How Long Can You Run A Portable Air Conditioner Continuously?

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Updated May 18, 2023

The best air conditioners are those that meet your needs. Sometimes a small-sized portable air conditioner that can move around from room to room is the best fit. Of course, you don’t want to ruin your air conditioner by misusing it. That said, a portable air conditioner can run for about 8 to 12 hours a day, but it’s important not to use them for too long to keep them working well.


  • You can run a portable AC as long as you like, but there are a few caveats to remember.
  • You’ll need to keep up with regular maintenance more often than if you used your air conditioner more sparingly.
  • Another issue you might run into is the general wear and tear that comes with the consistent use of your air conditioner.

How Long Can Portable Air Conditioners Run?

In short, you can run a portable AC for as long as you’d like. How long it takes to cool a room with a portable AC depends on the unit’s capabilities, so you’ll want to ensure you choose a model capable of cooling your particular space for the best results. If you want to know more about cooling with portable units, it’s worth looking into how a tower AC works. Additionally, you can read about how portable air coolers work, if you are curious.

Insider Tip

Portable air conditioner vents need to be cleaned regularly to avoid debris collection.

Maintenance Tips for Long-Running Units

Although there’s no limit to how long you can run a portable AC, there are a few caveats to keep in mind if you want to get the most out of it.

Emptying the Condensate Tank

Continuously running your AC will mean you must regularly empty the condensate water tank. Failure to do so can result in mold growth, or wondering why is my portable air conditioner leaking water.

Changing the Air Filters

A clean air filter is necessary to maintain high indoor air quality. Every type of AC, whether a window air conditioner or a portable unit, will require a filter change on occasion. The general rule of thumb is to clean or replace your filter once a month.

If you’re running your portable AC all day, every day, you’ll need to clean or replace it far more frequently to avoid clogged filters and reduced efficiency. You may need to do this as often as once a week to ensure the best indoor air quality.


Make sure you empty the condensate tank regularly, or you might end up with mold inside your AC unit.

General Wear and Tear

Whether it’s the condenser fan or exhaust hose, all parts of your AC will experience significant wear and tear with continuous usage. Because of this, you might have to replace your portable air conditioning unit far more quickly than if you used it at regular, short intervals.

When the time comes to purchase a new unit, learning how a dual-hose air conditioner works might be helpful. If you want to understand more about the technical aspects of air conditioning units, check out how to install a slide-out chassis air conditioner.

STAT: It is projected that the revenue of electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply in the United Kingdom will amount to approximately $115.95 billion U.S. by 2025. (source)

How Long Can I Run My Portable AC FAQs

How often does a portable AC need to be drained?

How often your condensate water tank needs to be emptied depends on the model of your air conditioner. It also depends on how long you’re running the unit. However, a general rule of thumb is once a day.

What happens if you don’t drain your portable AC?

One of the most significant issues that can happen is mold growth, which can be a health hazard if left unchecked.

What is a portable air conditioner?

Portable AC units are made to be moved around. They come in multiple sizes, but all of them are generally compact enough to carry from room to room as necessary.

How much noise does a portable AC make?

That depends on the model that you have. Some units are remarkably silent, while others produce a faint hum. Most units are reasonably quiet due to the demand for this feature.
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