Portable air conditioning isn’t new, and there are plenty of gadgets and devices that fall under that broad category. When you are looking for something a little more powerful than a desktop unit, a portable air conditioner is an excellent choice.
These systems can cool any room in your home or business, although ventilation can be an issue that rules these cooling machines out for some. In this guide, we are going to show you how to vent a portable air conditioner without a window.
Portable Air Conditioners
A portable air conditioner is similar to a window air conditioning system in more ways than one. Both are self-contained systems that are built to cool a room. They are also cheaper whole house HVAC systems although a portable air conditioner is designed to sit inside of a room, not hang from a window. They also both require ventilation in order to work properly.
The big advantage with a portable air conditioner over a window AC unit is the fact you can use it in rooms with or without windows. It is also easier to move from room to room if you have a window and a vent kit. Depending on the layout of the room, there are a number of ways you can deal with the hot exhaust air released from your system.
Ways to Ventilate a Portable Air Conditioner
Ventilating a portable air conditioner comes down to placement. You generally don't want to use an extension cord, and you need to keep the exhaust hose straight as well. While the machine itself can be attractive, the hoses aren’t. They can also be noisier than a window-based unit, so consider the distance to the venting location as well.
Venting through a door
Due to the way a portable air conditioner is designed, warm air has to go somewhere. Ideally, that will be outdoors, although that depends on where the unit is placed. If it’s in the living room in the middle of your home or a server room at the back of a building, door ventilation isn’t an option. If the system sits near an entrance or exit door, you could be in luck.
The easiest way to vent a portable air conditioner through a door is to use a sliding door. There are kits built specifically for sliding doors, which allows you to vent the exhaust outdoors. They are incredibly easy to use and will accommodate any machine as well.
Another alternative comes into play with pet owners. Do you have a small pet door located in your home which allows your furry friends to come and go as they please? While they won’t be thrilled with the situation, it can provide temporary ventilation when you need to run the system. Just make sure you can get a tight seal around the entrance for the exhaust hose.
Venting through the ceiling
Another option comes into play if you have drop ceilings in the room where the portable AC unit will be used. It's not something you'll find in too many modem residential homes, but common in older homes with high ceilings asking with offices and commercial property.
You can usually rig an exhaust vent to work with a drop ceiling tile in your home, but it may be far more trouble than it’s worth. Hoses aren’t exactly light, so consider a ceiling vent kit. It’s the best option for running a portable air conditioner vent through a drop ceiling, and almost as easy to install as a door ventilation system.
Venting through a Wall
When all else fails, and you need to send the exhaust from your portable AC unit outdoors, the last option is the most drastic. You can install a vent in the wall of your business or home, but it’s a permanent solution for a portable cooling system.
Before you start gathering tools or consider hiring a professional, take a minute and think about how often you will actually use the portable air conditioner. If you’re okay putting a relatively large hole in your wall, consider placement, and then pick up some tools or the telephone. Here’s a good idea of what to expect for a “simple” installation.
Cutting a hole for a vent is relatively simple on a residential home, although you still have to be wary of wiring, plumbing, and studs. While it may seem obvious, it’s a good idea to consider what’s outside of the wall as well; not just the inside.
Drywall and wood are easy to cut through, whereas brick or stone will be far more difficult. While this shows a dryer vent installation through brick, the same general process is used for venting a portable air conditioner through a wall.
A portable air conditioner is a perfect solution for millions of homeowners in need of efficient spot cooling, temporary or not. As you can see, if you don’t have a window, you don’t have to rule out these portable systems as there is more than one way to vent these machines. If you do have a window and feel a traditional system may be better suited to your needs, check out our list of the top window air conditioning systems.
Q: Can I vent a portable air conditioner through a dryer vent?
A: There are plenty of people that do it, but it’s not recommended by companies that make portable air conditioners, and we don’t recommend it either.
Q: If I vent a portable AC unit through a wall, how do I cover the hold in the winter or when my system is stored?
A: They sell caps that fit onto the end of vents for this purpsose. They can block both the inside and outside from the elements. Some kits may come with them; otherwise, you’ll need to check on sizes beforehand.
Q: Should I extend my vent hose if it’s a little short?
A: That will decrease the efficiency of your unit, and is typically not recommended.
Q: Can I use my attic to vent my portable air conditioning system?
A: This is another thing that some homeowners do, but something we do not recommend. There are too many variables that can lead to issues in your attic, and safer alternatives are usually available.
You may also like: Top 7 Ventless Portable Air Conditioners that Don’t Need a Window