Portable Air Conditioner Tips and Tricks

Edgestar Portable Air Conditioner

Are you a proud owner of a portable air conditioner, or are you looking to purchase a portable air conditioner and want to get the most from your purchase?

Here are 5 tips and tricks to maximize your portable air conditioner’s effectiveness and ensure you have a long and happy relationship together.

Close Off the Space

Portable air conditioners are meant to cool a specified, enclosed space. If you have an open concept kitchen-living room floor plan, for example, you’ll want to count the entire combined space when calculating square footage. If the spaces aren’t closed off, the portable air conditioner will be working to cool down the entire space.

The easiest way to account for this is, when looking for a portable air conditioner, to go up in BTUs or purchase multiple units. If you were thinking you needed a 10,000 BTU unit, but your space does open up to another room, go for a 12,000 BTU unit or supplement it with a 8,000 BTU unit. With that said, the more you can close off the space, the better and more effective the unit will work. Try to close any doors or openings leading into the room you are trying to cool. Another way to boost efficiency is to eliminate as many heat sources within the room as possible, like lights and electronic equipment.

Turn it on early

The best tip anyone can give you is to turn your portable air conditioner on before you actually need it. If your portable air conditioner is the only source of cooling in a room, it is best to turn it on earlier in the day while the temperature in the room is relatively cool.

For example, if you know you’ll need the unit to cool a room that gets hottest mid-day, turn it on a few hours before the mid-day heat has its full effect on your space. That way, the unit will be able to sustain a comfortable temperature while operating efficiently. If you wait until it is 95 degrees in the room you are trying to cool to turn the unit on, your unit will have to work twice as hard and may not be able to get the temperature down to a comfortable level.

The best and easiest way to do this is to employ the timer function many portable air conditioners have. If you know there’s a specific time you’ll want your area cooled, like when you get home from work, you can set the timer and have the unit power on an hour or so before you even get home. You could also set the timer to power the unit on mid-morning if you plan to enjoy the cool space during mid-day.

In addition, if you use a fan in conjunction with your portable air conditioner, the cooling power of your unit will be supplemented and the cold air will better circulate

Venting Options

Many people feel they cannot use a portable air conditioner because they do not have a window in the room they are trying to cool. This is not a problem! Though most portable air conditioners are designed to vent out of a window (most come with a handy, easy to install window kit), you are not limited to that form of venting.

Two other popular venting options are through a sliding glass door or the ceiling. Venting through a glass door is just as easy as venting through a window, and the process is essentially the same. You’ll need a separate large window/ sliding door venting kit to accommodate the vertical length of the door, but otherwise, it’s exactly the same.

Venting through the ceiling is the most popular venting option for portable air conditioners used in offices. Ceiling vent kits are easy to use and fairly simple to set up. You can also vent through the floor, chimney, or even another room. Venting through a casement window is also possible and easy to do. We have instructions on how to do so here.

Multi-Functional Operation

Most people think of portable air conditioners as a one-season commodity, but that doesn’t have to be the case. With multiple functioning units available, you could be making a year-round investment. Many models have a dehumidify-only mode that works to pull multiple pints of moisture from the air.

If you live near the coast, this could be an invaluable tool usable in all seasons. Some models also have a heater function. There’ll be no need to store your portable air conditioner for the winter if it serves as a cozy space heater in the colder months.

Filters, Filters, Filters

Though portable air conditioners come with a washable pre-filter, it is often best to use an additional filter. Many units offer a carbon filter as an accessory, which work to not only remove smoke and odors from your air but also to boost the efficiency of your unit.

There are also great anti-microbial filters available from 3M. Antimicrobial filters increase your portable air conditioner’s efficiency and decreases maintenance needs by capturing dust, lint, smoke, pollen, and mold spores from your air. You’ll not only be receiving cooled air but also clean air.

You want to be sure to replace the filters about every 3 months, so buying a five pack of filters will not only last you over a year but it is also cheaper than buying them one at a time.

A portable air conditioner can be a fantastic investment, easing the burden of seasonal heat and subsequent energy bills. Follow these tips to ensure you get the most bang for your buck and experience everything your cooling unit has to offer.



About Author

Sarah is a savvy urbanite with small town roots. As a foodie, wine lover & adventurer, she loves the bustling city and the great outdoors equally. Her motto is that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort, convenience, or fresh air for small-scale urban living.


  1. Muth Subra says

    additional info will be appreciated:- estimated Expenditure for a1000 sq. ft. closed area using a medium capacity portable unit (with cooling and heating features) for use in southern California residence at the average cost of electricity, in dollars per month. Expected durability(life) for an average priced unit with both heating and cooling features. thanks.

    • SarahSarah says

      Hello Muth,

      Thanks for your interest in a portable air conditioner! One of our product experts can help you locate the perfect unit for your needs. Give us a call at 1-800-297-6076, so we can get more information about your intended usage.



    Thank you for the helpful info I love my unit I was just wondering can they be used as your only cooling sourse?

    • SarahSarah says

      Fantastic question! They absolutely can. Before you use it as your only cooling source, though, you’ll want to make sure that your unit can handle the size of the area your want cooled. For example, an 8,000 BTU unit can cool a space up to 250 sq. ft. A 14,000 BTU unit, on the other hand, is best for rooms up to 500 sq. ft. To find the best cooling power for your space check out our BTU chart here.

  3. tom broxson says

    Do you have source or further info on exhausting through ceiling. I have no problem with moving hot air into attic since it will probably be cooler than the summer air in the attic. I do have a worry about the moisture the exhausted air is carrying from the room where the unit is. What duct work or other procedure do you use to end up with the exhaust outside the building. In much of the country I can foresee major mold problems in the attic with exhausting just into the attic

    • SarahSarah says

      Ceiling venting is most often done in office settings where there are ceiling tiles. This is the kit most often used: APDK1. There is an instructional installation video on the product page.

      If you live in an area of high humidity, venting into the attic or ceiling can create some mold concerns. It is always best to vent outside. This is most often done through a window using the window vent kit included with your purchase of a portable air conditioner. If your window is larger than usual, you can use this kit: APPK2010.

  4. carl pennauchi says

    Interested in purchasing a 14k unit a/c, with dehumidify ability for my 24×24 garage. My question is regarding hose venting. My understanding is the dual hose units are more efficient and better suited for a high humidity environment[ coastal s.c.]. Your thoughts are appreciated. Carl

    • SarahSarah says

      Hey Carl,

      Using a portable air conditioner to cool a garage can be very effective if the area is insulated. Seeing as humidity will be high in your area, I would recommend a unit that uses InvisiMist Technology, which will ensure that you never have to worry about draining collected moisture. The unit will take care of that for you by turning the water into a mist and expelling it from its vent hose. Take a look at the Avallon 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable A/C. I think it’s just what you’re looking for. Also, if you have additional concerns and want to talk on the phone, give our product experts a call at 1-800-297-6076.

  5. Kathie says

    I purchased a 12000 BTU a couple of weeks ago. I have been reluctant to set it up because I’ve had concerns about whether the electrical system in my 1960-1970 home will be overtaxed if I plug it in. We have no 3 prong outlets & I will need to use an adaptor. Is this a fire hazard? Can I damage the electrical system? Also, having the unit 5 feet from the outlet is do-able but inconvenient. I purchased a heavy duty extension cord 5-6 feet long. Is there a problem using this with this unit?

    • SarahSarah says

      Hi Kathie,
      All great questions. I strongly urge you to not use an extension cord. As far as the adapter, it’s probably okay. It really comes down to what capacity breaker you have and whether or not you have multiple duplexes on your breaker. You need at least a 15 amp breaker and there shouldn’t be anything else plugged in on the circuit. If your wiring hasn’t been updated and is aluminum rather than copper – this is a definite fire hazard. Regardless, you should tread lightly. What model/brand unit do you have?

      • Kathiie says

        Re model/brand: DeLonghi Pinguino PAC. CN120E. I guess I will have to do a bit of research regarding “15 amp breaker” ~ I don’t know. The wiring has not been updated to my knowledge however I don’t think it’s aluminum.

  6. Larry Des Jardins says

    My sister bought me the ap12000s on June 30th of this year. I just now opened the box and have had it running last nite for 3 hours and again this morning.. this morning the room temp was 73 , its been running since 6 am and now it 84…any suggestions

    • SarahSarah says

      Hi Larry,

      I’m sorry to hear that you are having issues. I would recommend calling EdgeStar support at 1.866.319.5473 or emailing them at service@edgestar.com. They will have the knowledge necessary to troubleshoot your specific model.

  7. esnart banda says

    Im thinking of buying portable ac.is there a unit which has no vent system?if so which units are these?

  8. Sharyn Golleher says

    I would also like to know is there a unit which has no vent system? if so which units are these?

  9. Carl J. says

    The exhaust hose on my single-hose PAC’s u it gets extremely hot. This makes the thermostat go high into the 80’s. While cold air is released from the front grill, the back where the hose is located is very hot. Any sugestion on how to keep the exhaust hose cooler? Thank you very much. Paco

  10. Carl J. says

    The exhaust hose on my single-hose PAC’s unit gets extremely hot. This makes the thermostat in the room’s wall go high into the 80’s. While cold air is released from the front grill, the back, where the hose is located gets very hot. Any suggestion on how to keep the exhaust hose cooler?

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