Does portable air conditioner need to be vented outside?

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Do portable air conditioners require outside venting? Find out below

We have been discussing a lot about portable ACs in the recent past and we have answered most of your questions.

Today we will look at another question that we keep being asked by readers: “Does portable air conditioner need to be vented outside?”

Does portable air conditioner need to be vented outside?

The short answer is YES! and in truth, it is one of the things that manufacturers strongly emphasize you do.

If you’re confused about why, here is the long answer…

Does portable air conditioner need to be vented outside?

Now, the best way I can explain it is as follows:

Think of your portable air conditioner as a vacuum cleaner.

You see, when running, a vacuum usually sucks in dirt that needs to be emptied somewhere for it to continue operating properly.

But why am I telling you this?

Well, because your portable air conditioner does exactly the same thing but, of course, with heat.

In short, it essentially sucks in the heat which must then be dumped somewhere else (typically outside) for the unit to be able to cool your room efficiently and effectively.

I feel that this point deserves further clarification so let us get into deeper details….

do portable air conditioners require outside venting

Why exhausting the heat is crucial

To make you understand better, I will first explain the entire cooling operation in very few steps..

To begin with, the air in your room will first be sucked in from the space by the portable air conditioner.

Next, the heat in the sucked in air–remember it is contributing to making your space hotter- is extracted/removed from the air.

In the final step- and that is why your room starts to feel cool-the air conditioner puts the now cooler air back into your room.

Now take a minute and imagine what would happen if the removed heat is not dumped out…

Don’t cross your fingers- there are no prizes for guessing correctly here since it is clear that the cool air entering your space would virtually be negated by the lingering heat.

And so the removed heat must be dumped somewhere- and as mentioned before, the best place to exhaust the heat is outside.

In a nutshell, no air conditioning would occur without there being a way of getting rid of the heat.

To put it another way, air conditioning is not simply a question of bringing the ambient air temperatures down-The air only feels cool because the AC drew the heat (from it) and deposited it somewhere else.

I hope this has clarified why ALL air conditioners – including your cherished portable air conditioner- need to be vented outside.

And now that you have understood the logic behind the venting, the next sections will answer a few other related questions- I want you to be fully armed with the right information.


What are the available portable air conditioner venting options?

I’m imagining that your newly acquired portable air conditioner came with a window venting kit- they most always do.

In reality, the vast majority of portable air conditioners are intended to be vented through a window- most come with a hose (or two) that you run to the outside via a window with the help of the manufacturer-provided window kit.

Shop window venting kit for portable air conditioner on Amazon now.

But if you can’t do it through the window (perhaps your room is without a window), there are other practical portable air conditioner venting options you can turn to.

We explore them below..


How to vent a portable air conditioner without a window

In general, PACs can as well be vented through a ceiling, wall, or even a door.

Option 1: Vent portable air conditioner through wall

Certainly not the easiest option because you’ll need to carefully drill holes through your wall but why not; if it is your only option?

You will obviously need a quality portable air conditioner through wall vent kit such as this if you want to take this route.

Word of caution: Be sure to measure your portable air con vent hose (size and diameter) before purchasing the portable air conditioner wall vent kit- you want it to fit perfectly.

Option 2: Vent portable ac through door

how to use a portable air conditioner without a window

If venting through the door is your only option, you will need to buy a quality portable air conditioner sliding door vent kit – keep in mind that the easiest way is through a sliding door.

There are good kits for portable ACs (check out this one here) and the installation is fairly straightforward.

Again measure the size of portable AC’s exhaust duct before clicking the “add to cart” button- you want it to fit snugly on the hole provided in the kit.

Option 3: Venting portable air conditioner through ceiling

can i use the heating on my portable air conditioner without using the exhaust hose

For locations such as server rooms, you may find that the only viable solution is to vent through the ceiling.

For a drop-ceiling, you might need to make a big-enough hole (depending on the size of the hose) in the ceiling panel to run the vent hose into the ceiling.

That said, a bit of invention is required for other types of windows)

Either way, a portable ac ceiling vent may be handy here.


A word on venting portable air conditioner through dryer vent

While it seems an attractive option and it is technically possible, nearly all manufacturers and experts disapprove of the use of dryer vents to exhaust air conditioners.

It’s not only against the code in many places but also extremely dangerous- you could cause lint and (worse still) carbon monoxide to backfeed (for gas dryers) into your home.


Does portable air conditioner need to be vented outside? Related Questions

Can you vent a portable air conditioner into another room?

Yes, it could work somewhat as regards cooling the room but it is not something we encourage…

The reason is: it can never be as efficient as venting outside plus it generally creates a thermal imbalance within the entire house.

How long can the exhaust hose be on a portable air conditioner? / is portable air conditioner exhaust hose extension recommended?

In general, the best length for optimal exhaustion efficiency 5-7 feet.

That being so, extending the exhaust hose to your PAC longer than this may harm its efficiency and even cut the lifespan of the AC.

Is portable air conditioner exhaust harmful?

No! What is coming out of the exhaust is just heated air and moisture(water) and there’s nothing else (so the exhaust pipe is not emitting anything harmful).


Do all air conditioners need to be vented outside? -Final words

As we wind up, remember that it is also possible to vent a portable air conditioner through the floor or even a chimney if you get a little creative.

However, the best method remains via the window unless you’re using it in a window-less location (which is really the only time you need to think about the alternatives).



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