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Knowledge Center
How to Vent a Portable Air Conditioner

How To Vent Your Portable AC

In order to cool your space properly, all portable air conditioners must exhaust hot air during the cooling process. Most portable ACs come with a window kit used to vent the hot air outside. However, not all rooms have windows. Computer server rooms, for instance, are often located in the interior of a building away from windows. In this application, a portable AC is typically set up to vent into a drop ceiling space. Portable air conditioner vent hoses can also be configured to exhaust hot air through a sliding door or through a wall and into another room. Read on to learn more on how to vent a portable air conditioner.

Portable AC Window Kits

A standard portable air conditioner window kit used for portable AC venting includes a window bracket, which is a piece of foam or durable plastic that fits into an open window, a vent hose adapter for the bracket, and one or two vent hoses. The average vent hose is around 4 or 5 feet long, so you need to place your portable AC fairly close to a window.

When venting a portable air conditioner, first, attach the vent hose to the portable AC. If necessary, trim the window bracket to fit your window snugly. You may also need to cut a hole in the bracket for the hose, but most brackets will come with pre-cut holes. Next, connect the vent hose to the adapter, and close the window tightly. It's that easy! Customers often want to know if they will have to remove their window screen in order to install a portable air conditioner. While it depends on the type of window and screen, most of our customers find that they do not have to remove the screen because the exhaust hoses do not extend beyond the window.

Sliding Window and Sliding Door Ventilation

Danby DPAC12010H

Standard window brackets are designed to be installed horizontally at the bottom of windows, but they can be installed vertically to fit sliding windows and sliding doors. Some modifications of the window bracket may be required.

For sliding windows, you need to make sure that the bracket will be long enough to fit the opening. Units that feature double window brackets, such as DeLonghi portable air conditioners, generally work well for sliding windows. A double bracket includes the standard window bracket plus an additional filler bracket. After setting up the bracket, if there's still an opening, you can fill it with wood, Plexiglas, insulation, or some other type of filler material.

When working with sliding doors, the window brackets will not be long enough to fill the vertical opening, so you'll need to fill the extra space with some other material like plywood or Plexiglas.

 

Casement Windows and Crank Windows

Since casement windows and crank windows open like doors, standard window kits will not fit them. But that hasn't stopped our resourceful customers. Many customers who have casement windows simply cover the entire window opening with Plexiglas and cut out a hole for the exhaust hose.

Drop Ceiling Ventilation

Electronic equipment can produce a great deal of heat, but sensitive equipment must be kept cool at all times. Portable ACs are extremely popular for computer server rooms, often used for spot cooling or as an emergency cooling system to support the building’s central cooling system. The only problem is that server rooms often don't have windows, and most of them are located toward the center of buildings, away from exterior walls.

Fortunately, most server rooms are located in office buildings with drop ceilings or panel ceilings. Many portable air conditioners, like those from Movincool, can be configured to vent into drop ceiling spaces. The Movincool CM12 Ceiling-Mounted Air Conditioner is specifically designed to keep critical spots cool while saving valuable floor space in crowded telecom closets and server rooms. The CM12 easily mounts above standard drop ceilings using built-in flanges and included mounting brackets and has the capability to integrate with an existing building control system, as illustrated in the diagram below.

diagram illustration Movincool CM12 Ceiling-Mounted Air Conditioner installation

Movincool portable ACs, like the Movincool Office Pro 63 Air Conditioner, can be vented through drop-ceiling spaces as well by using the optional Warm Air Kit.

Wall Ventilation

Some people prefer to exhaust hot air through a wall vent, directly outside or to another room, such as a garage or storage room. You can use a jigsaw to cut the correct size hole in the wall—but make sure there isn't any wiring or plumbing where you want to cut the hole. You can seal the edges of the hole with silicone caulk.

Connecting to Dryer Vents

In most cases, it is not recommended that you use a dryer vent to exhaust a portable air conditioner. Dryer vents have a 4-inch diameter, and most exhaust hoses are larger in diameter. DeLonghi portable ACs, on the other hand, feature 4-inch exhaust hoses, so they would fit most old dryer vents. However, if the external opening of the dryer vent contains a flap, then the unit's hot air exhaust will not be strong enough to push it open. In this case, you would need to remove the flap and replace it with a screen.

Single-Hose Portable ACs vs. Double-Hose Portable ACs

Portable air conditioners require air to cool off their compressors. With single-hose portable air conditioners—such as the American Comfort ACW200CH—warm air is taken out of the room in order to be cooled and returned to your space. During this process, hot air is exhausted outside. This creates slightly negative air pressure, which means that warmer air from surrounding rooms will enter the room that's being cooled. While a single-hose portable AC is somewhat inefficient, many people enjoy having slightly negative air pressure in a particular room because it helps to remove odors.

 

Dual-hose portable air conditioners, such as the Soleus Air LX-140, feature one hose to draw air in from the outside and another hose to exhaust the air. With dual-hose portable air conditioners, no negative air pressure is created in the room. However, in environments where outdoor temperatures are extremely high (near 100 degrees Fahrenheit), dual-hose units may operate less efficiently than single-hose portable ACs. In general, dual-hose portable ACs can cool off a room a slightly faster, but they also use a bit more energy. Considering all factors, it's impossible to say that one type of portable air conditioner is inherently better than the other.

 

 

Do Not Extend Vent Hoses

You should not try to extend the vent hose during portable air conditioner venting because it will result in decreased efficiency, and it could also void the warranty. Some portable air conditioning units, such as the Movincool portable air conditioner series, feature exhaust hoses that are longer than the standard 5 feet.

Still Have Questions?

With a little creativity and ingenuity, you can make a portable air conditioner work almost anywhere in your home or office. For more information on installing and operating a portable air conditioner, visit our Knowledge Center. Or call our product experts at 1 (800) 934-9194 for a free consultation and product recommendation. Be sure to carefully read the instruction manual before installing your new portable air conditioner.

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