I recently moved into an apartment that doesn't have central air and doesn't allow window units. I live in Los Angeles so this is not going be "chill" so to speak.

The building is from the 1920's and there is like a rule against anything being put out the windows. It's a weird rule, but my windows face the courtyard so there isn't any sneaking around I can do with the window stuff.

There is a bedroom with two French doors leading to a big living room. Is it possible to get an air conditioner with a tube and put the tube through the French doors and seal it up around it? I know that the living room will get very hot but if everything is sealed up will I be able to at least have a slightly cold bedroom for the summer months?

I saw someone in here said to put the tube out of a door and in a bucket of water so it will evaporate there but I'm not trying to explode my whole building.

Electricity cost is absolutely no issue so I have that going for me, I just don't know what to do.

  • 4
    To be clear, they don’t allow window units, or they don’t allow air conditioners? It could be that they don’t allow window units due to the risk of them falling, but may be ok with a portable AC unit vented to the window.
    – kponz
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 10:34

5 Answers 5


A portable air conditioner may work for you. It does need to get rid of the heat through a 4” tube that will have to vent out doors somehow. There will be condensate that will go into a container that will have to be emptied every so often. Maybe you can hide the 4” pipe.

  • thank you so much for answering. You don't think the ol' pipe through sealed up french doors thing will work? Maybe I could hide the pipe behind a flower pot Commented May 9, 2018 at 5:53
  • 1
    I think we are talking about 2 different tubes. The 4” tube carries warm exhaust air. The tube you are talking about (I think) is the condensate line. Most portable air conditioners have a container built in to catch the condensate and will need to be emptied periodically. A few are made with the option to connect a hose that could go outdoors into a bucket or to water plants.
    – user76730
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 6:12
  • You cannot have the hot air of an a/c unit going into an interior room because the room would get too hot. The hot air exhaust must go outdoors. To do what you want you could get a "portable" a/c unit which exhausts hot air through a 4" or so diameter hose outdoors (usu through a window, but some apartments have a hole in the wall perhaps for this), but your apartment management may not allow that into the courtyard. If you gotta have a/c, moving is the only way! Commented May 9, 2018 at 8:42
  • As other suggested get a portable AC, you can find an 'adaptor' to hook the hot vent to a window (you'll have to keep it closed but they can see anything from outside), you can also build your own adopter so you can still open the window (you'll need a piece of wood as large as the window and drill an oval hole in it like in this picture: acboy.org/wp-content/uploads/…), you can also use a cat door if it goes directly outside (ex: a balcony).
    – DDS
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 9:35

Do you have a bathroom with a vent?

If so, wouldn't you be able to hook-up the exhaust pipe of a mobile air conditioner to the bathroom vent?

Preferably this would be a removable connection so you can use the bathroom vent when using the bathroom for it's intended purposes.

  • 1
    Terrible idea. Unworkable and could cause damage to the vent tubing of the bathroom. Commented May 9, 2018 at 8:38
  • 2
    @JimStewart how would venting the hot air from an AC damage the vent tubing? Isn't the vent supposed to handle warm humid air when you're showering? I don't see the difference between the 2 situations. Commented May 9, 2018 at 20:10
  • 1
    The flow rate and temperature of the air from the hot exhaust of a portable a/c is much higher than the bathroom exhaust fan. It would pressurize the vent hose to an extent above design levels. If the hose was "overdesigned" this could work, but if it failed the resident would not know it and would be heating the space the hose passes through. This would violate the explicit or implied rental agreement that the tenant not make unapproved modifications to the apartment. Commented May 9, 2018 at 20:39

Forget ac and get one of those units which pass air thru a wet felt. They can reduce temperature by at least a few degrees, depending on ambient humidity.

  • Would make the inside air too humid. Commented May 9, 2018 at 20:47
  • I believe it's called a swamp cooler and they make the room cool, but it feels like a swamp.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 13:19

I have a similar situation. We have thru-the-wall units in my apartment complex. For my 1 bedroom apartment, there’s one in the living room and one in the bedroom. The one in the living room is newer, but because they didn’t know WTF they were going when they installed it, it wets my carpet and furniture for many feet. I’d have them come in and fix it, but I have to finish organizing first. They either don’t have it properly tilted, although it’s in a wall sleeve or they forgot to remove a plug.

The one in the bedroom is many decades old and the ball bearings started going and making a racket. Haven’t had them in for the same reason as the other A.C. and this one would require a full replacement.

Like a number of people, I’ve been waiting for the Kapsulair to be released. Looks to be a 3rd hot summer, just waiting.

But, at least for the bedroom, I might’ve found a rare solution. I’ve purchased it, but haven’t installed it yet. It is an old Quasar Cool Look A.C. unit. The unit is 9” deep. I “might be able to replace my window fan with it, keeping it inside the window screen. I’ll have to find a way to safely brace it as, underneath it is one of my cat’s favorite sleeping spots. If I can’t, I won’t install it there. Most of even the smallest A.C. units are at least 14-15” deep. This is a very simple unit. No bells and whistles. But, I have just ordered a Sylvania Lightify smart plug for it that sylvania says will work just fine with its 5.4 amps. So, I’ll be able to set schedules, set it according to temperature spikes and control it with my iPhone thru Wink.I will be draping some very breathable, dark color fabric in the window and may paint the back of the unit black do, no one can see it. As it would reside ina window that’s just above my dead A.C. unit, no one should know what is running. Because of its smaller size and shallow depth, storing will be easier than most portable A.C. units with all those tubes and such. It is a 5,000 BTU unit. So it won’t be freezing in her, but it’s better than my other options.

Judy to note, portable floor units are a second to last resort. You pay more in energy, than cooling you get, in comparison to window and wall units. They may be more likely to leak as, you may need to empty yh. They’re big and heavy and most men don’t want to lug them around either. It’s like a ball and chain that is like s piece of furniture that you didn’t choose, that you don’t know what to do with when the weather cools for winter.

Evaporative coolers? Unless you live in an arid climate, they are a last resort. They can make it more humid and DO NOT place them anywhere you can’t afford a leak. For me, the main thing they may be good for is the often dry climate in an office, but mine started leaking all over my work last year. Homedics sent me a new filter but, we’ll see... And no matter how they’re advertised - THESE ARE NOT AIR CONDITIONERS!!!

  • 1
    While good thinking overall, I wouldn't recommend putting an A/C of any stripe on a smart plug -- they aren't going to like the heavy starting surge of a hermetic motor-compressor very much, and you may also wind up inadvertently defeating the A/C's built in protection against short-cycling, which can damage the compressor. Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 11:42

According to one thread here some apartment buildings in some parts of the country were built with short 3" or so diameter tubes penetrating the outside walls and leading outside. I think these are in the lower half of the inside wall.

Possibly these were originally for portable A/C units or were for exhaust fans that would pull in cool air through open windows, but these were not a popular appliance and so they may have been plugged and covered over inside with some design element. Look to see if your apartment has such openings.

You could approach the management of the apartments and ask about installing minisplit a/c units with the condensing unit hung on an outside wall.

EDIT Vent a portable air conditioner with a 6 inch hose through a 3 inch hole in the wall

  • See how to install a portable a/c unit: youtube.com/watch?v=zgKepZvJ-RU Commented May 10, 2018 at 7:45
  • If they don't want temporary AC units sticking through windows, I find it difficult to believe that they'd allow permanent mounting of the condensers on the outside...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 13:20

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.