How to Drain Water From a Portable AC Unit

There’s more than one way to stay cool in summer. Try a portable AC unit.

Air conditioners cool the air by removing moisture. The moisture collects on a part of the air conditioner called the condenser. In a permanently installed AC unit, this water then drains outside through a pipe. Portable AC units, however, are frequently moved, so a permanent pipe doesn’t work. Note that many newer portable air conditioning units have auto-evaporate technology. In these units, the water is heated and evaporated into the exhaust vent, and you don’t need to drain anything. If you have an older unit, you can drain water from it in several ways, depending on which model you have.

Step 1 – Connect the exhaust vent or drain to an outside window. In this type of draining system, the water collected by the unit is pumped out through a drain and into a drain vent, which sends it outside. Many units come complete with a window vent box that is set up next to the unit. Installation is fairly simple: Plug the portable AC unit in, connect the vent, open the window, place the vent exhaust and frame in the window, then close the window.

Step 2 – Empty the condensation container outside. Some units collect the condensation in a container stored inside the unit. To drain water from this model of portable air conditioner, open the back or the side panel where the container is stored. Remove the condensation container, then empty it into a sink or outside. Replace the container.

Step 3 – Remove the drain plug and allow the unit to drain. Lower-end models collect the condensation inside but don’t have a container that you can remove to drain it. If you have this type of portable AC unit, you must take the unit outside and remove the drain plug. Allow the water inside to run out, then replace the plug.

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