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Can you use a portable air conditioner when it’s raining?

You might be worried that your portable air conditioner could get damaged if you use it in the rain. The exhaust hose connects to the window, so doesn’t water get in?

Can you use a portable air conditioner when it’s raining?

Yes, you can use a portable air conditioner when it’s raining. Most portable air conditioners come with window screens that prevent rainwater from entering a portable air conditioner’s exhaust tube. 

Portable air conditioners are designed to attach to windows. They would be useless if they broke down every time it rains. Most units will come with drainage tubes for any external units that might collect water.

Additionally, the components in your portable AC are designed to withstand water damage. Refrigerant tubes, evaporator and compressor coils, and the pumping system can all get wet without any problems.

The process of air conditioning actually generates a lot of water. As the air cools, water from the air condenses inside your air conditioner and collects in the condensate trap.

For this reason, the parts in a portable AC are designed with water resistance in mind.

Portable ACs also come with their own drainage system for removing excess water. There will be drainage tubes towards the back of your unit that let out accumulated water.

Most of the water in your portable AC is likely to go to the condensate trap. The condensate trap is a tray of water designed to hold all the condensation your portable AC generates. 

You need to empty your condensate trap regularly otherwise it can spill over.

Types of weather that can damage portable AC

Regular rain does not pose a threat to your portable AC. Air conditioning units are designed to withstand all regular weather. But there are some kinds of inclement weather you should pay attention to.

Here are all the types of weather that can damage a portable AC:

  • Hail: Falling hail can damage the parts of your portable AC that are exposed to the elements. The main risk is that falling ice will physically break components.
  • Flooding: Portable ACs are designed to withstand water, but full flooding for an extended period is likely to damage components. Our recommendation is to make sure the portable AC is turned off to limit the risk of electrocution. Also, try to remove your portable AC as quickly as possible. 
  • Heavy/Tropical Storm: Heavy storms are a risk mainly because of falling branches and debris. Water from a storm is unlikely to damage your portable AC. 

How to troubleshoot water in your portable AC

We know that a bit of rain won’t damage your portable AC. But what do you do if hear water sloshing around in your unit? 

Here are some steps to make sure your portable AC is working properly to drain excess water:

  • Clear the drainage holes: Your portable AC will have drainage holes at the bottom of the unit that are designed to drain excess water. Make sure these are unclogged. Clean them with a pipe cleaner if you notice any accumulated grime.
  • Empty the condensate trap: Portable ACs come with a tray that collects excess water. One of the reasons you may hear water sloshing around in your unit is if this tray has spilled over. Remove the tray and empty any of the water into a sink or flower pot.
  • Wait patiently: It may take a little bit of time for your portable AC to drain properly. Excess water may need to evaporate inside your device. Turn the unit off and leave it for 24 hours to see if the water level goes down.
  • Call a professional: If sloshing persists despite following the above three suggestions, its time to call a professional to inspect your device.