Troubleshooting Your Portable Air Conditioner: How to Address Common PAC Issues (Part 1)

Troubleshooting Your Portable Air Conditioner: How to Address Common PAC Issues (Part 1)

A portable air conditioner (PAC) is one of the best cooling solutions for the coming summer months, providing powerful, refreshing relief on even the hottest days. As with any appliance, there may be times you run into roadblocks when operating your PAC and you need a little guidance to get it running in tip-top shape again. Read on for quick fixes to some of the most common portable AC troubleshooting questions.


What should I do if the window bracket doesn’t fit my window?
  • If the window adapter is too long for the length of your window, you can bring the adapter to your local hardware store so they can cut it to the appropriate length.
  • If the window adapter is too tall and/or the hose diameter is too large for your window, you won’t be able to adjust the adapter height or hose diameter, but you can cut a Plexiglas piece to fit the hose. Secure the Plexiglas over your window and put the exhaust hose through the cut-out hole.
What can I do if the exhaust hose is too short?
  • You shouldn’t lengthen your exhaust hose as it could cause damage to your portable room air conditioner.
  • Instead, if you find the hose can’t reach from your PAC to the window bracket, you can place the unit on a platform so the hose can sufficiently reach the window.


What should I do if the portable air conditioner won’t turn on?
  • Make sure electricity is flowing to your portable AC.
  • Check that the power cord isn’t damaged and that it’s plugged in correctly. If there doesn’t appear to be a problem with the cord, try plugging into a different outlet or resetting the circuit breaker.
  • If you’re trying to turn on your portable AC with a remote control, change the remote batteries.
Why does the portable air conditioner run, but only for a little while?
  • Did you accidentally leave the timer on? Double check as an active timer could be turning the unit off when you still want it running.
  • It’s possible the temperature setting is too close to the current room temperature.
  • Lower the set temperature on your PAC. Alternatively, you can shut down the unit and wait for the room temperature to rise again before turning the unit back on.
  • The hose could be improperly connected, so try securely reattaching it.
  • Tight bends in the hose might be impeding airflow. See the diagram below for proper hose positioning.

Proper hose positioning for a portable air conditioner

 The portable air conditioner is running, so why isn’t the room cooling down?
  • Open doors or windows could be letting cool air escape, offsetting any cooling produced by your portable AC.
  • The hose might be overextended.
  • If the hose is too long, it won’t be able to vent hot air efficiently. Contract the hose to the shortest length possible that still allows you to reach from the unit to the window.
  • The portable bedroom air conditioner’s temperature could be set too high, in which case you need to reduce the temperature setting.
  • A dirty dust filter could be affecting your PAC’s function.
  • Remove the grill from the frame, tapping lightly to remove any dust and rinsing afterward with warm water and a mild detergent.

Portable air conditioner dust filter cleaning

  • A blocked air outlet or intake could be causing the trouble.
  • Check that the outlet/intake is free from blockage by furniture or any other objects that could be in their way.
  • In rooms with large or multiple windows, sunlight streaming in can decrease the portable AC’s cooling effectiveness.
  • Cover windows with curtains or blinds to solve this issue.
  • Your PAC might not produce adequate BTUs to cool the size of your room.
  • Review the diagram below to see if you need to upgrade to a unit with a higher BTU output. The number of windows and people in the room should also be factored in when assessing the BTUs required to cool your space (more windows/people mean more BTUs).

Choose the right portable air conditioner for your house


Remember that when facing performance issues with your portable cooler air conditioner, your number one resource is the unit’s user manual. You should contact the manufacturer’s customer service department if you have any other questions.

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