Portable air conditioners can help heat or cool any room and keep the room comfortable for you and your family. But you may wonder how using the unit may change when you are heating the room compared to cooling it.
You have to vent your portable air conditioner in heat mode, just like you would vent it in cool mode. Your unit will push warm air out from the front and blow cooler air out of the back. The vent hose needs to push out unwanted cool air. So, you need to vent it.
Let’s talk more about venting a portable air conditioner in heat mode and how you can do it safely and effectively in your home.
Why Do You Need to Vent a Portable AC Unit in Heat Mode?
A portable AC unit in heat mode works the opposite way as the same unit in cool mode. So, let’s start by covering how the unit works to cool a room. In cool mode, the unit starts by pulling air from the room you are in through the vents on the side of the unit.
Once the air is inside the unit, coils start to lower the air temperature. Then, the refrigerant finishes cooling down the air and produces its own heat. If your AC Unit doesn’t vent, the hot air created by the refrigerant would raise the room’s temperature, counteracting the refrigerant’s effects altogether.
With this said, let’s talk about how it works with heating. During heat mode, the AC unit still produces cool air the same way as in cool mode, with one difference. Now, the direction of the air changes. So, the cool air that the refrigerant produces goes out the back instead of out of the front of the unit.
The warm air that you get from heat mode comes from the refrigerant working to cool the air. However, the AC unit pushes the cool air out of the hose and allows the warm air to enter the room instead. So, venting is still a vital part of the process, even in heat mode, as the cold air needs to escape just like the warm air in cool mode.
Read: Portable AC Is Making Noise? Here Is Why
How Can You Vent a Portable AC Unit?
There are a few different ways that you can vent your portable AC unit to ensure that your room stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The best way to ensure that your unit can vent properly is to allow the air to flow outside instead of inside, but we’ll provide some alternative methods if that’s not an option.
The Window Method
This is probably the most common way that people prefer to ventilate their portable AC unit. Using a window lets minimal air into your home while allowing air from the AC unit vent to reach the outside. This is more practical than using a door or something larger that would let more air inside.
With a window, you can open it just enough to fit the vent outside. You need to be careful with doing this if your windows do not easily stay open. If the window were to close accidentally, this could allow that air to flow into your room, affecting the temperature.
Also, this can be risky if you prefer to put the hose outside through the window. If your window does not stay up, you risk the window falling and damaging the hose. So, remember to prop your window open with something a little more solid if you want the hose all the way out of the window.
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Read: Which Is Better, A Portable Air Conditioner Or A Window Unit AC?
Through the Wall
If the window method is impossible for whatever reason, you may want to consider this method instead. You can either use a vent already installed in the wall or DIY your own vent. Either way, the goal is to push the unwanted air from the room through the wall instead of out the window.
To do this, you can connect the hose to a vent already in place for expelling unwanted air from your home. Sometimes these lead outside, but they may also lead to other areas of your home, like the garage or laundry room.
Just make sure you know where your air is going, as you don’t want to send the unwanted air to another room in the house and affect the temperature of that room.
If you don’t already have a vent in a place where you want the AC unit, then you may have to install your own or hire a professional to do it for you.
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If you don’t have a window available and don’t want to put a hole in your wall, we recommend using a sliding door. This is a great option because there is usually a screen door to prevent any animals from getting in and any pets or small children from getting out while you have it open.
Of course, a sliding door will let more air into your home than an open window. This is still an option for you, but on those particularly cold or warm days, you may want to find another method, as that air can easily enter your home.
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How Long Is the Hose for a Portable AC Unit?
Though the length of the hose on each portable air conditioner will vary based on the manufacturer, they are typically four to seven feet. You will need to check with the manufacturer you plan to buy from to determine how long the hose will be.
The length of the hose in a portable AC unit is a very important factor to consider before purchasing it while you are trying to determine where you should put it. The hose of an AC unit is what pushes out the cold air from inside your home to the outside and is, therefore, essential for ventilation.
The length of the hose will determine where you can place the unit for proper temperature management and venting. We recommend planning where you want to place the unit before purchasing it so you can also identify the length of the hose you need.
Sometimes, the hose may not be long enough for what you need. In this case, you may need to return or exchange the unit for another one with a longer one. You can even consider buying an additional hose of the correct length.
Venting the portable AC unit may be challenging depending on the layout of your home, placement options available, and the length of hose of the AC Units available to you. If you want to know more about whether or not a portable air conditioner is right for you and your home, check out our article “Is It Worth Buying a Portable Air Conditioner.”
It is important to remember to vent your portable AC unit whether you are using it for cooling or heat. A lack of proper ventilation may make the entire unit useless, and the cold and warm air will mix together.
We discussed some venting methods above, but remember that venting is something you should figure out before you decide to purchase the unit. You need to ensure that the length of the AC Unit’s hose is sufficient to ensure proper ventilation.