How Often Do You Need To Drain A Portable Air Conditioner?

Has your portable air conditioner ever just stopped working, and you didn’t know why? Or perhaps you’ve noticed water overflowing – yikes!

In this article, I will discuss some of the issues related to water in portable air conditioners and answer some common questions regarding draining portable air conditioners.

Do I Need to Drain My Portable Air Conditioner?

Do all portable air conditioners need to be drained? The short answer is no. Some do, while others don’t.

Not all types of portable air conditioners need to be drained. It depends on the brand, model, and when the AC was made. Most new portable air conditioners vent condensation through an exhaust hose that releases hot air. Some have drain plugs that attach to hoses and require periodic emptying. The newest portable AC models even have self-evaporating features built in.

Draining your unit is an important part of the cleaning process because it can lead to multiple issues. Failing to drain your portable AC may lead to:

  • Portable AC shutting off and not turning on again
  • Mold growing within the unit
  • An overflowing condensation tank

Most modern portable AC units have handy safety features that shut off the unit before the reservoir overflows (they’ve kept my house from disaster). You might hear an alarm or receive a notification that will prevent any spillage or leakage.

Related Article Are Portable ACs Safe?

Does Portable AC Need Draining

How Often Does A Portable AC Need Draining?

The frequency at which you drain your AC depends on the model and humidity of your environment. People in more humid environments generally need to drain them every eight hours, but some can go every 2-4 weeks in a moderate climate to even months in a dry one.

For example, DeLonghi portable air conditioners generally need draining at the end of the season, but those in more humid environments might require more frequent drainage.

These time estimates assume all-day use, like I do since I am working from home. However, using it only occasionally reduces the frequency that you drain the AC.

Many ACs will beep when they need draining. Some will just turn off until you empty them, and others will send you notifications on your smartphone.

What Happens If You Don’t Drain Your Portable AC?

What happens if you don’t drain your portable air conditioner?

Most portable ACs will shut off if their drainage reservoirs become too full to stop them from overflowing. Then, you will have to drain the unit to use it again.

Leaving standing water in the tank can cause bacteria and mold to grow and spread. The microorganisms may lead to health issues, especially for people with allergies or asthma.

If your float switch stops working, the water can overflow. I wouldn’t want that mess in my house! While the AC will not get damaged from an overflowing tank, the spilled water can create a little lake in your home.

Popular Portable ACs: Do They Need to Be Drained?

I hear you interject: but not all portable ACs need draining, so you might wonder if yours needs it? Keep reading to learn about three popular models.

LG Portable Air Conditioners

Do LG portable air conditioners need to be drained?

In the Fan or Cool modes in dryer climates, you might not need to drain at all. LG air conditioners usually operate with some moisture to increase efficiency.

If you run it in dehumidification mode, you will need to install a portable air conditioner water drain hose and place the open end in a floor drain such as a shower. You could also use a shallow pan for drainage.

Toshiba Portable Air Conditioners

Do I need to drain my Toshiba portable air conditioner? Do Toshiba portable ACs need to be drained?

According to the user manual, some Toshiba dehumidifiers and portable ACs require a drainage hose for continuous use. The frequency with which you drain it varies based on the humidity of your home. You will not need to drain it if you do not use the dehumidification features.

Hisense Portable Air Conditioners

If you have a Hisense portable air conditioner, how often do you drain it?

Hisense portable ACs need draining when they stop working. You would either clear the drain tube or bucket once it fills with water.

As with all portable ACs, the frequency depends on the humidity and usage of the dehumidifier component. Consult the user manual for more info.

How to Drain Your Portable Air Conditioner

There are three ways to drain a portable AC.

Simple does it. For me, the simplest method involves draining the water into a pan or tray. You place the pan near the unit’s back at the drainage hub. Sit it under the tank, disconnect the unit from the power source, and unplug the drain. The water should start flowing immediately.

If any water spills from the tray, you can dry the floor with a towel. Ensure you dry the surrounding area to prevent water damage to your home. After the bucket empties, you can plug the drain again and connect it to the power source.

Does a portable AC need a drain hose? Technically, it does not. However, the hose allows for continuous drainage. You can attach a drain hose to the drain plug on your AC and position it at a downward angle.

Use a tight water seal on your drain hose to avoid leakages. Try to find a drain hose designed for your model. You can try a separate brand and use an adapter to make it fit.

I just want to remind you that not all portable ACs can handle a drain hose, and one that does not fit may damage your unit.

A condensate pump can stay connected to your AC for continuous drainage. The pump will turn on and send the water outdoors, so you do not need to position it at a specific angle.

These pumps often have two hoses. One connects to the AC, while the other has an open end to deposit the water outside. This technique will automatically drain your portable AC once it reaches a high-enough level.

How Top Drain Portable AC

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Here are some FAQs about draining portable ACs.

Why is my portable AC producing so much water?

Your portable AC might produce excessive amounts of water if you:

  • Live in a humid area
  • Have a clog in your unit
  • Experience a connection issue to the power source

Can I set up the unit for continuous drainage?

You can add a portable air conditioner continuous drain by attaching a drainage pipe, positioning it downward, and letting water flow out automatically. However, some ACs might get damaged if you attach a pipe, especially if it is an incompatible model.


How often do you need to drain a portable air conditioner?

Depending on the frequency of use, model, and humidity of your area, you may need to drain it every eight hours or once a season. If you attach a drainage hose or pump to your unit, you might not need to drain your AC manually again.

But my personal recommendation is to always consult your manual and add a reminder to your calendar so your portable AC keeps functioning properly.

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with DIY and improving my family home. HVAC topics can be tricky for homeowners so I decided to share my knowledge on the subject. When I am not working on DIY projects, you can find me at the beach or my local coffee shop.