How To Drain Your Portable Air Conditioner? [4 Methods Included]

Portable air conditioners are more portable, less expensive, and easier to install than other types of air conditioners. They do, however, require more time to maintain. For example, you must learn how to drain your portable air conditioner.

To help you out, I have summarized 4 ways to drain water from a portable ac in this post. Continue reading to find out which method works best for you.

1. Empty the condensate tank manually

If you happen to have an old portable air conditioner, chances are it has a detachable condensate tank. While a part of the moisture collected will evaporate outside, some of them will be left in the tank. 

A portable air conditioner’s water tank is very similar to that of a dehumidifier, which has a water level sensor. When it is full, the machine will automatically shut down. Some models include an indicator that alerts you when it’s time to empty the tank.

To drain the water in the tank, turn off the machine and remove the tank. The water should then be drained into a floor drain or a sink. When finished, replace the tank and restart your machine.

This method, however, is not suitable for people with weak hands.

2. Drain in a pan 

Portable air conditioners these days often have a drain plug on the back. When the plug is unplugged, water will come out of it constantly.

To catch the condensation, you should prepare a big pan and place it under the drain plug. Putting some towels around the machine is a sensible way to prevent any spill.

For safety considerations, please unplug your device before starting. Now you can open the drain plug and allow the water to drain from your portable ac freely. 

When all the water runs out, replace the plug and turn on your device again.

As a side note, the pan should be quite flat to be able to be placed under the drain plug. Otherwise, you need to place your ac on a higher level, like a big stool. 

You can follow the guide in this video below.

3. Drain water through a drain hose

For those who don’t bother to do the manual draining, draining your portable through a hose is a good idea. However, only a few models come with this feature, so keep that in mind when shopping.

To use this draining method, ensure the power is turned off and no water is coming out of the machine.

You can connect a garden hose or a specific drain hose to your ac, depending on the drain plug size. In most cases, a garden hose will suffice.

Once you’ve confirmed the connection is secure, connect the other end of the hose to a floor drain. Because the hose drains water by gravity, make sure the drain plug is above the level of the spout and that there are no bends or kinks in the hose.

If the setup is correct, the water will drain constantly, and you don’t need to worry about how often you need to drain a portable ac anymore.

4. Drain water through a condensate pump

A condensate pump is a useful accessory to have if you want to drain your ac outside the window or if it is difficult to find a good placement that has a higher level than the floor drain.

The water can drain almost anywhere with the help of a condensate pump.

There are two hoses connected to the pump rather than one. The first is to connect the portable air conditioner, and the second is to send water outside the window or down the floor drain.

It will begin to draw water automatically once the water level in the ac reaches a certain level.

While it may be a bit pricey up front, it will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

Which method is the best for your to drain water from a portable AC?

You now have a basic understanding of portable air conditioner draining methods. I’ve compared these methods from various perspectives below to help you clear your mind.

Maintenance: empty condensate tank manually > drain in a pan > drain through a hose > drain through a pump

Upfront cost: drain through a pump > drain through a hose > drain in a pan > = empty condensate tank manually

Placement requirement: drain through a hose > drain in a pan > empty condensate tank manually = drain through a pump

You can pick one method that suits you best.No matter which one you choose, you will get the hang of it very soon.

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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.

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