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Do portable AC units need water?

A lot of people who buy portable AC units expect there to be more to it than just plugging it into an outlet and attaching the exhaust tube to the window. Other air conditioning systems require complex installation and often a massive headache. We’ll cover everything your portable air conditioner needs in this article. Hint – it doesn’t need water.

Do portable AC units need water?

No, portable air conditioners do not need water. Portable air conditioners run on electricity alone. But, they may generate water as they cool through condensation.

Portable air conditioners do not need water because water plays no part in the air conditioning process. Air conditioners of all types cool the air in your home using refrigerant and pressure control.

A compressor in your portable air conditioner squeezes refrigerant to a high density, making it much hotter than room temperature. This causes the heat in the refrigerant to transfer into the outdoor air, which is then blown out of the exhaust tube.

When the expansion valve forces the refrigerant to expand in the other part of your portable air conditioner, it becomes much colder than room temperature, having lost much of its heat to the outdoor air.

There’s no water used in this process so your portable air conditioner doesn’t need any.

But you may be curious why you pulled a tray of water out of your portable air conditioner. The air conditioning process doesn’t use water but it does produce water. When your home’s air comes into contact with the cold expansion coil, it condensates like an ice-cold drink on a hot day.

This condensation then collects in your portable AC’s condensation tank, which you need to empty regularly or it will spill over.

If your “portable air conditioner” does use water, you may actually have an evaporating cooler. This is not an air conditioner but is an affordable alternative for keeping your home cool.

Evaporative coolers have many names – humidity coolers, swamp coolers, and even evaporative air conditioners. How they work is pretty basic. A fan blows air over a damp pad, which is kept wet by a tank and pump system. As the water from the tank evaporates, it uses thermal energy and the air passing over the pad cools down slightly.

Evaporative coolers won’t reduce your home’s internal temperature by as much as an air conditioning system. But they cost much less to buy and run.

A word of warning. Evaporative coolers won’t work in really humid climates because water doesn’t evaporate as much if there’s already a lot of water in the air. So these machines are not a great idea if you live in Houston.

What do portable AC units need?

Portable air conditioners need the following things to work properly:

  • Electricity: Electricity is the power source a portable AC uses to keep your home cool. This energy powers a pump, two fans, and a compressor unit that squeezes refrigerant to force it to a higher pressure and temperature.
  • A suitable window: Portable air conditioners need an outlet to get rid of excess heat. An exhaust tube connects a portable air conditioner to a window. You’ll need a window that fits the specification of your chosen portable air conditioner and its window kit (the bit that creates a seal to stop hot air coming in).
  • Floor space: Portable air conditioners need somewhere to sit on the ground. While other air conditioning units are mounted to walls or in windowsills, portable air conditioners just sit on the ground in a location where they can connect to a power source and to a suitable window.

What do portable AC units use as fuel?

Portable air conditioners use electricity as fuel. You can just plug a portable air conditioner into a normal power outlet. There’s no need to make any changes to the wiring of your home, unlike in-wall or split AC systems.