How To Use A Portable Air Conditioner

Updated: Jul 5, 2023 6:10 PM
How to Use a Portable Air Conditioner
Difficulty Easy
Steps 5
Time Required 15 Minutes
Tools Needed

Portable units rival window and central air conditioners as some of the best air conditioners on the market. They are energy-efficient and convenient, and many come with a multitude of functions. If you’re considering or have purchased one for your home, below, we have outlined how to use a portable air conditioner to cool a high temperature within your home, especially if you live in a hot climate.

STEP 1 Measure Your Window

Take a tape measure and measure the length of the window frame.

STEP 2 Apply the Weatherstrip

Place the adhesive side of the strip down onto the window frame.

STEP 3 Adjust the Window Bracket to Fit Window Measurement

  1. Set the window bracket to the size of the window frame. If not adjustable, cut it to length with a box cutter.
  2. After sizing, place the window bracket into the frame.
  3. Lower the window until it firmly rests on the bracket.
  4. Insert the L-shaped brackets with a screwdriver.

STEP 4 Connect the Exhaust Hose (keep in mind if it’s a single hose or dual hose AC)

  1. There are two ends: one that goes to the AC and the other to the window bracket.
  2. Make sure not to bend or kink the hose during this process.

STEP 5 Power on the Portable Air Conditioning Unit

  1. Using the remote, hit the reset button.
  2. Turn the power on the portable air conditioner unit.


  • A portable AC unit is an excellent option for those looking to cut down on energy costs and to use in rooms with few or no windows.
  • Setting up a portable AC unit requires little hassle or heavy lifting.
  • For best results, measure the window and window bracket to make sure they fit snuggly.

Many have given up using a window air conditioner in favor of a portable unit to reduce heat and make your space feel cooler. This phenomenon is often because portable AC units require less upkeep and are more energy-efficient than window units. Moreover, portable units offer better airflow control and easier maintenance, resulting in lower energy usage. On average, this type of air conditioner model saves consumers $70 a year on electric costs, which over the long haul, adds up. Although, how to store a portable A/C and how to size a portable air conditioner are different info articles.

Insider Tip

Because most portable AC vents are five feet long, make sure to check for a convenient outlet before installing.

Portable air conditioners also function as dehumidifiers and fans and often come with programmable timers. Furthermore, they are typically equipped with washable filters, which help improve the cooling process and keep the portable air conditioner vent clean. They are also more energy efficient than window-mounted air conditioners and require less power, making them an ideal energy efficiency solution for those who need to cool down an indoor space without draining too much energy. However, some models will need to have a drain pan emptied, or you will be left wondering, why is my portable air conditioner leaking water?

And for additional reading for those with central AC, we have an article on how to unlock an AC thermostat.

For those who have a windowless room they need to cool, we have another article that shows you how to use a portable air conditioner without a window. If you’re using a window air conditioner, you’ll want to know how to seal gaps around a window A/C unit.


Some window brackets need to be cut to fit into place. Make sure you have a box cutter or saw on hand to do this.


Is it necessary to put water in a portable air conditioner?

Standard portable air conditioners don’t require owners to fill them with water.

Do you have to drain your portable air conditioner?

Some portable ACs have a self-evaporating feature, meaning you won’t have to worry about drainage. However, if it’s not, failing to drain might cause overflow and damage the floor or surrounding furniture.

Are portable air conditioners noisy?

Portable AC units are notoriously louder than other forms of cooling units. If you’re purchasing for an office or common area, keep this in mind.

Nathan Rizzuti Avatar