How To Vent A Portable Air Conditioner Without A Window

How To Vent A Portable Air Conditioner Without A Window

Venting a portable air conditioner is important so that your unit functions efficiently and cools the room. A portable conditioner has to expel the hot air which is generated during the cooling process. But, how can you vent a portable air conditioner without a window?

If you don’t have traditional windows for venting, there are different methods you can use that can be just as effective. 

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Once you understand how to vent your portable AC unit effectively, you won’t have the problem of warm, moist air being blown back into your interior space or the room you’re trying to fill with cool air.

A portable air conditioner sits next to a sliding glass door

Many homes and apartments come with areas other than windows that can serve as suitable exhaust points for a portable air conditioner. These include sliding glass doors, ceiling vents, or even through an exterior wall. 

You’ll find that each option needs a different approach and you might have to purchase additional accessories like venting kits or hoses specifically designed for these types of installations.

Safety is paramount when setting up your portable unit’s venting system, so it’s important to follow the specific guidelines for your unit. This will ensure proper airflow and will maintain indoor air quality. 

Before you even start to consider the possible options that you have, make sure that you understand the venting process and how it works. This will mean that you don’t accidentally damage your new portable AC unit.

Understanding the Venting Process

A portable air conditioner sits in a room

Before diving into venting specifics, it’s important to know that proper venting is a key component in ensuring your portable air conditioner operates efficiently and safely.

Importance of Venting Your Portable AC

Venting your portable air conditioner is necessary because it allows the hot air collected during the cooling process to escape outside. If you don’t vent the exhaust hose outside, the hot air will be released into your room and you won’t experience the cooling effect that you want.

For a portable air conditioner to produce cold air, it pushes refrigerant vapor into condenser coils under pressure. This forces the hot air out of the vent hose and pushes cold air into the room with the use of an internal fan. Here’s a simplified diagram to explain this.

diagram of how the air flow works through a portable air conditioner

Differences Between Venting and Ventless Units

Units requiring venting have an exhaust hose that transfers hot air to an exhaust vent. These hoses are typically designed to release hot air through a window, but other methods can be used when a window isn’t an option. 

On the other hand, you could consider a ventless portable air conditioner but this is more commonly known as an evaporative cooler. While these don’t need an exhaust hose, they’re not very effective in humid environments as they’ll add more moisture to the air. 

How To Vent A Portable Air Conditioner Without A Window: Some Options

A portable air conditioner sits in a room

If you don’t have a suitable window that you can use to vent your portable air conditioner, here are some viable options that you might want to consider.

Using Sliding Door Kits

If you have a sliding glass door or patio door instead of a window, you’re in luck. You should be able to purchase a sliding door vent kit. This works the same as window venting kits but is designed to fit the vertical space of a door. This is the best option for venting a portable air conditioner without a window.

For the best way to install these, you should:

  • Measure the length of your sliding door to ensure the kit fits.
  • Slide the door adaptor into the open space and secure it in place.
  • Connect the portable AC vent hose to the adaptor.

Advantages: This is a practical temporary solution that doesn’t require permanent modifications. It’s perfect if you’re just renting your home or don’t want to make any major improvements.

Ceiling Vent Kits as a Permanent Installation

For a more permanent solution, a ceiling vent kit can be installed in your home. This option is more discreet and can be left in place year-round. 

But, this might not be possible if you’re renting your home unless you get permission from the owner. 

When seeking permission, make sure you detail what you plan to do when you move out. Ideally, leaving the vent in place would be the best solution.

Installation often involves the following steps:

  • Locate a spot in the ceiling close to the air conditioner.
  • Cut an opening to fit the ceiling vent kit following the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Secure the vent kit and connect the exhaust hose.

Advantages: It offers a more aesthetically pleasing look and avoids the need to vent through doors or windows entirely.

Creating a Custom Vent Cover

When pre-made solutions do not fit your needs, creating a custom vent cover may be the best choice. These can be useful if you have casement windows or want to vent through an exterior wall. 

This requires:

  • Measuring the area where you want the vent to go.
  • Cutting a piece of material, like plexiglass or wood, to fit the opening.
  • Attaching the material securely with an opening for the exhaust hose.

Advantages: Allows for flexibility and customization to match your home’s decor while effectively venting the air conditioner.

Once again, if you intend to create a customized vent cover and it will involve any structural changes, like cutting a hole through the external wall, you’ll need to get permission from the owner if you’re renting your premises.

Installation Procedures

A portable air conditioner sits in a room next to a sliding glass door

Proper installation is vital for your portable air conditioner to function efficiently. Here are some easy instructions on how to set up door and ceiling vent systems and how to make sure that they’re sealed and insulated correctly.

Setting Up a Door Vent Kit

  • Start by reading the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • Measure the door to ascertain the size of the vent kit needed.
  • Insert the door vent kit in the bottom section of the door.
  • Extend the portable AC hose from the unit to the door kit.
  • Secure the hose to the kit to minimize air leakage.

Installing a Ceiling Vent System

  • Locate a ceiling spot away from electrical wiring and plumbing. This can work well in most ceilings including a drop ceiling. You might need to get a professional in to help you with this.
  • Cut an opening or vent hole following the dimensions specified in the ceiling vent kit.
  • Attach the exhaust hose to the portable air conditioner’s discharge port.
  • Run the hose to the ceiling and connect it securely to the ceiling vent.
  • Ensure the system is stable and securely fastened to avoid displacement during operation.

Ensuring Proper Sealing and Insulation

  • Check for any gaps or holes around the vent hose insertion points.
  • Use weather stripping or insulation foam around door vents to seal off external air.
  • For ceiling vents, make use of expanding foam or caulking to seal the area around the hose.
  • Regularly inspect the seals and maintain them to ensure continued effectiveness and energy efficiency.

Maintenance and Safety Tips

A portable air conditioner placed near an open door

Proper maintenance ensures your portable air conditioner does the job it’s intended for. The following tips will help you keep your unit in top condition.

Regular Cleaning and Hose Inspection

  • Clean the air filter monthly to remove dust buildup, which can restrict airflow and reduce efficiency. Most portable AC units feature washable filters. Make sure they’re completely dry before re-inserting.
  • Inspect the exhaust hose for any signs of wear or damage routinely. Leaks or kinks in the hose can hinder performance and should be addressed promptly.

Addressing Condensation and Drainage

  • Drainage is important, as portable air conditioners dehumidify air and collect water. Regularly check and empty the condensation tray or drain hose to prevent overflow.
  • Consider a continuous drainage system, especially if you live in a high-humidity area, to eliminate the need for frequent manual emptying. One way to do this is to run the drain hose outside and onto a garden bed.

Preventing Overheating and Ensuring Vent Efficiency

  • Ensure adequate clearance around your portable AC unit to prevent overheating. The manufacturer’s guide typically suggests the minimum space required.
  • Keep the venting system efficient by securing the seal around the venting kit and making sure the path of the venting hose is as straight and short as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you don’t vent a portable air conditioner?

If you don’t vent your portable air conditioner, the warm air expelled by the AC unit will just blow into room that you’re trying to cool. This defeats the purpose of having a portable air conditioner to fill the room with cold air in the first place.

How long is a standard exhaust hose on a portable air conditioner?

Most portable air conditioners come with a standard-length exhaust hose that is 5 to 7 feet long. But, you can purchase a longer hose from local hardware stores if you need it.

Should you use a ceiling fan with a portable air conditioner?

If you have a ceiling fan, it’s a good idea to run this in conjunction with your portable air conditioner as it should help to reduce your energy costs by regulating the temperature in the room better. Just make sure you have the ceiling fan on the “summer” setting.

Can you drain a portable air conditioner into a bucket?

If your portable air conditioner has a water drain hose and not a self-evaporating system, you can run the hose into a bucket. But, you have to keep an eye on the level of water in the bucket and make sure you empty it every time it gets full.

For our top selection of portable air conditioners, you might want to check out this article:

Best Budget Portable Air Conditioner To Keep You Cool

Final Thoughts

All portable air conditioners need to be vented in order to let the hot air out instead of allowing it to flow back into the room. But, if you’re trying to cool a windowless room, there are some other options that you could consider.

These include venting through a sliding door or installing a ceiling vent. If none of these options are suitable, you might have to opt for a ventless air conditioner or a swamp cooler instead. But, bear in mind, that these are not very effective in areas that experience high humidity levels.