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Portable Air Conditioner Care and Maintenance Tips

Portable AC customers have questions regarding the care and maintenance the unit needs in order to run properly and last a long time. Here are some suggestions and tips for you to do exactly that.

Location, Location, Location

First, you will want to examine just exactly you will be installing and using the unit. Placement is very important to the longevity of the unit. Try to avoid areas that are very dusty or dirty. The reason for this is that dust can get into the upper and lower fan motors, contaminate the bearings, and foul the windings on the motors themselves. This can cause electrical and mechanical failures.

Our second consideration is the proximity to an available window and nearby power source. If your area is particularly humid, you may also want to consider a nearby drain for the condensate that the AC will accumulate during operation. You can drain the unit in one of two ways, either by installing a drain tube (1/4” ID) on the drain port at the back of the unit and letting that drain into a bucket, or by manually disconnecting the unit and rolling it outside to be drained

Power Considerations

Speaking of power, make sure that the unit is being operated on a circuit that will supply 120VAC, at a minimum of 15A. This will ensure that the compressor and fan motors have plenty of startup power. Another thing to consider is the use of an electrical surge preventer. The cost is minimal and will save time, money, and effort in the event you experience a power surge.

Exhaust Tip

Also, make sure that when installing the exhaust hose, that it is as short and as straight as possible. This will prevent the moisture in the exhaust stream from condensing in the hose and rolling back into the unit, potentially causing damage.

Filter Maintenance

Regular cleaning of the AC unit’s filters will go a long way in ensuring the long life of the appliance. We recommend regular cleaning of the pre-filter, usually located in the upper back portion of the unit. This will prevent dust and dirt from building up on the evaporator coil. If dirt is allowed to accumulate, it mixes with the residual moisture on the coil and forms a “crust”, or dirt layer, on the coil, which prevents the coil from transferring the heat from the room to the outside and can act as an insulator, causing the compressor to overheat. Make sure when cleaning the filter, not to use soap or detergents, as they will leave a sticky film on the filter and cause rapid clogging of the filter. As a side note, some units have an additional “carbon filter” for odor control. For best results, change the filter out every 3-6 months.

Make sure to keep all of the vents in the back of the unit clean also, as the fans pull air through the vents to provide secondary cooling of the compressor. You can use a vacuum with a brush attachment to accomplish this task, if you wish.

Storage Tips

After the cooling season is over, you will want to drain the unit of accumulated water and then run the unit in FAN ONLY mode, on HIGH speed, for 3 to 4 hours, to completely dry the inside of the unit. Then, cover the unit with plastic sheeting and store in a cool, dry place where it will not be subjected to freezing conditions.

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