Updated at: 22-07-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Yes. Moisture builds up in all portable air conditioners and needs to be emptied frequently. Air conditioners do more than just cool the air; they also reduce humidity. Drainage is required after water collection. Exactly how does one empty a portable air conditioner?

We will examine three methods for draining a portable air conditioner, including the controversial “no drain portable air conditioner” method. Each of these methods can be used to deplete the batteries in portable appliances of any brand, including Toshiba, LG, DeLonghi, Black & Decker, Insignia, Haier, and Midea.

We’ll start by answering a common question about drainage that we get from readers:

How come my portable air conditioner leaks so much water?

When used in a room with high relative humidity, a portable air conditioner will produce a significant amount of water. These highly effective portable air conditioners may generate almost 4 pints of water per hour under optimal conditions. That’s about 100 pints or 15 gallons per day.

Let’s have a look at the three common methods of draining water from portable air conditioners:

How To Drain A Portable AC Unit?

Humidity levels inside might go up to more than 50% throughout the summer. Indoor humidity values of 70, 80, or even 90 percent are not unheard of in regions with high humidity.

The primary function of air conditioning is to reduce the temperature. Secondarily, however, portable air conditioners work as dehumidifiers as well. They reduce humidity levels as we have written in this post about if all AC units remove humidity.

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Cooling down the interior is the fundamental goal of air conditioning. Portable air conditioners can also function as dehumidifiers, albeit this is a secondary function. In this article, we addressed the question of whether or not all air conditioners eliminate humidity by answering in the affirmative.

The portable air conditioner was able to achieve a temperature drop of 10 degrees Fahrenheit by expelling hot air through a hose. Additionally, the machine was able to cut humidity levels by 20%. Is there a leak somewhere or did all that water just disappear? Have you checked the bucket? How about the hose, did it make it through there? How did the water eventually drain?

Here are three different ways that portable air conditioners drain water:

1. Portable AC Unit Drained Via Condensate Tank (Manual Drainage)

The water is stored in the older models’ included condensate tank. This drain pan collects the water that condenses on the evaporator coils as they cool.

There are two ways how to empty this condensate tank:

  1. This condensate tank can be emptied in any of two ways:
  2. The unit has to be picked up (not-removable tank). At order to access the internal tanks, portable air conditioners will have a small opening in the back. The opening is closed when the air conditioner is on. To empty the tank of a portable air conditioner, one must lift the entire unit (some models weigh 40 pounds or more), then transport it to a sink or bathtub.

This is the worst possible method for draining a portable air conditioner. Draining a portable air conditioner by hand is a chore no one enjoys. Because of this, modern air conditioners have a more hands-off approach to draining:

2. Automatic Drainage Via Hose (‘No Drain Portable Air Conditioners’)

Nowadays, the most efficient portable air conditioners are completely maintenance-free. Portable air conditioners that don’t require draining are self-emptying by way of the exhaust hose. As we have stated in the past, hoses are required for use with any portable air conditioner (that would go against the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics).

These portable air conditioners must be drained, despite the term “no drain.” However, you don’t need to take any active steps to drain them.

Exhaust hoses are used to essentially evaporate the stored moisture before they are released. In earlier systems, the exhaust airflow is dry if you measure the relative humidity (below 30 percent humidity). However, if you check the humidity levels, you’ll notice that these newer devices release hot, muggy air (above 50 percent humidity).

There is a strong suspicion that these portable air conditioners that don’t require a drain are overhyped. This is why the two most common concerns among prospective buyers are:

  1. Do those portable AC units that don’t need a drain cost more?
  2. I was wondering whether there was a reduction in energy efficiency for portable devices that did not have a drain.

These units are not any more expensive than older models, although being brand new and offering improved convenience in terms of drainage. Simply put, newer technologies have supplanted their predecessors. Portable air conditioners without a drain may cost an extra $10 to $50, but that’s a little amount to pay for the convenience they provide.

You shouldn’t worry about conserving energy. While it is true that these devices require some electricity to evaporate the water, the inverter compressors and other modern features make them far more efficient than their condensation-tank-using predecessors.

Take an older model of LG’s portable air conditioner with 10,000 BTU and you’ll get an EER of 9. (Energy Efficiency rating). By utilizing inverter compressor technology, the newest version of a 10,000 BTU LG portable air conditioner will have an EER of 10.

How to Drain Your Portable Air Conditioner in Easy Ways

3. Drainage Via Drain Hose (With Or Without A Condensation Pump)

A select few portable air conditioners have drain hoses installed for easy emptying. You can think of this as a hose that leads outside and empties the condensate tank automatically. The portable air conditioner leaks water constantly. Therefore, unlike older units, you don’t have to do anything manually to drain them.

Portable air conditioners with drain hoses come in two varieties:

  1. Measurements of gravity (without the pump). A drain hose can be sent out the window of such a device. The key is to position the external hose such that its lowest point is below the level of the condensation tank inside. The water will drip down without the need for a pump because of the force of gravity.
  2. Condensation pump units. You can’t route the hose as easily as with gravity systems, thus these are installed in lower levels of a home (basement, lower floors, etc.). This means the exterior hose fitting is situated higher than the interior condensation tank. Condensation pumps allow portable air conditioners to compensate for this height differential. This pump drains water from the portable air conditioner’s condensation tank and expels it into the atmosphere, working against gravity. However, portable air conditioners with condensation pumps are less energy efficient than those that rely solely on gravity since they consume additional electricity to power the pumps.

When possible, use a drain line instead of emptying the tank by hand. However, a portable air conditioner should still be drained using an exhaust pipe (#2) instead of a standard drain hose.

How Often Should A Portable Air Conditioner Be Drained?

With either an exhaust line (#2) or a drain hose (#3) connected to the portable air conditioner, there is no need to empty the water from the unit by hand. What you need to do is set it and forget it.

However, if you have an earlier model, you’ll need to either remove the condensation tank or elevate the entire unit to the floor to empty the tank in the bathroom.

What is the recommended maintenance schedule for emptying these portable air conditioners?

Simple. When the water level in the tank rises to the maximum, you must drain the tank. When the tank is full, older versions no longer provide an indicator. In more recent models, a warning light illuminates to let you know when the bucket needs to be emptied.

For older models, tank emptying intervals might range from once every few months to once every few weeks. The answer to this question will vary based on a number of factors, including the level of humidity in the home, the BTU capacity of the unit, the size of the condensation tank for a portable air conditioner, whether or not the unit is operated continually, and so on.

Homeowners in high-humidity regions should empty the portable air conditioner’s water tank every few hours (2 to 8 hours, in general). In other locations, daily or weekly draining of the unit is required.

It’s difficult to theoretically predict how often you’ll need to empty the water from your portable air conditioner. The most reliable method is to simply observe how fast the condensation tank fills up in practice.

There are times when a portable air conditioner is the best option: Despite these drawbacks, portable dehumidifiers have a lot going for them: they’re easy to move around, they remove excess moisture from the air, and they’re affordable. Water must be drained from a partially evaporative air conditioner. How often you need to drain your unit depends on how often you use it and what drainage method you use.

Why Drain Your AC Unit?

In the process of dehumidifying the air, the device collects the moisture that has been produced. Although evaporation removes the majority of the moisture, some may be left behind. In highly humid conditions, the air conditioner may not be able to remove the water from the air fast enough. Water will collect in the unit’s internal water reservoir in this case; draining the reservoir is necessary for proper operation.

When the reservoir is full, the water supply is cut off automatically. When it’s time to empty the water tank, your device will probably provide you a warning. When the device is ready to be used, the water must be drained. An air conditioner can be drained in a few different ways.

Drain It in a Pan

To begin, turn off the power to the device. Make sure you have a pan underneath your unit’s drain port at the back to catch any water that may leak out. Take off the plug and let the device air out. Beware, the water will flow freely once the plug is removed. After the device has finished draining, you should reinsert the drain plug and reconnect the power cord.

Drain It in a Sink or Bathtub

After disconnecting the power cord, carefully transport the machine to the bathroom sink or tub. Avoid spills by taking it easy and maintaining a level trajectory. Keep in mind that your unit’s surface needs to be flush with the surface it is sitting on. After setting up the unit, take out the plug and let the water drain. The drain plug should be replaced, the unit returned to its original placement, and the power cord reconnected once the draining process was complete.

How to Drain a Portable Air Conditioner - The Indoor Haven

Use a Hose

Be sure to consult the user handbook before deciding on the hose option, as it is not available on all air conditioners. Water can be drained using a drain line that is still connected to the unit and slopes downward as it empties. If the air conditioner is installed in a room with a floor drain, like a basement, a drain hose should be used.

Make sure the drain hose is a tight fit over the drain port before you start. It’s possible to use a regular garden hose, but if it doesn’t work, you can get a hose that does at a hardware store. To ensure constant drainage, connect a hose to the unit.

Use a Condensate Pump

Water can be drained without relying on gravity when a condensate pump is hooked into the air conditioner. The pump is equipped with two hoses, one of which leads directly to the air conditioner, while the other has an open end that may be used to drain water. The drained end of the hose can be positioned outside a window. Once condensation in your air conditioner reaches a certain point, a condensate pump will activate and remove it. After the water has been drained, it will switch off by itself.

Bottom Line

Even “no-drain” portable air conditioners need to be emptied sometimes. The key issue is whether or whether this is performed automatically, or if human intervention is required. Drainage systems for portable air conditioners might be one of three types:

  1. In a condensation tank. These older devices still require manual draining every few hours, once a day, or every few days (depending on the humidity levels).
  2. Through a tailpipe or similar exhaust connection. Most individuals would rather have this type of automatic drainage system installed.
  3. By use of a hose that leads to the drain. In addition, the portable air conditioner is fitted with an automatic drainage system.

Overall, you don’t need to worry about how to drain a portable air conditioner or how often portable AC units should be drained if you acquire a newer unit with an exhaust line or drain hose drainage. It’s all hands-off and automatic here.

Hopefully, you have a clearer idea of how the water is removed from these mobile units. You can ask us anything in the comments section if you have any concerns or queries.

Expressing gratitude for your help.