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I'm familiar with window and split air conditioners but new to portable ones.

My portable AC has an upper and a lower plugs that can be used to drain the condensation water. Both are two low for gravity drip through the window though. Here are the drainage options I'm thinking of:

  1. Get some cheap furniture to elevate the unit enough such that gravity drip is possible. This seems by far the simplest solution and the only downside would be having to lift/lower the AC when moving is needed.
  2. Build an elevation thingy that pumps water from a lower reservoir up to the elevation needed (e.g. with something like this). I think this would work but I would need to get a lot of material to build it and spend time learning electronics, and I'm lazy.
  3. Get an automatic condensate remover; basically the above but not DIY, sold in stores ready-made. Seems expensive and overkill.
  4. Long drain hose from the unit to the nearby bathroom. Would be messy and I wouldn't be able to close the door properly.
  5. Live with manual drainage. Haven't used the AC enough to know how often this would be; it might be tolerable, might not.

So the first solution -- elevating the unit with some furniture -- seems the easiest. Wondering if there is something I'm missing or some even better solution people often use, since this must be a very common situation. Thanks!

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    My portable exhausts evaporated condensate as part of the exhaust, so on the US west coast does not need to be emptied in practice. You should see how much water your model generates before deciding.
    – Armand
    Jun 26, 2022 at 21:47
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    Run screaming from portables. They are not better, they are a performance disaster. youtube.com/watch?v=_-mBeYC2KGc The normal way portables are used is you manually empty the tray several times a day. Keep in mind because of their extreme design stupidity, they are constantly drawing humid air into the house, so there's a lot more condensate to remove. This does not apply to 2-hose portables. Jun 26, 2022 at 23:36
  • @Armand I was in CO a week ago with my daughter. The humidity was a blissful 9%. At home in IN, the humidity was a miserably 65+%. In some places, nothing dries by itself...
    – FreeMan
    Jun 27, 2022 at 14:06

3 Answers 3

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I used to use a portable AC when studying. The condensate removal pump (solutions 2 and 3) seems like a good solution. In case you're considering any of the others, here's some additional decision making information that might help:

  1. This is the option I used back then. I used a sturdy box (in this case a thick plastic one) that would wedge between the portable unit's wheels. This is important, as these things tend to vibrate a lot, and would over time probably roll off the box and suffer severe damage. I collected the condensation water in a standard sized bucket (I'm guessing 20l), that I would have to empty once or twice a day (30-35C at probably 50-70% humidity during heat waves). If your climate is hotter and more humid, this will have to happen more frequently. Letting it drip out of the window will probably annoy lower neighbours sticking their head out of the window, and passers by on the street. A nearby drain pipe you can drill into (and stick your hose into) would solve both these problems. Keep in mind gravity needs to do its job, so the hose needs to be at a declining inclination, and end lower than where it started at the AC unit.
  2. See below
  3. As JACK mentioned, this seems like a good option.
  4. Probably not a good idea. A long hose to the bathroom would still need that elevation to work, with the addition of (as you say) carrying a risk of becoming messy. It will also drain cold water, so there will be condensation along its path, over carpets and whatnot.
  5. This depends on the size of the condensation pan or reservoir inside the unit. In my case this was more of a drip catcher that funnels the water into something else, so running the unit on its own was no option. If you have a decently sized reservoir inside the unit, and the expected humidity / temperature are lower, then you could consider it. You'd still have to drain this reservoir into a bucket every once in a while in order to empty it, so it's probably more convenient to consider options #1 to #3).
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    Accepting this as its the most comprehensive answer. However my solution was different: do nothing, not even manual drain. After a week of usage the air conditioner had barely accumulated any water. It turns out it has a auto-evaporating function that will handle condensation in dry climates (<70% humidity). I am new to dry climates, having lived most time in places with >80%, so this kind of technology never even crossed my mind! Interesting stuff.
    – Leo Brito
    Jul 7, 2022 at 2:13
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You can get an inexpensive condensate pump and attach it to your AC unit, plug it into a 120V outlet, and run the tubing out the window. Here's an example from Vevor Corp, a company I have absolutely no vested interest in. enter image description here

I did this exact same thing for a family member but used a different pump.

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    I have used similar pumps but recommend that the pump be in a tray with an alarm that will shut down the unit if the pump fails on regular systems just a tray for a portable would probably be sufficient. +
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 26, 2022 at 20:29
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Put a big plastic straw in the top drain. Incline the front of the unit so it will drain into container.

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