How to Clean a Portable Air Conditioner: Step by Step Guide

Cleaning your portable air conditioner is a rather mundane task but an undoubtedly important one as it ensures more efficient and effective functioning. If you don’t clean it regularly, your portable air conditioner will use increased amounts of energy and suffer from a steady decline in performance, which is why we have prepared these tips and tricks on how to clean a portable air conditioner. Let’s dive in.

How to Clean a Portable Air Conditioner?

A portable air conditioner consists of several parts that require frequent cleaning, including its filters, coils, or exterior. In order to clean these parts properly, you should follow our step-by-step guide below.

Drain the Water

Refrigerative air conditioners operate by taking out water from the air in your home. As a great deal of that condensation accumulates inside a container in the unit, it then requires you to drain it properly to avoid water leakage. The best part about newer units is that they come with either an indicator light or automatic shutoff sensor to let you know if the water container is full. Keep in mind that this isn’t always the case which is why you need to check the container every now and then.

Draining Into a Pan

In order to drain your unit properly, follow the steps below:

  • Unplug the unit and disconnect its power to drain the unit safely and securely.
  • The next step requires you to place the pan under the drain plug which is located in the back of your unit. Remove the drain plug to allow water drainage but make sure to prepare yourself as water will start to flow out instantly.
  • Once the unit is fully drained, plug it back into the socket and connect the power.

Use a Hose

Using a hose is yet another way to constantly keep your portable air conditioner empty of water. This is because a hose can prevent water from collecting in the condensation tank by draining it from the tank automatically. This happens as one of its sides goes to a drain while the other remains attached to the tank, emptying water automatically. To avoid possible leaks, fasten the drain hose with a tight seal while making sure to position it at a downward angle to empty water.

Do note, though, that not all units come with this feature so it’s of crucial importance for you to read the manual before starting the process.

Use a Condensate Pump

Condensate pumps can remove water vertically as they don’t rely on gravity to force the water outside. These pumps normally have two hoses, one of which is attached from the pump to the unit while the other is attached to the pump and uses an open end to drain water outside. The best part is that these turn on automatically when there is a high water level accumulation.

Clean Filters

As with any air purifier or HVAC system, the filters in your portable air conditioner need regular maintenance. If not debris-free, it becomes a challenging task for your filers to work efficiently which automatically means that your conditioner won’t cool or circulate air properly. This is why you need to check your filters every ten to fifteen days to remove debris. To clean the filter properly, remove them from the unit carefully and shake them off inside a plastic bag or dustbin to get rid of dust particles. The next step is to remove the more stubborn dust particles using a handheld vacuum cleaner and then soak the filter in lukewarm water with a mild or gentle detergent. Make sure to fully dry it before you put it back inside your AC unit.

Do note, though, that some AC units come with filters that aren’t washable so you’ll need to dispose of and replace them when they stop working as efficiently as you want them to.

Check the Coils

Checking the coils for any dirt or debris is crucial in the process of cleaning your portable AC unit. As they are quite expensive, however, you want to clean them carefully to prevent any damage. In order to do so, follow the several steps below:

  • To access the coils in most portable AC units, you need to remove the outer housing. While some are carefully secured with screws and require suitable screwdrivers to loosen them, others use uncomplicated snap-in fittings. In case this seems like a challenging task, refer to your manual before opening it.
  • Use a soft brush or a damp cloth without any harsh detergents to gently sweep away any dirt or debris. For best results, use special coil cleaning solutions which you can find at your local hardware store or on Amazon.
  • To remove mold or mildew, create a solution by mixing baking soda and a gentle bleach. Dissolve the bleach in water and slightly dampen a soft cloth inside, gently wiping the surface of the coils. Repeat the process until the coils are completely mold or mildew-free, then allow them to fully dry.

Cleaning the Exterior

The housing of your portable air conditioner should be cleaned at least once a month to prevent dust from blocking the airflow. Make sure the unit is turned off and gently wipe it with a damp cloth without using any detergents or chemicals.

Store Your Portable AC Unit Properly

Storing your air conditioner as the summer ends is a no-brainer. Once you decide that it is time to put it away, make sure to clean the filter and completely empty the tank. To eradicate any moisture and prevent mold growth, run the AC for half an hour in fan mode. If you still have the original packaging, we advise you to safely store it there. Otherwise, find another suitable box and put it in a place where there isn’t any moisture.

Final Takeaway

There – you now know the primary methods that can help you maintain your portable air conditioner. Remember to implement them regularly in order to keep your unit in tip-top condition, allowing it to work more efficiently while saving energy.