Can You Leave Your Portable Air Conditioner On All Day? Myths Busted!

Once you get a portable air conditioner, the next question that can pop into your head may be how long you can run it or whether or not you can leave it on all day. 

If so, you’ve come to the right place because I’ve answered all of your questions in this article.

Simply put, keeping your portable running all day is OK. It is not going to catch fire or damage your machine in most cases. However, you don’t necessarily need to do so because it may result in increased energy consumption, a shorter lifespan, and more time spent on maintenance.

There’s a lot more to it, so keep reading. After reading this article, you will be confident in using your portable air conditioner.

Ready? Let’s go!

Is it safe to run a portable AC all day?

When using any electrical appliance, including a portable air conditioner, safety is always the top priority.

Because many appliances will overheat or even catch fire if left on for too long, you may wonder if you can leave your portable on all day.

Fortunately, if all of the parts are in good condition, running portable air conditioners continuously poses no danger. The compressor will not overheat simply because it runs for too long.

Even if the compressor overheats, it will shut down or trip the breaker. So you shouldn’t be too concerned if you leave it on even when you’re not at home.

However, it is better to be safe than sorry. Don’t run it continuously for a few days if you are away from home.

How long can you run a portable AC continuously?

Now that running a portable AC all day is safe, you can deduce that you can run your portable AC 24/7. Technically, it is true. 

However, there are two problems that may cause your machine to take a break automatically from time to time. 

1. How do you drain your portable AC?

Like other types of air conditioners, portable air conditioners can not only cool the room but also reduce humidity. That is to say, it will collect water while working. 

If you don’t have a fully self-evaporating machine, you will need to think about how to drain it

For those who want to leave your machine on continuously, you should let it drain through a hose. Otherwise, the machine will stop working as long as the water tank is full by making use of a built-in float switch to prevent water damage.

2. How clean is the air filter?

dirty portable ac filter

If only you could keep your portable AC unit running without any maintenance. But, as you are aware, it will not work.

A significant amount of dirt will accumulate in the filter over time, requiring your appliance to work harder to pull in the air. It’s the same as breathing through a mask.

After a while, the compressor will overheat and shut off automatically as a failsafe.

So, to ensure your portable AC can work continuously, you should clean the filter regularly, at least once a month.

Possible drawbacks of running a portable AC all day

Until now, you have figured out if you can and how to run a portable AC continuously. You may wonder if running a portable air conditioner continuously is preferable to doing so in intervals.

It is hard to give a single clear-cut answer to this question since there are a lot of factors that come into play. I will cover them in this section.

High power consumption

If you are feeling the pinch of your finances, running your machine all day may not be a good idea.

While air conditioners tend to consume much more electricity when starting, the energy savings of leaving it on will be offset by a few hours of turning it off. 

So, it all comes down to how much time you spend in your house. Leave it on if you spend most of your time in your air-conditioned room. Otherwise, turning it off when you are not at home is a better option.

By the way, it is also not eco-friendly and will result in more global greenhouse gas emissions.

Types of portable air conditioning units

You can divide portable air conditioners into the inverter and non-inverter units.

If your unit is an inverter air conditioner or even a dual inverter air conditioner, its compressor will run at a low speed in operation. Under this circumstance, keeping it on for a long time may not leave impressive numbers on your electricity bills, and it is your best bet.

However, it is a different story for non-inverter air conditioner owners. As your machine will turn off when the room reaches the set temperature and turn on after the temperature rises or falls to a certain level, running it all day will cost more than running it in intervals.

Shorten its lifespan

Although continuing to run a mobile air conditioner is safe, it can’t avoid mechanical wear and tear. The more you use it, the quicker it will wear out.

On the other hand, turning on and off often can also strain the system. 

As a result, if you need to leave the house for a few hours, such as for a 9 to 5 job, it is best to turn it off. This will increase its lifespan.

How to ensure the room is cool when I get home without running my portable AC continuously?

One of the primary reasons why people think about leaving their portable AC on all day is that they like to enjoy the bliss of a cool room whenever they go back home.

Thanks to the advancement of technology, now you can achieve it without running your portable unit all day.

Many models can be controlled by a smartphone app, allowing you to turn it on when you are still at work. 

If you are in a position to purchase a new unit, just go for a smart portable AC. 

In conclusion

Hopefully, this post has helped you to decide if you need to run your portable AC all day.

Even though running a portable AC continuously is generally safe, it may increase your cost of utility bills and affect its lifespan.

If you work a 9 to 5 job, you can turn it on before you get home instead of leaving it on all day. However, you can only do this if you have a smart portable air conditioner.

If you still insist on doing so, you should make sure the filter is not clogged, and the water will drain through the hose. 

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Liz Yang is the founder of Airsmartly. She has been working at home for a few years and realizes that the performance of the HVAC system plays such an important role in our life. She has tested a lot of products in person, like humidifiers, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and ACs, and wants to share tips about using or troubleshooting these products with you. Her uncle is an HVAC expert with over 30 years of experience in the field, and often offers assistance when she is unsure how to handle a situation. He is also in charge of reviewing the articles on this site.