How Long Do Portable Air Conditioners Last? [When to Replace Them?]

As humans, there is a constant search for comfort. One major cause of discomfort for us all is excess heat and humidity, both indoor and outdoor. While nothing can exactly be done about outdoor climate, there are several ways to condition our indoor climate and make it more convenient for us.

Air conditioners are a popular choice for cooling indoor air and reducing humidity, and in recent times, portable air conditioners have gained popularity across the world. The major concern for these portable ACs has always been their durability and efficiency and this post will address them.

Truth is, portable Acs work the same way as split systems and window units; collecting humid and warm air, dehumidifying and cooling it and then sending it back into the room.

For all its portability and ease, the question we often get from most readers is how long these portable Acs last. Read on to find out.

How Long Do Portable Air Conditioners Last?

A typical portable air conditioner will last anywhere between 6 and 10 years. Some can go as far as 15 years if properly maintained.

But there’s a lot of factors to consider, including quality of the brand, usage frequency and duration, maintenance and so on.

While some brands may pack up just after a few years, sometimes less than 7 years, some others hit the 10-year mark and even go beyond it.

As is the case with most other products or appliances, some brands are better than others. However, the average lifespan of a portable air conditioner is connected to its mode of operation and capacity.

The portable unit condenses water during operation, sending it to a built-in tank or dispatching it through a tube. Some models take advantage of this water for cooling.

This reduces or even completely erases the need to always empty the tank or drain the water. In a broader sense, this can enhance energy efficiency.

Most people put portable Acs in very large rooms, overwhelming the units in the process and putting them under constant pressure to cool the room. This puts a strain on the units and their lifespan.

Which are critical parts in portable air conditioner to watch?

While the overall unit can give you about a decade of value, there are critical parts of a portable AC that you should pay attention to;

1. Compressor

The compressor is, more or less, the heart of the air conditioner, whether it’s a regular split AC or a portable device, it is what circulates the refrigerant used for heat exchange, as well as apply energy to the refrigerant. If the compressor gives in, that is most likely the end of the road for that unit.

2. Condenser Fan

The condenser fan is another critical component of the portable air conditioner. It is one of the parts that will break eventually.

But unlike the compressor, the fan is replaceable. So, if it is damaged for any reason, you can simply find a good replacement and continue to use your AC.

3. Evaporator Fan

The evaporator fan works closely with the condenser fan as part of the components that act on the warm air sucked in by the unit. Again, this fan can be replaced if it breaks, and you can continue to enjoy the benefits of your portable air conditioner.

4. Hose

Many portable air conditioners have a hose that connects to a vent attached to the window, or one that simply goes out through the window.

This is what transports hot air out of the unit through the vents. This hose may develop a leak or get damaged as a result of wear. Thankfully, it can be patched up or replaced.

What factors influence the lifespan of a portable air conditioner?

The lifespan of a portable air conditioner is determined by several factors, and we will take a look at some of them;

1. Room Size

Every air conditioner unit is designed to cater for specific room sizes. When you put a portable air conditioner in a room that is bigger than its capacity, it is likely to break down faster.

Air conditioners are meant to work for a while and rest for a bit, before they are turned on again. That is, they cool the room and are turned off to “rest” for a while.

But if the room is too large, it may not be able to cool the room as quickly as it should, and will be denied its downtime.

This strain can negatively affect its lifespan more than you can imagine. Where the room is smaller than the prescribed size, the lifespan may improve.

2. Design

Another major factor is more of a factory problem. Unlike split air conditioners, the portable device is an indoor appliance. It is kept inside the room.

This means that all the air it uses are gotten from the room, while discharging some of it through a hose connected to the unit.

Apart from losing the room net air over time, this puts a lot of load on the condenser which has to continuously recycle the same air over and again.

3. Leaking Hose

A leaking hose can also influence- rather negatively- the lifespan of the portable air conditioner. This is because a leaking hose will release hot air back into the room, putting more load on the AC.

This leads to more work time and less downtime, and can shorten the unit’s lifespan.

4. Dirt/Particles

It is important to always keep your room clean, for the sake of your portable AC at least. An air conditioner is not an air purifier.

Also, the portable unit has a compressor and condenser inside the room. Dirt and particles may be sucked in along with hot air and may result in clogging.

The filters may be clogged with hair and other large dust particles and this can affect the lifespan of the AC.

5. Maintenance

Maintenance is key. A properly maintained portable air conditioner will certainly last longer than the unit that lacks maintenance.

This means cleaning the fans and the filters and unclogging the parts and components of the AC. Maintenance can simply be the difference between enjoying your AC for 15 long years and using it for just 5 years.

6. Incorrect Installation

This can be another major reason why you won’t enjoy your portable air conditioner for as long as you think.

The most common mistake is not fitting the hose properly through the window or having a hose that is too long.

If you lack the know-how, it is important to get a professional to install your air conditioner for you. A portable air conditioner is not so difficult to install, but one slight mistake can make things go awry.

7. Quality of Brand/Model

Whether we like it or not, some brands are superior to others. Some are built with better quality materials and properly designed to give you great value for money.

Others are simply imitations and fakes. Be sure to get a brand that withstands the rigors ahead and give you at least 10 years of great air conditioning.

8. Pets

Pets are not a problem, don’t get us wrong. Not dealing with the hair and dander shed by your pets is the problem.

If you have allergenic dogs or cats, you should be sure to always clean up their sheddings. Pet hair and dander can clog the filters of your portable air conditioner and cause it to deteriorate faster.

When should I replace my portable air conditioner?

There are times when you and your portable air conditioner will go through a rough patch. Sometimes, it won’t just listen to you or work as efficiently as you want it to.

Other times, it may disrupt your sleep by giving off different annoying noises. Sometimes, all it needs is maintenance.

But there are other times when a replacement is required. So, how do you know what is needed when your AC begins to malfunction?

Signs that indicate your portable air conditioner needs maintenance

  • When water begins to drip out with very offensive smells, it could be a problem with the tank or the condensing unit.
  • Blocked or low air flow would require checking the fans or the louvres.
  • When your portable air conditioner begins to start and stop incessantly.
  • When the unit is not cooling.
  • When your AC begins to make different noises.

Signs that indicate your portable air conditioner needs to be replaced

The above are simple indicators for AC maintenance. However, some of these problems may also indicate a replacement if:

  • Your portable AC has lasted for more than 10 years.
  • Breakdowns are becoming more frequent.
  • Repairs are very expensive (almost enough to save up for a new one).

Top 3 Recommended Portable Air Conditioners

1. SereneLife Portable Electric Air Conditioner Unit [Value for Money]

The main job of an air conditioner is to cool the air in the room and reduce excess humidity.

No other product does it better in the portable category than the SereneLife portable electric air conditioner.

The unit has a dehumidifying feature that ensures your room doesn’t keep too much humidity for germs and molds to breed.

With a coverage capacity of 200 square feet and an output power of 900 watts, this is certainly a great deal for you and your household.

What’s more, it has a remote control and comes fully equipped with a window mount kit for convenience.

2. COMFYHOME 2-in-1 Air Cooler [Best Features]

Talk about maneuverability and you can’t ignore the exemplary design that ComfyHome mastered with this 2-in-1 air cooler.

It is blameless and produces unrestricted cool air into rooms as large as 250 square feet.

It comes with as much as 40 degrees oscillation, 3 fan speeds and 4 modes.

The 8-hour timer is also an effective way to save power and keep your AC’s operation in check. The package comes with 2 ice bags and is equipped with remote control for your comfort.

3. BREEZEWELL 3-IN-1 Portable Air Conditioner [Best Price]

If you desire the comfort that air conditioning bring, especially with rising humidity in your area but still have to stick to a budget, this might just be what you’re looking for.

The BreezeWell Air Conditioner works as an evaporative air cooler, a cooling system when ice is added, as well as a humidifier.

With 65-degree oscillation, 12 hour timer, dual water tanks, and adjustable fan speeds and modes, there is so much goodness in having the right appliance in your home.

Final Words:

A portable air conditioner is an efficient, easy to use and convenient appliance that can serve as a useful alternative to regular split systems. Depending on the size and quality, they can cost anywhere between $300 and $1,000.

This post has shown you how long the average portable AC is expected to last, what may hamper its lifespan as well as things you should do to prolong its lifespan. Bottom line is, you’ll enjoy your portable air conditioner as much as you take care of it.