The portable air conditioner is one of the convenience appliances you can’t afford to live without, especially on hot summer days. If the portable AC is not cooling efficiently, it will be a frustrating experience.
You will need to fix this problem quickly to enjoy your activities, so I can understand if you are searching for a fix that doesn’t require hiring a technician.
This is why in this article, I will help you know why your portable AC is not cooling. In addition, I will explain how to solve each cause without needing a technician.
Why is your Portable AC Not Cooling?
The portable AC can be blowing air, but it’s not cold; it can be blowing cold air, but it’s not enough, or it won’t start at all. All these problems can be due to several reasons, and I will go through them all in the following troubleshooting steps:
1- Wrong AC mode Settings
If the air conditioner is blowing air, but the air is not cold, this can be due to the wrong AC mode settings. On your portable air conditioner, you will find three modes: “Fan Mode,” “Dry Mode,” and “Cold Mode.”
If your air conditioner is set to either “Dry” or “Fan” modes, it will blow air but not cold. So, to make your AC blow cold air, you must set it to “Cold” mode.
2- High Thermostat Temperature
Another reason why your portable unit is blowing hot or not cold air is the high thermostat temperature. The thermostat’s temperature has to be lower than the room’s temperature.
For example, if the room temperature is 80 degrees, the thermostat has to be less than 80 degrees to cool the room. If the temperature of the AC is set to higher than or to 80 degrees, the AC won’t cool.
3- Open Windows and Doors
If the portable conditioner is blowing cold air, but the room is not cool, you might have left a door or a window open. When there is a window or a door open, it allows warm air to enter the room.
Warm air will prevent your air conditioner from cooling the room even if you try to lower the AC temperature settings. Any small gaps or spaces that provide a path for warm air will make it hard for your AC to cool the room.
4- Indoor or Leaky Exhaust Hose
The exhaust hose gets the warm air your air conditioner removes outside your house. If the exhaust is indoor or leaky, the warm air inside makes it impossible for your AC to cool the room efficiently.
Even if the exhaust hose is outside, it can be obstructed, making the hot air flow back inside your space. A tree, leaves, or debris can obstruct the exhaust hose.
5- Too Many Heat Sources
If there are too many heat sources, it will be hard for your portable air conditioner to cool the space because the heat from outside overcomes the power of your AC.
The sources of heat can be either from the outside or the inside. The inside sources are like the electronics in your room; every electronic appliance emits heat when functioning.
For example, if your AC is in the kitchen, it will be trying to cool the heat emitting from the oven or the stove. As a result, the job gets harder for your portable air conditioner because of the ambient room temperature.
The outside sources can be as direct sunlight which can be one of the reasons your AC is struggling to cool the space. Rooms exposed to continuous sunlight will get hotter than rooms that are not.
6- Dirty Air Filter
If the air filter is not clean, it will affect the efficiency of the cooling process. The airflow from the conditioner will be lower due to the dusty air filter.
Therefore, the air filter must be cleaned regularly to ensure the air conditioner is functioning at its top performance and you have proper cooling.
7- Dust Buildup on the Fan Blades
The fans of air conditioners have different speed levels; they can have two or three levels. Therefore, ensure that the fan is set to the highest speed settings.
If the fan is set to the highest speed level, but the airflow is still low, it can be due to the dust buildup on the fan blades. The dust buildup can affect the fan’s performance and result in insufficient cooling, so you must clean it.
8- Dirty Evaporator Coil
Besides the fan blades and the air filter, there is another air conditioner component whose hygiene can affect the AC performance.
The evaporator coil is essential for the portable air conditioner’s air circulation, and its hygiene is necessary. You can check the evaporator coil when you remove the air filter; if the coil is dirty, you must clean it to regain adequate airflow.
9- Frozen Evaporator Coil
The cold air passes through the evaporator coil, so the coil’s temperature gets lower over time, and it can get frozen. Ice forming on the coil will make it harder for the air to pass through.
However, it’s not normal for your evaporator coil to become frozen; it results from an issue in your portable air conditioner.
- Dirty Air Filter, if the air filter is dirty, it will make it harder for air to flow, and as a result, the coil gets colder than usual, and ice buildup forms on it.
- Dirty Evaporator Coil, if there is dust buildup on your evaporator coil, it will decrease its efficiency, which makes it absorb less heat than usual.
- Leaky Refrigerant, Unfortunately, it’s a significant issue, and you can’t fix it yourself; therefore, if your refrigerant is leaking, you will need to hire a technician to fix it. The technician will search for the leak and fix it, then recharge the portable air conditioner, which can cost you more than the price of a new AC.
10- AC is Disconnected (Power Failure)
If the AC is not blowing air at all, it might be because it is not connected. If the AC is plugged into an electrical outlet but not starting, it might be a problem with the outlet.
The circuit breakers can be why your AC is not starting; there are two circuit breaks, one in the AC’s plug and the other in your electrical panel.
11- Full Condensate Tank
The portable air conditioner cools down the room’s temperature and removes any moisture. When the air is cooled to a lower temperature, its ability to hold in moisture decreases.
So, the AC starts to collect the water from the air into the condensate tank (Water Tank). The condensate tank is drained regularly through the drain hose connected to the tank. The problem might be that the drain hose is blocked or obstructed.
You will find indicator lights on your portable air conditioner that will alarm you when the condenser tank is full. The indicator lights are beneficial when your AC has an issue; if you can’t understand the warning indicator, you can consult a technician.
How to Fix Portable AC Not Cooling?
After discussing all the possible causes why your portable air conditioner is blowing warm air, blowing cold air but not enough, or not blowing at all, I will explain how to fix each cause.
1- How to Fix the Wrong AC mode Settings?
If your portable air conditioner is set to the wrong mode, it will not blow cold air. So, you will have to set the AC to cold or cool mode; it should not be set to either dry or fan modes.
2- How to Fix High Thermostat Temperature?
The thermostat’s temperature is the temperature the AC will try to cool the room down to. So, you must set the thermostat temperature to a temperature lower than the room temperature to make it blow cold air.
3- How to Fix Open Windows and Doors?
Open windows and doors will affect the efficiency of your AC. Therefore, you must ensure all the doors and windows are closed.
In addition, if there are any gaps in the room, like the gap under the room door, you will need to block the gaps to decrease the amount of warm air entering the room.
4- How to Fix Indoor or Leaky Exhaust Hose?
The exhaust hose blows the warm air absorbed by the air conditioner outside the space to be cooled. Therefore, you will need to ensure the exhaust hose is located outside the room of the air conditioner.
If the exhaust hose is outdoors, you must check it to ensure it is not obstructed by anything. If the hose is obstructed, the air can flow back into your space.
5- How to Fix Too Many Heat Sources?
Suppose there are too many heat sources in the space of the air conditioner. Unfortunately, you will need to relocate some of the heat sources in other rooms or purchase a larger AC unit because it’s the incorrect size.
If the outdoor temperatures are the reason, like direct sunlight, you can use blinds or curtains to decrease the heat entering the room.
6- How to Fix a Dirty Air Filter?
A dirty air filter will decrease the airflow coming from your air conditioner, so you will need to clean it to solve the issue; you can do it through the following steps:
- Power off the air conditioner from the power button or toggle off the switch breaker of the AC before taking out the filter.
- Remove the plastic grille in front of the filter and clean it to remove any dust buildup.
- Please remove the air filter from the air conditioner and put it into any container to avoid dust or debris falling on your floor.
- Clean the filter using any soft brush to remove the dust and debris. If the dust buildup is hard, you can rinse it using water.
- Install the air filter and the plastic grille.
- Power on your AC or toggle on the circuit breaker.
7- How to Fix a Dust Buildup on the Fan Blades?
If the fan is set to the highest speed, but the AC is not blowing enough cold air. It’s probably due to dust buildup on the fan blades. Therefore, you will need to clean it.
If you want to clean the fan blades, you will need to use your owner’s manual to disable the parts and reach the fan.
8- How to Fix a Dirty Evaporator Coil?
After removing the air filter, you gain access to the evaporator coil; if you see that the air conditioner coil is dirty, you must clean it.
You can clean the dirty coils using a vacuum cleaner to remove any dust buildup, or you can use canned air if you don’t have a vacuum cleaner and there is no other option.
You can use an AC coil cleaner solution if the coil is too dirty and the dust buildup is hard. The solution will remove dust buildup, stuck dirt, or other debris.
9- How to Fix a Frozen Evaporator Coil?
Frozen evaporator results from another issue, so you must solve the issue causing the evaporator coil to freeze up.
If the air filter is dirty, you must take it out and clean it. If the evaporator coil is dirty, you can clean it using a vacuum cleaner or an AC coil cleaner solution.
If the issue is that the refrigerant is leaking, unfortunately, you will need to hire a technician to find the leak and recharge your refrigerant.
10- How to Fix the AC Disconnected (Power Failure)?
If the AC is not blowing any air, it might be disconnected, so you must check its electrical connection. Check if the plug of the AC is plugged into the power outlet.
If the AC is plugged into a power outlet, try changing the power outlet to another one. Power outlets might not be working because the circuit breaker is turned off or the circuit breaker of the AC plug is turned off.
11- How to Fix a Full Condensate Tank?
If the condensate tank is not evaporating and it’s now complete, you will need to empty it yourself; you can do this by following these steps:
- Power off your AC or toggle off the circuit breaker.
- Place the AC on an elevated platform or stable surface.
- Move the AC so the drain spout is hung over the edge of the surface.
- Place a large container underneath the drain spout to collect the water.
- Drain the water out of the AC by removing the spout cap.
Most portable air conditioner tanks can take up to 1 liter of water, so you need a container containing at least 1 liter of water. If the AC has a removable condensate tank, you can remove it and drain it without moving the AC to an elevated surface.