If your home lacks windows, it might not seem so bad until you try to install a portable AC. These units make air conditioning portable, as you can transport them from room to room in order to fulfil your cooling needs. Portable ACs lower air temperature by sucking up the heat from a room and expelling it outside. However, where does the hot air go? Consider this question, and you will quickly realize that one of the few ways for portable ACs to vent hot air outside is through a window. If you are trying to set up a portable AC in a room without windows, you may be wondering what to do with your portable air conditioner venting. A portable-AC hose is made for connecting your portable AC to your room’s windows. As you can see, windows are an important component to the proper functioning of your portable AC. In this article, we will answer questions such as:
• Can I use a portable air conditioner in a room with no windows?
• Do portable AC units need to be vented?
• Can you run a portable air conditioner without an exhaust hose?
• Can you vent a portable air conditioner into a bucket?
Hopefully, after reading, you will be able to carefully consider all your venting options.
Can I Use a Portable Air Conditioner in a Room with No Windows?
Yes, it is possible to use a portable AC unit in a room without windows. There are actually two major ways in which this is possible. The first option in using a portable unit without windows is to vent the unit into another room of your home. Using a portable AC window hose is not just the only way to vent your unit. You can use a hose to connect the unit to another opening through which the unit’s exhaust can exit your room. These other choices include ventilating through doors, walls, or drop ceilings. The perfect scenario for ducting through doors would be through a sliding door. Sliding door vent kits can be installed on any sliding door up to 150 inches tall and can be used with virtually any unit. These are special portable air conditioner venting kits made especially for sliding doors that allow them to be opened and closed without disturbing the air seal. This is not the case for normal doors, which swing open on a hinge and are therefore trickier to lead a portable air conditioner hose through. Another option for ventilating your portable AC hose: through wall barriers. This is not recommended for beginners, as this requires manual labor and the use of power tools. In order to vent through a wall, you need to drill a hole around 5 inches in diameter in order to fit the portable AC exhaust hose, give or take some leeway. Choose a thin wall that is easy to drill through; do not choose one that is made of metal or any tough material.
If, like others, you have some reservations against creating holes in your walls, there is always the option of hosing your portable AC through drop ceilings. Drop ceilings are a secondary, false ceiling of panels hung below the actual main ceiling. These are commonly seen in spaces such as offices. They may even be at your workplace! Drop ceiling portable air conditioner venting kits exist to extend the reach of the hose, so that they may be ventilated through the drop ceiling. This option is perfect for cubicles or office spaces that may experience a lot of heat.
Besides ducting your AC out of a door, wall, or ceiling, how else can you use a portable AC without windows? Another way that this is possible is by removing the portable air conditioner venting situation altogether from your portable air conditioner. Without an AC vent hose, you do not need to resort to creative and unconventional thinking in order to properly duct your unit. Because of the ventless portable air conditioner, you can easily use AC in a room without windows. But how does it work? Simply put, ventless portable air conditioners use a system of evaporation to cool the air in a room. The ventless AC is also known as the evaporative cooler, the swamp cooler, and the portable air cooler, all due to this specific cooling function. Because it uses evaporation, water vapor floods the air instead of out the exhaust hose. This process of using water to cool a room instead of air conditioning refrigerant is similar to how chiller piping works. This unique process is one of the reasons why they do not need to be ventilated. The other reason is because it does not vent hot air out of the AC hose vent. Using a hose to conduct hot air and water vapor outside the room is unnecessary if there is no exhaust in the first place. This makes the ventless air conditioner a popular choice for rooms without windows. Because of the method it employs to combat heat, it is also technically not an air conditioner. By definition, an air conditioner works by bringing in hot air from the room and passing it over condenser coils filled with refrigerant.
The hot air becomes cool and is blown back into the room. Exhausted heat and water vapor is led out the back of the unit through the AC vent hose. The way a portable AC utilizes condenser coils and refrigerant labels it as “air conditioner.” This is the process behind central air conditioners as well, albeit with some minor differences contributing on a larger scale. Basically, all air conditioners have essentially the same mechanics, which set it apart the portable ventless air conditioner. Portable ventless ACs work a little differently.
Do Portable AC Units Need to Be Vented?
Not all portable AC units need to be vented. As explained prior, there are two types of portable ACs, those being the typical portable units and the other being ventless ACs. Ventless air conditioners do not need a portable AC vent pipe, while it is necessary for ventless, or evaporative, air conditioners. Vented portable air conditioning units facilitate chemical reactions that turn liquid into gas and back again, causing water and heat to form. These are then ushered out of portable air conditioner hoses, which are ducted outside of your house to prevent the heat from coming back in. You can, technically, use a portable AC without a hose or ventilation, but this would only allow the hot air to circulate back into the room, therefore rendering the whole process useless. The main reason why portable air conditioning units need to be ducted is to properly remove the heat from the area. Otherwise, it will just conduct a cycle of hot and cold air running rampant in your room, only serving to rack up an expensive electricity bill and waste your time and money. On the other hand, the evaporative air conditioner uses moisture to cool the air of a room. Evaporative ACs work best with a little bit of heat and outside air, so cracking a window while your AC is at work will benefit the unit. An internal fan inside the AC works to suck hot air from the room. The hot air is pushed across cooling pads which are pumped with cold water. These pads are crucial to the cooling process; as the water evaporates, the heat is absorbed, and water vapor floods the now-cooled air. The air is then swept back out the unit, into your room. The entire operation rests upon the saturation of the cooling pads.
If the pads are not completely soaked with water, the air will only be partially cooled, as only some of the heat will be absorbed. Due to this complex and interesting way of cooling, the evaporative cooler does not require portable air conditioner tubing. However, this does not mean that evaporative coolers should not have hoses. In many cases, an evaporative cooler still needs a hose to direct the cooled air that it releases. Many users connect their evaporative coolers to the pre-existing system of ductwork in their homes, facilitating the spread of cool air throughout their entire homes—rather than keeping this air confined to a single room!
Can You Run a Portable Air Conditioner Without an Exhaust Hose?
Technically, yes, you can run a portable AC without an air conditioner hose. As mentioned before, it is possible to use an air conditioner without a portable hose, but it is not recommended. Without portable ducting to vent hot air and moisture outside, the exhaust will just loop through the room. Heated air will continue to flow back into the room, causing a never-ending cycle of hot and cold. An instance where this may not hinder the purpose of your portable air conditioner is if you are merely using it in dehumidifier mode. Portable air conditioner units naturally work as dehumidifiers, as the process of cooling also draws moisture out of the air. When hot air interacts with the refrigerant in the condenser coils, the air is cooled, and the moisture is extracted by the coils. With the water vapor condensed on the coils, the air temperature has been lowered, as well as dehumidified by the air conditioner. If you use the portable AC in dehumidifier mode, the temperature of the air is of no concern to the unit. Therefore, the hot air that is being pumped back into the room does not matter. This is one of the few situations where running a portable air conditioner without an air conditioner duct hose is not counterintuitive.
There are also a few unconventional ways to make your portable AC work without a hose, but none that we can guarantee work with complete efficiency. Exhaust will still escape out of the back vent of your portable AC without the hose, so some users will resort to placing their AC in door gaps in order to usher the hot air outside, or to another room. If your unit is situated in a door gap leading to the outside, you can—theoretically—seal the gap in order to prevent the mingling of hot and cold air, but that will require some ingenuity and outside-the-box thinking. Therefore, we suggest that you stick to the tried-and-true method of ducting: the portable AC duct hose.
Can You Vent a Portable Air Conditioner into a Bucket?
You can vent a portable air conditioner into a bucket! However, the word “vent” is not the correct term, as we are referring to the drainage of portable AC water instead of the ducting of air. In other words, we will be referencing the siphoning of water rather than the exhausting of air. A bucket is an acceptable way to drain your portable AC if you do not have the option of venting out a window. There are a couple of main considerations you must keep in mind, however, before you commit to draining your unit. You must first figure out what kind of portable air conditioner you have, and whether it drains via exhaust hose or via drain hose. The drain hose is a separate duct from the exhaust hose that only moves water. The second thing you must consider is the humidity level of your area. If your environment experiences high levels of moisture, the amount of water your unit might be producing will be higher than places with low levels of humidity. First, you should determine whether or not your portable AC has a drain hose or not. The portable AC hose pipe is a duct attached to the condensation tank of your unit, allowing for the continuous drainage of water. These are useful, as you do not have to manually detach the tank in order to dispose of the liquid. Drain hoses can be led out windows, into sinks, or into buckets or containers to be dumped out later on. Exhaust hoses do not have to be vented into any sort of receptacle. Units without drain hoses, known as no-drain ACs, technically do necessitate drainage, but none you have to do yourself. Portable ACs with exhaust hoses employ the use of automatic evaporation, which means that the moisture collected from the cooling process evaporates and is expelled along with hot air. The water vapor and hot air is then vented out of the back of the unit by the exhaust hose. Now that you have determined whether or not you need to drain into a bucket, now you must determine how much humidity is in your area. In densely humid climates, you may have to drain your unit as often as every 8 hours.
If your AC is producing massive amounts of moisture due to the climate, it may be beneficial to opt for larger receptacles like bins or small trash cans or draining into sinks. In moderate areas, where draining may be needed once every two to four weeks, a bucket should suffice. If you live in a dry area, having a drain hose might not even be necessary. You should, however, check your condensation tank at least once a month, in order to see how much moisture is accumulating. This is also a good habit to practice, as it will help with the general maintenance of your unit.
So far, we have learned that windows are highly important for portable air conditioner venting. Portable air conditioners can also be ducted through walls, doors, and even ceilings! The demands for the portable AC vent may require some innovative and creative thinking, so if you desire a more convenient unit that makes AC portable, the ventless portable air conditioner may be a better option for you. Whether it is vented, or ventless, whichever unit suits your needs will be the best portable air conditioner for you. Just remember to properly ventilate your AC using the correct hosing, as well as stay up to date with maintenance such as draining. If you live in a moderately humid environment, you may decide to drain your condensation tank into a bucket in order to avoid leaks and the buildup of water. Surely now you have learned a little bit more about the requirements and upkeep necessary for the portable air conditioning unit!