Jeff Flowers on February 24, 2015 41 Comments Having a portable air conditioner won’t do you too much good for very long if you aren’t aware of how best to maintain and care for your unit. Not only does proper maintenance improve the life of your portable air conditioner, it also improves the overall efficiency of your unit. Here are a few useful tips that can help you take better care of your portable air conditioning unit, ensuring that it lasts for many years to come. 1. Pay Attention to Where Your Unit Is Positioned As you’re moving your portable air conditioner from room to room, pay attention to its position. You’ll want to avoid placing it in or near rooms that are dusty or dirty. Those small particles have the potential to coat your unit’s motors and cause them to become clogged. If that ever happens, you may find yourself with mechanical and electrical issues. You’ll also want to exercise caution whenever you place your A/C unit in an especially humid room since you’ll more than likely have to drain the unit in order to deal with all of the excess moisture it absorbs. If you live in a humid area and have to drain your air conditioner often, consider installing a drain tube so that the excess liquid can be transferred into a bucket until you have a chance to empty it. 2. Consider Your Power Source Any circuit you use with your portable air conditioner should be able to supply at least 120VAC so that there’s adequate power to easily start the unit’s fan motors and compressor. If your circuit isn’t up to the job, there’s a chance you might experience a busted fuse or shortage. On a related note, think about purchasing a surge protector in the event that you ever experience a sudden surge of power that could fry your unit. 3. Take Good Care of Your Filters Whenever you buy filters for your air conditioner, read the instructions regarding cleaning and caring for them. Regular cleanings help your filters last longer and clean the air as efficiently as possible. In addition to any extra filters you buy, you should also clean your unit’s pre-filter, which you’ll more than likely find in the upper rear part of the unit. By neglecting to clean the pre-filter, gathered dirt can mix with any moisture on the air conditioner’s evaporator coil and form into a layer of dirt. Eventually, your coil won’t be able to properly transfer heat and will more than likely overheat as a result. Refrain from using detergents or soaps while cleaning your filters since they often lead to clogging and residue. You should also check to see if your unit has a carbon filter. If it does, you’ll want to change it out every three to six months. The rear vents should also be cleaned with a vacuum brush attachment every now and then. 4. Keep Your Exhaust Hose Straight You’ll want to be sure that your exhaust hose is as straight and short as possible whenever you’re using your portable air conditioner. Doing so will help prevent moisture from gathering inside the hose which may eventually trickle back into the unit. If this happens, it may lead to damage or shorter life of the appliance. Even if you do keep your exhaust straight and short, it’s still a good idea to check it every once in awhile to make sure there is not any excess moisture gathering inside. Taking a few minutes to check this could potentially add years to the life of the device. 5. Store Your Air Conditioner the Right Way If you don’t plan on using your unit year-round, be sure you store it correctly. The first thing you’ll want to do is fully drain any moisture gathered inside of the unit. Switch the unit on the high speed “fan only” setting for two hours or so in order to ensure the interior is as dry as possible. You can also drape a plastic sheet over your air conditioner to keep it safe from gathering dirt and dust. Place your unit in a dry, cool place when you aren’t using it. Finally, it’s not recommended that you store your A/C unit in an attic or garage. It’s better to keep it in a storage closet or anywhere else where it won’t be exposed to excessive heat or cold. 6. Keep the Exterior Clean Whenever you’re dusting and cleaning up around your house, don’t forget about your portable air conditioning unit. Turn off the unit and use a clean, damp cloth to wipe off the exterior. It’s best that you only use the cloth and avoid chemicals and detergents since they can be abrasive and possibly damage the exterior of your unit. You can also protect the exterior of your unit by keeping it out of direct sunlight so that the surface doesn’t shift colors. 7. Consider Professional Maintenance Whenever you have your home’s HVAC unit serviced, you may want to ask the service technician to take a look at your portable air conditioner. While the maintenance tips on this list are great for basic care, some issues may require the professional touch of an experienced HVAC technician. There could be some problems you aren’t even aware your portable unit is having, problems that can become more expensive over time or cause unnecessary wear and tear on your unit. Let a technician take a look and see how good of a job you’re doing of caring for and maintaining your air conditioner. 8. Clean the Condenser Coils By keeping the condenser coils free of grime, dirt and grease, they work more efficiently. Take a look at your portable unit’s coils every now and then. If they’re looking especially grubby, use a store-bought coil-cleaner to restore them to their natural state. Alternatively, you can use an acidic solution made from a combination of water and either lemon juice or vinegar. Spray the mixture onto the coils and let it sit for a few minutes to take care of dust and debris. While your portable air conditioner may not be the most expensive appliance in your home, it can easily be one of the most useful and save you lots of money when used regularly. Keep your home cool and your unit in great condition by taking out some time every now and then to take care of your portable unit.