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How to Make Portable Air Conditioners Efficient

Roz Zurko

The ability to be moved from room to room is one of the benefits of a portable air conditioner. It allows you to cool off the room you are in without the expense of cooling off the whole house.

Follow a few steps such as correct placement of the unit, cleaning, proper installation of a vent, along with environment control and your unit will run efficiently.

  1. Make your air conditioning unit work efficiently with correct placement. Portable units have the cooling capacity to do small areas. The efficiency of their cooling capabilities are tasked if used to cool too big of an area. Put the unit in an area no bigger than the suggested square footage for the BTU’s stated in the manufacturer's directions.

  2. Shut off all outside air sources such as doors and windows. The air conditioning unit takes the humidity out of the air which in turn allows the air to cool efficiently. Keep the area the unit is in free from any source of humidity to maintain the cool air.

  3. Place the unit at table top level to bring the cool air higher up in the room, which increases the cooling efficiency. Cool air sinks to ground level leaving the upper part of the room warmer. If the unit needs to stay on the floor, use a small fan to direct the cool air up towards the ceiling.

  4. Clean the unit’s air filter, which works as your unit's biggest factor towards efficiency. The filter is found in front of the air intake vents. Remove the cover and slide the filter out of its housing Run the filter under warm water in the sink to flush away the dust and particles that it has collected. Let it air dry completely and then put it back in the air conditioner. Do this at least once a month, more if you have a pet that sheds.

  5. Vent your air conditioner correctly to make your unit run more efficient. The unit needs to expel the hot air it has taken in from the room. With out the proper venting, the hot air stays in the room and the unit is useless for cooling. Vent the exhaust hose out the window and make sure the opening of the hose is not obstructed by bushes or vegetation. Check the hose for any crimps or bends, which will stop the air flow. Check the hose periodically for these complications to keep your portable air conditioning unit running efficiently.


Venting kits are sold for most any size windows. They allow you to vent the exhaust hose out the window without leaving spaces for the outside air to get in. They not only perform a function, but give a neater appearance to the window, with exhaust hose harnessed snugly.


The portable air conditioner needs room around it for air intake. It also is a piece of machinery that needs air flow around it to keep it cool. Do not obstruct it in anyway to maintain efficiency and safety.