portable air conditioner ventless

Portable Air Conditioner Ventless

A portable air conditioner, ventless and without other visible means of conveying hot exhaust air out of the room being cooled may at first appearance seem odd, like a mythical beast to say the least!

Table of Contents

  1. What is a Ventless Air Conditioner?
  2. Swamp Cooler Facts
  3. Economy
  4. Disadvantage of Evaporative Coolers>
  5. Humidity
  6. AC Needs to Vent Hot Air
  7. Conclusion

Yet such a device is often advertised for sale at many online stores that sell air conditioning appliances and coolers.

So you'd be excused for thinking the manufacturers must have come up with a great new idea to provide a refrigerant-based cooler that needs no exhaust hose.

The reality is that, unfortunately this is not the case.

What is a Ventless Air Conditioner?

The truth is that there is still no such thing as an air conditioner that requires no means to exhaust its hot air away from the interior of the building.

All air conditioning devices produce both cold and hot air as part of the refrigeration process. The cold air is what is pumped into the room you're occupying and enjoying the cool environment, while the hot air is pumped to the outside or the building.

Most people have no idea this is what is happening, which is why so many people are not aware of the need for venting an air conditioner and are often confused by advertisements for portable AC's without a vent hose.

ventless portable air conditionerWhat you're seeing in those ads is not a refrigerant-based air conditioner, but it's actually an evaporative cooler (or swamp cooler).

Swamp Cooler Facts

A portable evaporative, or swamp cooler looks a lot like a portable AC unit, except it has no visible output vent or hose. It also has a large tank at its base for holding water that the unit uses to produce cold air through the process of evaporation.

Like its high energy using refrigerant-based alternative, a portable swamp cooler has a remote control, movable airflow fins and a plug for providing electricity for it to run, but here is another big difference.


An average size portable swamp cooler typically uses around 100-200 watts of electricity to run its powerful fan, which is the only internal moving part. There is no compressor or refrigeration mechanics happening under that hood!

By contrast, a similar size portable AC can use 1,000-2,000 watts of electricity to do a comparable job of cooling the air. That between 10 and 20 times the energy consumption to do the same job!

So why don't all AC users suddenly ditch their expensive energy hogs and go buy swamp coolers?

The Main Disadvantage of Evaporative Coolers

There is a major drawback to the effectiveness of an evaporative cooler to produce cold air. It is one that affects the majority of people living in the United States, unfortunately.


That major drawback that can render a swamp cooler ineffective is humidity!

Evaporative coolers rely on the air being relatively dry to work effectively. Since they evaporate water to produce the cooling effect on the air being blasted out by the internal fan, there is a limit on how much moisture the air can hold before the effect is reduced to a point where there is no more ″cool.″

That means anyone living in an area that has high humidity during the hot season is out of luck. That's because they can go and buy a swamp cooler and hope it works, but if the air is too humid and it doesn't produce cold air, they end up taking it back to the store for a refund, because ″it doesn't work!″

That's a shame, because the unit probably works perfectly well. It's just the customer didn't know it is only meant for areas with low relative humidity, like desert areas or the climate you generally find in the south western states but away from the coast.

Air Conditioning Needs a Means to Vent Hot Air

The point is that if you live somewhere like Florida or just about any of the south eastern states and you experience high humidity in summer, you'll need to get an air conditioning unit of some description to cope with not just the heat but also the moist air as well.

AC does a good job in that area because the refrigeration process actually dries the air by exhausting excess moisture along with hot air out of the building.

This is visible outdoors when you look at the external condenser unit (that box with the noisy fan). You'll see the water dripping from the hose below it (that you usually end up putting into a bucket to catch all that water).

If you have a portable AC, then you'll be quite familiar with the flexible hose pipe that you need to connect to the back of the unit and also to a window vent kit to get rid of the hot, moist air out of the building. It's that ugly trailing hose that annoys people enough to make the seek out a ventless alternative portable cooling solution, that stores are fully aware of when they advertise their vent free coolers!


The simple conclusion to this article is all about location, location, location! If you live in the south west and not near the coast or other large body of water (lake or wide river), chances are the air is dry enough for you to take advantage of the low running cost of a swamp cooler to keep you cool during hot weather.

If you live anywhere else, you need to check with the local weather station to see how humid the air is in summer. If it's over 50% on average, then you're better off with an air conditioner. It will keep you cool day and night, it will just cost more to do it.

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