8 Portable Air Conditioner Hacks You Should Try!

8 Portable Air Conditioner Hacks You Should Try!

Lots of places are dealing with hotter than normal summers these days, and perhaps your AC is struggling to keep up. But that doesn’t mean you need to run out and buy a bigger, better type or model.

To help improve your cooling, we have a list of portable air conditioner hacks that are meant to optimize performance. A few may cost you some money, and some may just mean being more strategic with the placement of your air conditioner.

Ready to ramp up the performance of your air conditioner? Keep reading!

Portable Air Conditioner Hacks

We’ve put together a list of eight hacks that should help cool your home a bit better — and better yet, keep your AC costs down. You can mix and match or just do all of them. 

And don’t worry. You don’t need to do anything hackerish — we’re really just providing you with some best practices.

# 1 Optimize Placement

To get the best out of your portable air conditioner, location is important. You likely know that it needs to be placed near a window — or some other exterior opening — so hot air can be vented outside.

  • However, there’s more to it than that.
  • The shortest and straightest distance possible between your unit and the window will provide the best performance.
  • Situate the unit in a spot where it gets the best natural airflow, but be sure the air is moving in the direction you want it to.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for clearance — typical requirements are 2 to 3 feet away from any walls, furniture, or obstructions of any sort.

#2 Insulate the Window

Your air conditioner likely shipped with a window kit in the box. Make sure you use it properly and seal any gaps around the window frame where the exhaust hose is installed. This will help prevent hot air from leaking back inside and also keep the cool air you’re creating circulating efficiently.

Not all windows are created equal, so you may have different steps to properly install and seal a window kit.

  • The best advice here is to refer to your owner’s manual for the proper guidelines. However, if you have a unique setup — perhaps a casement window instead of a sliding window — you’ll probably need a different kit and different instructions. 

For an example of the casement window installation, you can refer to this video.

How to Install a Casement Window Kit

#3 Use Fans Strategically

Air circulation is your friend. The more cool air you have moving throughout your room, the cooler you’ll feel.

To help you distribute cool air more effectively, you can place fans near the air conditioner and then set up a cross ventilation system to push air where you want it to go.

  • To maximize airflow, consider putting a larger fan closest to the air conditioner and then smaller table fans in other strategic points to help pick up and pass the cool air further into your home.
  • Depending on your ceiling height, you may also consider adding a wall fan or ceiling fan.

#4 Enhance Airflow 

Perhaps even more important than strategically placing fans, you need to keep the area around your portable air conditioner clear of obstructions to ensure proper airflow. Don’t block it with any furniture, curtains, or any other objects that could block the intake or exhaust vents.

  • Refer to your owner’s manual. Each manufacturer typically provides guidelines on the amount of clearance your air conditioner needs, usually 2 to 3 feet.

#5 Reduce Heat Sources

Don’t place your air conditioner in the same room as other appliances that generate heat, such as stoves, ovens, or even a room where you use multiple incandescent light bulbs. All of this will help to reduce the overall heat load on the air conditioner.

Note that this includes electronics as well, such as TVs.

#6 Block out Sunlight

 The biggest heat source you have in your home is direct sunlight on your windows. Sunlight will heat up your space, requiring the air conditioner to work much harder to cool down your room.

  • Consider using blackout curtains or blinds to minimize the amount of sunlight entering a room.

#7 Use the Timer Function

Hand Setting up a portable air conditioner
Portable Air Conditioner

The timer function is more than just a handy feature. Setting the timer to turn on shortly before you arrive home or go to bed or, alternatively, turn off when you no longer need it, conserves energy while still providing you with a comfortable environment when you need it.

#8 Regularly Clean and Maintain Your Air Conditioner

Keeping your air conditioner clean goes a long way toward providing you with the cool air you want and need. The dirtier your air conditioner, the less efficient it becomes, and the less efficient it becomes, the less likely it is to do the job of cooling your home.

No matter how many of the hacks mentioned above you implement, if your air conditioner is dirty, they likely won’t improve your situation.


There are a lot of things that you can do that don’t involve your portable air conditioner that can help improve your air quality.

To recap, a few things that directly involved your portable air conditioner:

  • Optimizing its placement in the room
  • Using the timer function
  • Regularly cleaning and maintaining it
  • Enhancing airflow by keeping it clear of obstructions

Additionally, you can do the following:

  • Insulate your windows
  • Use fans strategically
  • Reduce heat sources
  • Block out the sunlight

Try a few of those to see if it improves your air quality.

Hopefully, the above has been able to provide you with some useful information. While you’re here, why not check out some of our related posts below? Perhaps we can help you with something else.

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more