Using a portable air conditioner is a great way to beat the heat during those long summer days. They’re compact, easy to install, and energy-efficient. But many new owners are surprised to find a large exhaust vent hose included in the box. That might be because they’re often not shown in the pictures used in advertising. Then they hear about ventless portable air conditioners and wonder if they could somehow keep the room cool without the bulky exhaust hose. So are there portable air conditioners without exhaust? That’s precisely the question we’ll try to tackle in this article.
How Portable Air Conditioners Work
You’re probably interested in taking the exhaust vent out of the equation because it’s inconvenient to find a window for it, especially when you want to move the portable air conditioner from one room to another.
Much like all air conditioners, these portable units pull warm air from the room and run it through a cooling system that uses refrigerant to soak up the heat. Many people think that the refrigerant cools the air, however that’s not the case. It actually absorbs the heat and condenses the humidity that turns into drops of water through a condenser coil.
The air that carries the heat away from that condenser coil has to go somewhere, so it’s taken out through the vent into an exhaust hose and out the window. If you don’t stick the exhaust hose out a window, the hot air will stay inside the room with you, preventing it from cooling down.
You could technically stand in front of the unit so you can enjoy the cool air coming out, but the room won’t get cooler. It would be like trying to fill your tub with cold water while pouring hot water in it at the same time. You’d still feel cold water in the area where it’s being poured into the tub, but the rest wouldn’t be as cold.
Once you understand how portable air conditioners work, it’s easy to see why you need to use the exhaust hose. An alternative would be to use the ventless portable air conditioners we mentioned earlier, but they’re not really air conditioners, as we’ll explain in the following section.
How Ventless Portable Air Conditioners Work
If you’re searching for a portable air conditioner without the window exhaust hose, what you need is an evaporative air cooler, also called a swamp cooler. As we said before, they’re not really air conditioners. They basically cool the air by evaporating water into it.
How it works is that you first fill a tank with water. Some models allow you to add ice so that the air can cool down faster, while others have the option of connecting a water hose or a line so you don’t have to keep filling the tank. The water is used to wet an absorbent material inside the device through wicking or a pump. There’s a fan that pulls in hot air from the room and passes it through the wet material. As the hot air passes through the wet material, it causes evaporation, and the air is cooled and released back into the room. It’s similar to what happens when you get out of a poor or the shower. The dry air causes the moisture in your skin to evaporate, taking away heat with it. As a result, your skin feels cool, even a bit chilly.
Evaporative air coolers don’t cool down a room as much as a regular AC unit, but they can be pretty effective in the right climate. Additionally, they use less electricity because there are no compressors.
They’re ideal for arid and semi-arid climates because the cool air it releases is in the form of vapors, so to avoid turning your room into a muggy swamp, it’s better to keep a window or a door open so the humid air has somewhere to escape.
However, keep in mind that in a humid climate, an evaporative air cooler has limited value. In some cases, it might not be a whole lot better than simply using a fan. Since there will already be a lot of moisture in the air, you can just point the fan in your direction, which will cause the moisture on your skin to evaporate and you’ll feel cooler.