When summer temperatures rise, air conditioning becomes less of a luxury and more of a necessity. When this happens, you have three options for cooling your home: central AC, window air conditioners, and portable AC units.
If you happen to have a portable air conditioner, you may be wondering just how to install it. In this article, we teach you how to properly install your portable AC and how to maximize its performance.
How a Portable Air Conditioner Works
A portable air conditioner works by pulling in the hot, humid air from the room into the unit through a fan. The coils present inside the portable AC unit cool down the sucked air while extracting the excess humidity through condensation. The cooled air is then circulated back into the room.
Why Do You Need a Portable AC Window Kit?
The process of cooling air by portable AC generates warm exhaust and excess water. These need to be vented outside.
A portable AC window kit does this, by using an exhaust tube connected to a window to expel the hot air outdoors. Window kits are designed to work with most kinds of residential windows, including those that slide to the side, and those that slide up and down.
How to Install a Portable AC Window Kit
- Choose a proper location
- In order to function properly, your portable AC requires several feet of unobstructed floor space for sufficient airflow.
- You should also make sure it allows for convenient access to the water reservoir.
- If the portable AC uses a drain hose, it may need to be placed near a sink, drain hole, or dedicated bucket.
2. Window placement
- For portable ACs, the closer it is to the window, the better. This reduces the length of tube needed, while allowing the hot air to be vented more efficiently outside.
- Fit the adapter kit. If the window is too small, then you simply need to trim the window adapter. This can be done with a utility knife, but window adapters made of a tougher material may need to be trimmed with a circular saw.
- If the window is too large for the kit, you either need to fill the gap with plywood, cardboard, or plexiglass, or you’ll have to choose a different window.
3. Window installation
- If you have a traditional window that slides up and down, place the kit at the bottom. Then extend it, until it covers the width of the window opening.
- If you have windows that slide to the side, place the kit on one side. Then extend it vertically until it covers the height of the opening.
- To fix the width or height in place, tighten the self-tapping screws. Some window kits also use a press-in bolt to secure the panels together.
- If the kit comes with a security bracket, make sure they are securely fastened to the window frame. The security bracket prevents the window sash from being opened when properly installed.
4. Hose installation
Different AC models and brands use various types of adapters and connections. However, they all follow these general steps:
- Attach the vent hose to the back of the portable air conditioner.
- At the other end of the hose, connect the window adaptor that came with the kit.
- Plug the hose into the slider kit and make sure it locks securely in place.
For efficient operation, the hose should be no more than 9 feet. It’s also recommended to keep the hose as straight as possible, to avoid restricting airflow and causing backdrafts, which can damage the portable AC over time.
5. Test the placement
- Plug in the portable AC. If this is a new AC unit or new location, use the “Test” button to test the power flow first.
- Crank the cooling or heating to the maximum.
- With the portable AC blasting away, run your fingers or a piece of paper or string around the window to check for air gaps or drafts.
- On a sunny day, check if any sunlight comes in along the edges. A properly installed and secured window kit should have no light leaks.
- If the portable AC uses a water reservoir, check for leakage.
- If the unit is a self-evaporative model, the water is expelled along the exhaust hose.
- If it comes with a security lock, check to make sure the window cannot be opened from the outside.