How to Drain Liquid Condensate from a Portable Air Conditioner

The top sits open on a white portable air conditioner.
What You'll Need
Portable air conditioner

The portable air conditioner is a machine which may sometimes need to be drained. The better models will use the excess water in order to cool the air which is released as exhaust. The best models on the market will never need the water removed, but if you have an appliance which sloshes water on the ground, you need to be able to drain liquid from the unit.

Step 1 – Learn About Your Model

Before attempting to drain any water from your machine, make sure it is set up for this task. If it is supposed to use the excess water in a different function, pooling water means your machine is not working properly, and while you can drain the water, it will not improve the function of the machine. You may have other issues your need to look into instead.

If you do have a model that can be drained quickly and easily, the more you know about the machine, the easier it will be to drain it. You can find out a lot of information about your particular model by reading the owner's manual. This will also give you a schematic to tell you where everything—including the drip pan—is located.

Step 2 – Hook Up Tubing for Drainage

Many models will allow you to hook up tubing to remove condensation. If you have a model like this, it will be characterized by a small spout sticking out the back end. In order to drain the machine, you will need the right width tubing to connect to the appliance. You will also need for the tubing to be long enough to get to a good dumping source. A window, sink, or drain will work perfectly for this. If none are available, you can use a bucket and then occasionally empty it as you go. It will hold more water than the drip pan which will allow you to drain it less often.

Step 3 – Locate the Drip Pan

When all else fails, simply find where the condensation pan is at. This is usually on the bottom of the exhaust portion of the machine. You should be able to locate it without taking the machine apart, so if it is not readily available, it means you have a unit which is supposed to drain itself. Once you find it, slowly pull the pan out from the air conditioner. Pour the contents slowly into a bucket, or take it outdoors to get rid of it.

Keep an eye on the pan for future dumps. If you are dumping water once a week, there is something wrong with the machine and you need to look into repairing it. Luckily an air conditioner is not a terribly complex piece of machinery. With the right information, you should be able to tackle fixing any minor problems you might be encountering.