Portable Air Conditioner FAQs
How can I figure out the correct portable air conditioner for my room size?
The most important consideration is the unit’s BTU (British Therma Unit) rating. The larger the room, the higher the BTU requirement. Below are some general guidelines:
Square Footage BTU Rating (ASHRAE)
250-350 -> 8,000
350-450 -> 10,000
550-700 -> 14,000
Remember to consider factors that can affect the number of BTUs required to cool your space, including number of windows, level of insulation, presence of heat-producing appliances, ceiling height, and number of people occupying the space.
What is a portable air conditioner?
A portable air conditioner is an air conditioner that is designed to cool a dedicated area as opposed to an entire building (like central ACs do). They are ideal for cooling a single room such as a bedroom, living room, office, or studio apartment. Portable ACs sit on wheels for easy portability. Honeywell Portable Air Conditioners come with a convenient window kit and exhaust hose that can be quickly installed in your window or door (door may need extra door extension kit).
My unit was delivered with a broken package and/or missing parts. What do I do?
We are sorry this has happened. Honeywell Air Comfort products are packaged with ISTA-6 or ISTA-3 certified packaging made to support typical delivery. Units may get damaged during the delivery process, which is out of the manufacturer’s control. Please first contact the retailer where you purchased the unit, and they should be able to help you with an exchange. If further issues persist, please contact our Customer Support Center.
What is Proposition 65? Should I be concerned about it?
Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. These chemicals can be in the products that Californians purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. By requiring that this information be provided, Proposition 65 enables Californians to make informed decisions about their exposures to these chemicals.
Placed upon appliances to disclose the presence of any of nearly 800 chemicals used in manufacturing, this label is mandated by a law passed in the state of California (California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986), more generally referred to as “Proposition 65.”
Simply put, the warning means that the product may contain any of the 800-plus chemicals that the state of California considers harmful. It does not mean that products thus labeled are necessarily harmful or built in violation of any safety standard, but it is an added warning required by law for manufacturers to disclose if any trace amount exists in their product. You can be assured that all Honeywell Air Comfort products are manufactured to all required regulatory approvals for safe consumer use in the United States. You can find more information at this website: https://www.p65warnings.ca.gov/
What is the difference between a single-hose and dual-hose portable air conditioner?
The main difference is the way the exhaust hoses operate on a single- versus dual-hose configuration. In a single-hose portable AC, warm air is pulled from the room, runs through the AC compressor and refrigerant system to cool down, and the heated air and moisture is exhausted through the hose outside.
Dual-hose portable air conditioners have two separate exhaust hoses. One draws air in from the outside while the second hose expels the heated air and moisture outside. This dual hose system prevents cool air produced by the AC from being exhausted out of the room, a situation that can occur with single-hose portable ACs, making single-hose ACs less efficient at cooling a room.
Single-hose portable air conditioners are lower cost to purchase and still an effective option for smaller rooms with good insulation and fewer warm appliances. For larger rooms and more demanding cooling situations, a dual-hose portable air conditioner may be the preferred choice as they generally cool faster and more efficiently than their single-hose counterparts. Please note that when you buy a dual-hose portable AC, it can easily be modified to be a single-hose unit (by removing one of the hoses) for less-demanding room environments.
Are portable air conditioners noisy? How can I make my portable air conditioner more quiet?
While some units produce over 60 decibels—the sound level of a busy office—many models produce as little as 52 decibels, the same amount as a normal conversation. If you would like to decrease the sound coming from your portable AC, first try placing the unit on a level floor. If you have made sure the floor beneath the unit is flat but you would still like to make it quieter, you can put a small, low-pile rug underneath.
Do portable air conditioners consume a lot of energy?
Air conditioners, including portable air conditioners, are complex machines and heavy power users. However, energy savings can lie in your usage of the technology. Choosing to cool down a single room with a portable air conditioner rather than switching on whole-house central air could result in significant cost savings.
What’s the difference between a portable air conditioner and other types of air conditioners?
The basic difference between a portable air conditioner and other types of air conditioners is that portable ACs do not require permanent installation and can be moved from one room to the other. Portable ACs can be a less costly investment compared with window ACs as you can purchase one instead of needing multiple units for each room. Window ACs are also fixed and cannot be moved, so there is no flexibility in using them to cool different rooms.
Compared to central air conditioning, portable ACs help save energy as you can cool only the rooms you need, whereas central air conditioning is set up to cool an entire home or building. Central AC is also a much more costly investment to purchase and install compared to portable ACs.
What are portable air conditioner energy efficiency ratings?
The two most commonly used energy efficiency ratings for portable air conditioners are the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) and the Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio (CEER):
- The EER rating is the ratio of the unit’s cooling capacity to its power consumption. The higher a portable AC’s EER rating, the lower your electricity costs will be for the same amount of cooling.
- The CEER rating is the ratio of the unit’s cooling capacity to its power consumption while in use combined with its standby/off-mode power consumption. It combines a portable AC’s power output during performance with the energy it uses when it is not operating. As with EER ratings, the higher the number, the more efficient the air conditioner is.
What do I need to know about portable air conditioner energy consumption?
Air conditioning units demand a lot of energy, so they should not be paired on the same electrical outlet with other similar high-consumption devices. Always plug the unit into an available electrical outlet. Never use an extension cord to power your portable air conditioner.
Why does the portable air conditioner run, but only for a little while?
- Double check that you have not left the timer on.
- It is possible the temperature setting is too close to the current room temperature. Lower the set temperature on your portable air conditioner. You can also shut down the unit and wait for the room temperature to rise again before turning the unit back on.
- Try securely reattaching the exhaust hose. Tight bends in the hose might also be impeding airflow.
My portable air conditioner’s remote control comes with an LCD display, but the display does not light up.
The LCD display included on select models of Honeywell Portable Air Conditioners allows you to view and change settings from across the room. The LCD display does not light up on current models with this feature, but we are reviewing feedback from customers and looking into adding a back light to newer models under development.
For models with heat pumps: Why does the unit keep shutting off in heating mode?
The room is likely too humid, meaning the water tank needs to be emptied. In a more humid room, the tank fills faster and needs to be emptied more frequently. It is recommended to use the heating mode in 50% humidity or less.
Why is there a musty smell coming from my portable air conditioner?
It is possible that mold or mildew has started to grow in your portable AC’s water tank. Drain the water from the tank, then clean it out with warm water and a mild detergent. Rinse the tank with clean water, drain it again, and refill.
The condensate drain line could also have algae or mold growth. First, empty the water tank. Then, remove the drain line by slowly pulling it off the drain spout. Clean the line by running water through it to remove any built-up grime.
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 is not damaged and that it is plugged in correctly.
- If there does not appear to be a problem with the cord, try plugging into a different outlet or resetting the circuit breaker.
- If you are trying to turn on your portable AC with a remote control, change the remote batteries.
For models with heat pumps: Why isn’t the heater switching on?
The heating function might not be activated if the ambient temperature is too high. Heating is activated below 44-81°F, so make sure the temperature in the room is below this threshold.
What is the best place in my house for a portable air conditioner?
The best part about buying a portable air conditioner is that it can be used nearly anywhere in your home. All you need is a power outlet and a nearby window to expel warm air in cooling mode (or cool air in heating mode) outside the house. Just follow the instructions to install the window kit, and you will be set in no time. Keep in mind that the adjustable temperature range for the cooling mode is between 61°F and 89°F (16°C and 32°C).
How do I install a portable air conditioner onto different kinds of windows?
- To fit a vertical sliding window, insert the window bracket onto the windowsill, extending the bracket to the length of the windowpane and lowering the window onto the bracket.
- To fit a horizontal sliding window, position the window bracket vertically with the exhaust hose opening at the bottom, sliding the window to seal the gap.
- To fit a casement window that pushes outward, you can purchase a seal kit, which seals around the window and zips around the exhaust hose to prevent hot air from returning into the room.
- To fit a sliding door, you can purchase a special sliding door kit which extends the length of the door.
What is required to set up a portable air conditioner?
Honeywell Portable Air Conditioners come with a window kit that allows you to easily install the window parts, including the exhaust hose that funnels warm air outside in cooling mode and cool air outside in heating* mode. To install the portable AC in a wall, it is important to purchase a model with the special wall kit that is included in some models.**
*Only applicable to Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner models with Heating mode. **Available in select countries only.
How long is the exhaust hose? Can I extend the exhaust hose if it’s too short?
The exhaust hose can stretch to a maximum of about 4 feet (120 cm) in length. You need to free up at least 20 inches (50 cm) near the window in order to install the air conditioner properly. Do not lengthen the exhaust hose of your portable AC. Lengthening the hose increases the load of the unit’s blower by prohibiting the air from exhausting properly. This affects the cooling ability of the unit, reducing the life of the blower and possibly causing the unit to malfunction.
Any warranties included with the portable air conditioner may be voided if an extra extension hose or other connection part is added to the originally provided installation kit or if the installation is performed differently than the manufacturer’s instructions. If you find that the exhaust hose does not reach from the unit to the window bracket, place your portable AC onto a sturdy platform so the hose reaches the window.
What should I do if the window bracket doesn’t fit my window?
If the window adapter is too long for window length, 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, cut a Plexiglas piece to fit the hose. Secure the Plexiglas over your window and put the exhaust hose through the cut-out hole.
Are there any restrictions for how I place my portable air conditioner?
Your portable AC must be connected by the 4-foot exhaust hose to a window or door. The exhaust hose can neither be too tightly extended nor too tightly coiled, so you need to place the unit within a 20” to 40” distance from your venting outlet. As with any air circulation unit, avoid tightly enclosed spaces to ensure effective airflow.
What is the typical maintenance routine for a portable air conditioner?
Routine cleaning is an excellent way to prolong the life of your portable air conditioner. Periodically wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth so it does not accumulate dirt or grime. Weekly, remove and empty out the internal condensation collection tank, rinse, and wipe down to prevent any buildup of bacteria. Portable air conditioners are usually equipped with dust filters or active carbon filters. Depending on the model, these may be washable in warm water or may need to be replaced seasonally.
What is the typical operation routine for a portable air conditioner?
Once your portable air conditioner is connected to your window, you can simply plug and play. Different models will have control options, like multiple fan speeds, timers, fan-only mode, or dehumidifier mode. Drainage will depend on your model, too—some require manual drainage while others have an auto evaporative hose.
What added benefits does my portable air conditioner offer?
Portable air conditioners are handy, easy-to-use devices that can be moved from one place to the other with ease. A portable air conditioner will naturally reduce humidity indoors, which is perfect for hot, humid summer weather. An additional fan mode can help circulate air throughout the room even when you have turned off cooling.
Will my air conditioner work in all seasons? Is there an option of a heating mode?
Yes, some models of Honeywell Portable Air Conditioners are equipped with a heat pump, allowing you to use your air conditioner year-round – even during the winter. The heat pump reverses the cycle of air so that cold air is expelled outside through the window exhaust hose while warm air is pumped into your room. The adjustable temperature range for the heating mode is between 61°F and 77°F (16°C and 25°C).
It is important to note that a heat pump is different from an electric heater. Heat pumps become less effective as the ambient temperature becomes colder. Portable ACs that have a heat pump function are recommended for use as a heater only when ambient room temperatures are 50°F (10°C) or warmer. Therefore, they are not recommended as the main heating unit in rooms located in colder, more northern cities. However, in rooms with less extreme cold temperatures, they make a great heating companion and consume less electricity than conventional electric heaters.
Does the air vent swing?
The MN, MM, and HL Series Portable Air Conditioners have air vents that can be manually adjusted to your desired angle but do not automatically swing. If you prefer a unit that has automatic swing, we suggest you choose the HF Series Portable Air Conditioners (HF08CESWK/ HF10CESWK/HF08CESVWK/HF10CESVWK).
My portable air conditioner is running, so why isn’t the room cooling down?
- Make sure the unit’s BTU is appropriate for the space’s square footage and ceiling height.
- Open doors/windows could be letting cool air escape, offsetting any cooling produced by your portable AC.
- The hose might be overextended. Contract the hose to the shortest possible length that still allows you to reach from the unit to the window.
- The portable air conditioner’s temperature could be set too high. Reduce the temperature setting.
- If the dust filter is dirty, remove the grill from the frame, tapping lightly to remove any dust and rinsing afterward with warm water and a mild detergent.
- Check to make sure nothing is blocking the air outlet/inlet.
- Cover windows that might be allowing sunlight to stream in, decreasing your portable AC’s cooling effectiveness.
How can I improve the performance of my portable air conditioner?
Several factors can affect the performance of your portable air conditioner. Foremost is whether your unit’s BTU is suitable for your space. An inadequate BTU will not result in cooling. Other factors can affect performance, too: rooms with large open doorways or within open-plan spaces; rooms with poor insulation or high ceilings; and south-facing rooms with copious direct sunlight. If any of these are the case, see if you can tighten up the insulation and overall boundaries, and add light-colored window coverings. Another factor is room occupancy. Crowded rooms will be hotter and require a more powerful unit to cool down.
Can a portable air conditioner cool more than one room?
A portable air conditioner is designed to cool one room efficiently, and the room size depends on the BTU cooling capacity. If you need cooling in another room, you can try adding a fan to help circulate the air into other rooms. However, this may reduce the cooling effect in the original room as the cooled air must be spread across a larger area that may be bigger than it was designed for.
What is the purpose of the exhaust hose for a portable air conditioner?
The included exhaust hose attaches to the back of the portable AC, allowing the condensed hot air in cooling mode (or cool air in heating* mode) from inside the air conditioner to be vented outside. It is important to ensure that any gaps or holes between the hose and the unit/the hose and the window are covered securely to ensure no warm air (in cooling mode, or cool air in heating* ode) leaks into the room.
*Only applicable to Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner models with heating mode.
Are portable air conditioners only beneficial during the summer season?
Depending on the model, portable air conditioners can also convert into dehumidifiers, extracting humidity without the cooling feature. This can be useful in the colder, wetter seasons if your space is prone to mold or mildew. Some Honeywell models are also equipped with a heating element, transforming the unit into a secondary heating source for winter.
How can I drain my portable air conditioner?
The humidity level of the air in your room will determine how often your portable AC needs to be drained. While all portable air conditioners require drainage on a regular basis, they differ on which method they use for drainage:
- Manual bucket drainage – Detachable tank can be removed and emptied; alternatively, built-in tank has hole through which water can be released
- Drain hose – Hose can be placed out of window or into bucket to drain condensate, sometimes with an internal pump that lets tank be emptied vertically/horizontally
- Automatic evaporation – Moisture is automatically drained via exhaust hose
Even with units featuring auto evaporation, manual drainage might be necessary in a high-humidity environment.
Why does my portable air conditioner need to be drained?
When condensation builds up inside the portable AC’s tank without being drained, water can overflow and leak out of the unit. As with any moist environment, the tank filled with stagnant water can also become a breeding ground for mold.
Why does my portable air conditioner collect condensation?
As your portable AC cools the room, it extracts moisture, or water vapor, from the air. This moisture condenses as water in a tank inside the unit. The portable air conditioner then releases cold, dehumidified air to be circulated about the room.
Does my portable air conditioner need to be vented?
Portable air conditioners extract hot air from the room, and if you want to effectively cool your space, this hot air needs to be released outside via an exhaust hose. While portable ACs can be vented through a door, wall, or ceiling, they are most frequently vented through windows.
While it is not unsafe to run your portable AC without venting, it is counterproductive. You should only operate it without an exhaust hose in dehumidifier mode; however, this will only heat the room up, not cool it down.
Can I use a portable air conditioner in a room without a window?
No, the heat needs a way to exit the room. If the unit does not release the heat, it becomes equivalent to a fan, recirculating the same hot air around. That’s why venting is necessary: The exhaust hose is removing heat so that your space becomes cool.
Can I leave the window screen in when I install my portable air conditioner?
The screen might not interfere with installation, but to better release hot air out the window, it is preferable to remove the screen.
Can I vent the portable air conditioner through a sliding door?
Yes, you can vent your portable air conditioner out of a sliding door. You will need to purchase a window kit accessory designed for this greater width.
How does a portable air conditioner vent to the outdoors?
Your Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner arrives with an exhaust hose and a window kit. The exhaust hose is approximately 4 feet long and extends from the back of your unit to a window or sliding door. The window kit contains a sliding panel that can be extended or trimmed to fit your window opening. Our standard window kit is sized to fit window frames up to 49.6” and can be used in horizontal sliding windows or single- and double-hung windows. A sliding door accessory can be purchased separately, enabling your portable AC to be connected to a sliding doorway.
Can I vent my portable air conditioner into another room?
The exhaust hose extracts the heat from your current room to the outdoors. Technically, you could exhaust the hose into an adjoining room; however, that room will accumulate all the heat that is being extracted.