcome is that the water can eventually create molds, and this mold will then be present in the air.

It can get inside your unit, which leads to many more problems, especially for someone who has allergies.

If you have a hose system, use your hose and drain it properly regularly.

You should always check it frequently and dump the water in your pan or bucket if you see any water in there.

Wrong Size

To get the best out of your portable air conditioning unit, you need to have the correct size when it comes to cooling your indoor spaces.

Many people believe that buying the biggest air conditioner means a better and faster way to cool their room.

It is always not the case and, quite frankly, entirely wrong.

Portable air conditioning units are known to be classified by BTU. It will make it easier to determine the correct size for your indoor space.

BTU is the way to measure how big of a space a unit can cool. Determining the correct size of your room or space is not difficult.

You need to measure first the square footage of the area you will be using. To get the exact measurement, multiply the length of the room by the width.

You can easily follow this general estimate for three different basic room sizes and the size of the units you should use.

The first one is that for 300 square feet or less, get 10,000 BTU, and for 500 square feet, go in between 10,000 – 14,000 BTU.

Last but not least, for places over 500 square feet, you should get at least 14,000+ BTU.

Not Venting Properly

The first thing that you should know about portable air conditioning units is that all of these units need to be vented.

When at use, the air that does not get blown back as cold air needs to be blown to the indoor space.

This means that proper ventilation is needed, and without it, you will have a failing unit that is blowing out both hot and cool air.

For whatever reason, many people decided that they won’t go with the proper ventilation outside of the room.

They choose to vent it away from the unit or to a more open area, resulting in a diminished cooling experience.

Most PACs come with a window venting, and they are pretty easy to execute and follow. It involves cracking open a window enough to fit it into.

It will help keep the window area sealed, and the vent hose will then be connected to the bracket.

As a result, the hot air will be entirely directed outdoors. Also, make sure that the air conditioner is fully vented, regardless of where you use it.

Suppose you are using the unit in a larger area and have a sliding door. You can extend your bracket to fit in the doorway.

Ignoring Energy Efficiency Rating

Portable air conditioners are known to be less energy-efficient compared to the ones with central air systems.

The good news is that it will still save you on cooling costs if you know how to use them strategically.

Many people are mindful about their appliance energy use, but a large number of them are apathetic.

Energy efficiency when it comes to portable air conditioners is a valuable trait, and this comes in handy if you plan on using them frequently.

Make sure to get a more energy-efficient model as it can save you money on your energy bills, which will undoubtedly add up during the hot season.

It would help if you always looked for EER, which stands for energy-efficient rating, as it makes it easier to compare models from one another.

The air conditioner unit’s rating is achieved by dividing the unit’s BTU amount using the wattage it usually consumes.

For instance, a 14,000 BTU unit that consumes at least 1,500 watts would receive an EER value of 9.3, and this can be read as energy efficient.

If you purchase a unit without asking the EER, you may be in for a bit of a surprise when you get your utility bills.

Draining Water From A Portable A/C Unit

A portable air conditioner can be a smart choice as it does not need any installation. It can dehumidify the air and cost-effectiveness.

If you purchase one, you need to understand how it works, as many people tend to forget that draining the water is a must.

Drainage frequency will always depend on how you often use your unit and what type of drainage option you pursue.

Why Do You Need Draining?

As your portable air conditioning unit cools and dehumidifies the air, it collects a lot of moisture.

Although most of the time water evaporates, some remain in the unit, and if an environment is too humid, the PACS will not be able to exhaust the water as quickly as it collects the water.

In this kind of situation, water will collect in an internal water reservoir, and you need to drain the water for the unit to work efficiently.

Once the reservoir gets its full status, it will automatically shut off to prevent it from overflowing.

This way, your unit will indicate when you have to drain the water, and often, it is associated with an alarm or error message.

You need to drain the water to work correctly for the unit, and there are several ways to do it.

Drain Into A Pan

Before doing this, you need to unplug your unit and disconnect it from all the power sources.

Then place a pan directly under the drain port. Usually, this can be found in the back of your unit.

Remove all the plug and allow for the unit to drain. Just be prepared once you have removed the plug, as water will flow freely.

Once the unit has completed its draining, you can replace the drain plug and plug it back in.

Drain Into A Sink, Bathtub, Or Outside

Once you can unplug the unit, you can carefully carry it to a sink or a bathtub.

To avoid any leakage, you can move slowly and keep it on the right levels at all times.

Just be mindful that your unit surface must sit on a flat surface, and once situated, you can remove the drain plug.

Allow the unit to drain for some time, and when the unit has completed draining, you can replace the drain plug and return the unit to its original position.

Drain With A Hose

Not all units have some hose that can be used, so you need to check the manual before using this method.

Drain hoses can remain attached to your PACs and rely on gravity to drain your water, let your hose go downhill.

You can also use a hose when A/C is in a location with a floor drain. Before doing anything.

You need to confirm that the hose fits securely using a watertight fit then over the drain port.

It is possible to use a standard garden hose, but you need to buy one if it does not fit properly.


To summarize, most portable air conditioning units do not need to be drained all the time.

Many brands of portable air conditioners like Edgestar, Avallon, and Koldfront use a condensation exhaust system.

This type of system will expel all water vapor collected during the dehumidifying and cooling process.

However, it is still best to drain your portable air conditioner regularly. It is especially if you don’t know if it belongs to the brands that do not require draining.

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