Can You Lay A Portable AC On It’s Side? (Solved)

Laying a portable air conditioner on its side may seem like a simple and convenient way to save space when not in use. But can you lay a portable AC on its side without damaging it? Keep reading to find out the answer to this simple question.

Can you transport a portable air conditioner on its side? No, do not transport a portable AC on its side. By doing so, you can damage the unit. If you must transport your portable AC on its side, place it in an upright position as soon as possible. Leave the air conditioner unplugged for at least 24 hours before use.

If you’re wondering, “Can you lay down a portable air conditioner,” we have your answer. Never place a portable AC on its side during use. The only time you should ever put a portable air conditioner on its side is if it is necessary to transport the unit. Placing a portable AC on its side can cause oil leakage, resulting in permanent damage to the compressor.

What happens when you lay a portable air conditioner on its side? Portable air conditioners are for a standing position during operation. We should never place them on their side, back, or tilted during use. Failure to sit them in an upright position can cause damage to the internal fixtures of the air conditioner.

How Long Can A Portable AC Lay On Its Side? (If Necessary)

Keeping your portable air conditioner in an upright position is always recommended. Even placing a portable AC briefly on its side can still cause damage to the internal parts of the air conditioner.

If a portable air conditioner lies on its side for too long, it can lead to many problems for the unit, including damage to the compressor, compressor mountings, and oil spills.

If a portable AC has been on its side, you must wait at least 24 hours before plugging it back in and turning the air conditioner back on. This procedure will allow oil to redistribute into the compressor before turning the unit back on and hopefully prevent further damage to the portable air conditioner.

Portable AC’s Proper Position (Moving/Transporting & Storing Position)

When choosing the best mode of transportation for your portable AC, consider using a truck or a van with ample space to ensure the unit stands upright during the moving process. By doing so, you will reduce the chances of your air conditioner getting damaged during the move.

Store your portable AC indoors in a clean, dry location such as a closet in the spare room, or the basement during the winter months. Securely storing your unit will prevent damage, such as getting chewed by rodents or getting knocked over while in storage.

It is always best to place your portable air conditioner in an upright position when not in use. This will keep your portable AC unit in proper working condition and prevent damage caused by improper storage.

Potential Problems May Occur If You Lay A Portable AC On Its Side

Can portable AC units be laid down? Portable air conditioners should always be kept in an upright position to prevent damage to essential parts of the air conditioner.

The Compressor

When an AC unit is placed on its side, oil runs out of the compressor, which can cause it to stop working. The compressor is a vital part of an air conditioner that distributes refrigerant through the coils of the unit, and vents cold air throughout the room while releasing the hot air outside. If the compressor is damaged, the portable air conditioning unit will stop cooling or not work properly (if at all).

Inability To Condensate

A portable air conditioner dehumidifies the air by allowing condensation to drip down into the condensation pan at the bottom of the unit. If the air conditioner is turned on its side, the condensation will not drain properly into the holding unit. Instead, water might run onto other parts of the portable air conditioner or the floor of your house, causing considerable damage.

Common Portable AC Questions

How long does it take for the refrigerant on a portable AC to settle?

It takes between 15 to 30 minutes for the refrigerant to settle on a portable AC.

How long does a portable AC need to be upright?

A portable AC should sit for at least 30 minutes upright after transportation to ensure all fluids have had a chance to settle.

How do you move the portable AC upstairs?

If the unit is too heavy for one person to carry, have someone help you carry it upstairs. Remember to always keep the air conditioner upright during transportation.


A portable air conditioner can be a valuable investment to keep your house cool during the summer months for years to come. The most important thing you can do to keep your investment in tip-top shape is to make sure you keep it in an upright position at all times.

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Josh Mitchell


Josh Mitchell
My name is Josh and I am obsessed with home appliances. From portable AC units to heaters and air purifiers, I enjoy testing, learning and using these devices to improve the air quality inside my family home.

My Favorite Home Appliance?

Midea U Shaped Window Air Conditioner

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