How to Vent a Portable Air Conditioner Without a Window

Updated: Jul 5, 2023 6:10 PM
How to Use a Portable Air Conditioner Without a Window
Difficulty None
Steps 3
Time Required
Tools Needed

One reason that portable units have quickly become some of the market’s best air conditioners is their versatility. For example, suppose you need to cool a windowless or near-windowless room. In that case, portable AC units give you more freedom of placement. Now, there are three ways to vent a portable air conditioner without a window. You can do this with a sliding door, through a wall, and using ceiling vents. Some methods, such as through the wall, may require the help of a professional. And keep in mind these are not the only methods. There are many more. Now if you want to avoid venting all together, there is always the best ventless air conditioner that will save you the hassle.

For those who might also consider venting their portable AC the traditional way, we have a great article covering how to use a portable air conditioner through a window.


  • Portable air conditioners can be vented through sliding doors, walls, and ceilings.
  • The easiest method is through a sliding door with a vent kit.
  • Venting a portable AC unit through a wall or ceiling panel requires making a hole with the same diameter as the exhaust hose.

Three Ways to Use a Portable AC Unit Without a Window

Portable air conditioning units are handy because they work in places that typically have few windows, like attics, basements, or office spaces. And with enough creativity, you can find a way to put your portable unit just about anywhere you have an outlet. They also use little energy, but the temperature and living space you can cool with a portable unit is limited.

For a unit that doesn’t require a window to operate, read our Delonghi evaporative cooler review. Moreover, it may also have a reservoir that needs to be dumped now and again. In that case, you’ll want to learn about finding the AC drain pan on this unit.

Plus, if you see strange codes on your AC interface, you’re probably dealing with an E1 error code, which we can help you fix.

Insider Tip

Experts recommend that the best way to find a spot to drill into the wall is by checking the building’s architectural plan.

There are more than just these three we’ll show you, but below are the most common ways to set up an air conditioner if you don’t have a window. You may also want to learn about fixing a portable unit, so you’re prepared for any future issues.

Also, we have a great article outlining how to use an air conditioner economically and effectively for those interested in reading further.

If you’d prefer another unit for more power, you’ll need a window unit. Not only can it help remove excess heat during hot summers, but it can also be more energy efficient. This gives you the power to cool your home while also saving money on electricity bills.

Method 1 – Sliding Doors

A sliding door is the easiest way to ventilate your portable AC because it’s‌ the same as installing it through a window when it comes down to it. Extension cords, exterior materials, and a little technical knowledge will make installation easier. Many hardware stores sell kits specifically tailored for sliding doors, which provide a tight seal. And, if that seal is broken and your unit stops working, check your home warranty for AC coverage, before spending cash on a new one.

STEP 1 Measure the Vent Panel

First, assemble and measure the vent panel.

STEP 2 Apply Weather Strips

Apply the weather strips to the door frame.

STEP 3 Attach Exhaust Hose to Panel

Attach the exhaust hose from the air conditioner to the panel.

Method 2 – Through the Wall

You’ll need to be comfortable drilling a hole into one of your walls for this method, especially if you’re using a unit with two hoses or one. If you don’t feel like you have the skills for this method, call a technician.

STEP 1Find a Spot and Cut a Hole

Once you’ve identified a spot on the wall to put the vent hose, you must measure the diameter and use a saw to cut the hole through to the outside.

STEP 2 Pass the Exhaust Hose through Wall Vent

Next, pass the exhaust hose through the wall vent and install the panel on the outside of the house.

STEP 3 Caulk Around the Hose to Seal the Opening

Use silicone caulk to seal any opening around the hose and vent both indoors and out.


Before drilling into your wall, check for studs and any electrical wiring. Drilling through studs can weaken the house’s structure, and drilling through wires can cause electrocution.

Method 3 – Ceiling Vents

This method is best if your home has a drop ceiling.

STEP 1 Make a Hole in the Ceiling Panel

Create an opening in a ceiling panel by measuring the diameter of your exhaust vent hose.

STEP 2 Pass Hose Through Ceiling Panel

Pass it through the ceiling panel and secure it.

STEP 3 Seal Around Hose with Caulk

Then, seal the area around the hose with silicone caulk.

Doing the above steps will help you vent your AC. But, if it’s frozen, you’ll want to learn about an AC that’s frozen, and how long it takes to defrost it.

STAT: Leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts cause the average house to lose about 20–30% of the air moving through the duct system. (source)


Do portable air conditioners last a long time?

If maintained and stored correctly, portable AC owners say they can last up to 15 years.

What should you do to maintain a portable air conditioner?

A few of the best ways to maintain a portable air conditioner are to regularly clean the filter and ensure the exhaust hose doesn’t get kinked. If it does, you’ll need to know how to stop your AC from leaking water.

Are there rooms where you shouldn’t use a portable AC unit?

Places that are not well insulated, such as garages or unfinished basements, are hard to cool and wouldn’t be good to run an AC unit in.

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