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A Complete Guide to Perfect Portable AC Positioning

So you’ve bought yourself a portable AC. The next step is to find the perfect location to house the latest addition to your cooling arsenal. 

But where to put it? Portable AC positioning has a lot bigger influence on its energy efficiency than you might expect.

Where is the best place to put a portable air conditioner?

The best place to put a portable air conditioner is where air can flow freely, the portable AC is out of the sun, and a location with low humidity.  

Portable air conditioners also need direct access to a power source and a compatible window. Locate yours close to a power outlet and near a window.

Here’s a quick list of the factors to consider when positioning your portable air conditioner:

  • Airflow: You want cold air to move easily through your space. Locate your portable air conditioner where there’s good airflow to all corners of your room.
  • Nearby heat sources: Placing your portable air conditioner next to a heat source like a kitchen stove will reduce effectiveness. Your unit will have to work harder to cool hot air.
  • Sunlight: Direct sunlight will heat up your portable air conditioner. The unit will have to use some of its energy to keep itself cool rather than cooling your home. 
  • Humidity: Excess humidity can interfere with the working of your portable AC. Your portable AC will produce a lot of drip moisture if you put it in a humid space.
  • Access to power: Portable ACs work by being plugged into the wall. So you’ll need to position yours close enough to a power outlet.
  • Access to a compatible window: Portable ACs need a compatible window to connect to so they can vent excess heat. 


Good airflow is crucial to portable AC positioning. You want to make sure that the cold air your unit produces can get to every corner of a room.

The key is to put your portable AC in a central, open location. Any furniture blocking the portable AC will get in the way of the flow of air.

So you want to avoid putting your portable AC behind a couch or chair. Think of drawing a straight, unobstructed line from your portable AC to the four corners of your room.

Nearby heat sources

Nearby heat sources will make it harder for your portable AC to do its job efficiently. The heat from a kitchen stove will counteract the positive benefits of air conditioning.

Think about it like this. Your air conditioner is tasked with sucking heat out of the air in your home. If the air that goes into your portable AC is quite hot, then the air that comes out might barely be below room temperature.

The portable AC will just counteract the heat produced by your stove or oven. 

That doesn’t mean you should avoid having AC in your kitchen at all. It’s just best to position your portable AC as far away from heat-generating appliances as possible. 

This rule of thumb also doesn’t just apply to stoves and ovens. A computer or server will also generate a lot of heat. 


Direct sunlight poses problems for portable AC for similar reasons to an oven or stove. A portable air conditioner positioned directly in the sun’s rays will heat up the unit.

That means that your portable AC is using energy just to keep itself cool. 

You need to position your portable AC near a window so that it can vent excess heat. But try to make sure it’s not in patches of direct sunlight for long periods of time. 


Using your portable AC in an area of your home with high humidity can cancel out some of its cooling effects. 

Water in the air will condensate when it comes into contact with your portable AC’s cooling element. A very humid environment will cause your portable air conditioner’s condensate trap to fill up quickly, requiring you to empty it regularly.

Another downside of using a portable AC in a humid room is that the room may still feel warm even though it’s cooler because humidity makes temperatures feel hotter than they are.

Examples of humid rooms that make for poor portable AC locations are laundry rooms and bathrooms. These aren’t rooms that you’d want to have air-conditioned anyway because you don’t spend much time in them. 

Access to power

Your portable AC needs the power to run. Position your portable AC within easy reach of a wall outlet so you can connect it.

Portable air conditioners use electricity to run. This electricity powers a pump that maintains a pressure difference in refrigerant, a core part of the refrigeration process.

Access to a compatible window

Portable AC requires a compatible window in order to vent the excess heat generated during the air conditioning process.

Air conditioning is like a conveyer belt for heat. It sucks the heat out of your home’s air and pushes outside. 

That means that units like portable air conditioners need a connection to the outside world in order to put the excess heat somewhere. Otherwise, a portable air conditioner would produce equal amounts of cold and hot air.

Portable ACs don’t work with every type of window. The best type of window to use with a portable AC is a vertical sliding window. These can rest on top of your window AC and create a good seal.

You can get special window kits that work with swinging windows or horizontally sliding doors/windows. But these outlet types are generally less effective because they leak more heat back into your home.