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A Step-By-Step Guide to Repairing Portable Air Conditioner Problems



Guide to Repairing Portable Air Conditioner Problems

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Fortunately, troubleshooting and repairing portable air conditioners is fairly simple. You can easily resolve many common problems with the right tools and materials, from inspecting thermostats to cleaning filters.

First, check that your unit’s power cord and electrical outlet are functional. Also, ensure the vent air hose is straight and short, as long hoses can restrict proper airflow.

Thermostat Settings

There are two basic settings on any thermostat – Cool and Heat. When you set it to the Cool setting, your PAC will turn on and start cooling your home.

Thermostats can be placed anywhere in your home. Still, they work best when not overburdened by other heating and cooling appliances or located in places with a lot of temperature variation (near fireplaces, near electric heaters, poorly ventilated rooms, etc.). Also, you should insulate your windows and clean your air filter regularly to reduce the workload on your PAC.

If your PAC constantly crashes and burns out, you could raise the temperature setting in the summer (as long as your dew point is below the thermostat setting) and lower it in the winter to save energy.

Power Cord

An extension cord could prevent your portable air conditioner from properly venting cool air into the room, or your air conditioner needs a replacement part. Removing the power cord plate and screws should allow you to pull out the old cord and install a new one. Ensure you use a cord that matches the voltage requirements of your unit.

You can also upgrade your cord and switch to a three-prong plug with a grounding point that sends excess electricity into the ground rather than frying electronics or starting a house fire.

When choosing a new cord, be aware of its gauge, which is determined by the length and diameter of the wires. A higher gauge indicates less resistance, so your portable air conditioner must draw fewer watts from the outlet to perform as well.

Power Outlet

If you plug in your portable air conditioner and it reaches your window but then shuts off again, you’ll want to ensure the ventilation hose is the correct length. While keeping the hose as short as possible, your specific model might require you to extend it to fit a particular window.

Many portable AC units come with a drainage hose for continuous condensation drainage. If this is the case, secure it to a drain or bucket.

Avoid using adapters to plug in your air conditioner, as they can cause issues like melting. Instead, have an electrician replace any two-prong outlets with three-prong ones. This will help protect your electronics from power sags and surges that can dramatically shorten their lifespan.

Condenser Coils

The condenser coils in the outdoor unit absorb and disperse heat collected from your home. A high-power fan draws air across the coil to facilitate faster heat transfer and begin condensation, while low-pressure vapor refrigerant returns to the evaporator coil for the cooling cycle to repeat.

Evaporator and condenser coils can become dirty and clogged with debris like leaves, grass clippings, pet hair, dirt, and dust. This interferes with airflow and reduces the coil’s ability to release heat. Shut off power to the portable AC and clean the coils using a coil cleaning solution. Be sure to use a brush with bristles stiffer than a hand broom but not so sharp that you could bend the fins on the coil.

Air Filter

The air filter in your portable AC is a key component for keeping your home clean and healthy. A dirty filter can lead to dust build-up and clogged vents. In addition, it can cause your air conditioner to work harder to cool your home.

When your air conditioner is running, it removes water from the air and drains it into a collection tank inside your unit. It would be best if you emptied this container regularly.

To do so, unplug your portable AC and place it on a sturdy surface. Then, prepare your cleaning tools. You will need a screwdriver, a damp cleaning cloth, and a bucket or shallow pan to collect the condensate. You may also need to remove and clean the air filters and plastic grilles.

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