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Do You Need a Drain Hose for Portable Air Conditioner?


Many have probably seen videos on YouTube and Instagram of people using portable air conditioners without a drain hose. However, I’ve also talked to different people, and this is one of the most common questions I get regarding portable air conditioners: Do you need a drain hose for aircon? And if so, can you run it without it?

The short answer is yes, but it will require a few changes to prevent damage from overheating. First, using a portable air conditioner without a drain hose should only be done in dehumidification mode. Dehumidification mode will remove moisture from your room and raise the temperature.

If you want to know more about your portable air conditioner, keep reading this article!

How Do Portable Air Conditioners Work?

A portable air conditioner, also known as a stand-up air conditioner, is a type of air conditioning unit that can be moved around quickly. It is self-contained and can be set up anywhere besides a window and socket. Portable air conditioners have wheels attached at the bottom, making them easy to move around. They are considered one of the most convenient air conditioners because of their easy placement and movement.

A portable air conditioning unit is similar to any other air conditioner. The primary function is to pull in the room’s air, condition it to your set temperature by extracting the heat, and releasing the cooled air back into your room. Portable air conditioners pull hot air from an area and transfer it outside the home. The air conditioning unit has a motor that cools the air circulated through the room. The AC unit will also remove excess humidity from the air and push it out of the room through a hose outside the window.

The main difference between portable and other air conditioners is that it combines all the processing units in one stand-alone device. The smallest portable air conditioning unit works in the same way by grouping the refrigeration cycle as closely as possible.

How Does a Portable Air Conditioner Drain Water?

Most people will place the drain hose out a nearby window to vent their portable air conditioner. Usually, portable air conditioners come with a window kit that fits in a regular windowpane.

Some portable air conditioners need to be drained. Entirely self-evaporative air conditioners are the most popular because they require little to no maintenance. However, fully self-evaporative models are the most convenient. They evaporate the moisture automatically from the exhaust hose at the same time. With these models, you rarely need to empty water collected from an internal tank.

Other designs will either employ a condensate pump or a gravity drain. A drain pipe is linked to this portable air conditioner model. The water is dragged downward by gravity. The drain hose collects the water, which empties onto an adjacent outdoor floor.

What Happens If You Don’t Use a Drain Hose?

A portable air conditioner in cooling mode is much like a purpose-built dehumidifier, except for one crucial difference: Portable air conditioners drip captured water onto the hot condenser coil, which removes heat more efficiently. This means you don’t have to dump a tank every now and then. 

Switching a portable AC to “dehumidifier” mode doesn’t change the amount of heat generated, but it makes the water go straight to a catch-tank instead of back into the air. In this case, the big difference compared to a dehumidifier is that portable AC units typically have tiny water tanks and are challenging to drain unless you can roll them outside and drain the water onto your lawn.

The aircon hose is there to drain the condensation that accumulates in the unit. If you do not attach the hose and drain out the water collected inside the air conditioning unit, it will overflow and leak, damaging your house’s floor. That’s why it is better to attach a hose to avoid overflow and other mishaps.

The drain hose is used if you want to direct drain water from your unit into a sink or a bucket for more straightforward disposal. That said, you do not have to have a drain hose connected if you do not have a use for it.

If you’re dealing with excessive humidity but heat isn’t as big of a problem, running a portable air conditioner in dehumidifier mode may make a room more comfortable. Although it is better to have a drain hose attached, you can use a portable air conditioner without a drain hose if you want heat instead of cooling.

Final Thoughts

It is no longer a question as to whether you need a drain hose or not because it can help you in using your portable air conditioning efficiently.

You might not realize it, but the importance of the drain hose shouldn’t be overlooked. The drain hose can increase the usage of your portable air conditioner by decreasing the amount of water that is accumulated within the unit.

JP Reyes

JP has been in the aircon industry for almost as long as he has been alive. As a child JP would help his tatay fix aircon units at their junk shop in Cavite. After graduating UP in the early 2000's, JP then started his own Aircon servicing business and within 5 years had 10 shops in 8 different cities. Fast forward to today and JP brings all his experience and expertise online to give readers trustworthy advice and reviews about Air-conditioning buying, servicing, cleaning and repair in the Philippines.

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