Even with the best maintenance, there are times when you have to say goodbye to your favorite devices. Air conditioners are our best friends during hot days, so it is natural to ask questions about the lifespan of a portable air conditioner. Will it make it till next summer?



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Let us cover how long you can expect your portable device to work, what impacts its lifetime, when it’s time for maintenance and how to make sure your cool friend serves you as long as possible. We will be focusing on portable AC models this time since different factors affect different models. If you are hesitant in between getting a portable AC or a window AC, check out our latest article to make a choice!

How reliable is a portable air conditioner?

Portable air conditioners are great alternatives for indoor cooling, especially if you live in a rental or only need air conditioning a few weeks a year. Easy to install and move around the house, they get a super cooling job done, especially if you size them correctly. In addition, a long lifespan of portable AC makes them a bargain in your home.

Unfortunately, a device with moving parts is doomed to break one day. A portable air conditioner usually has the following fragile details:

  • Evaporator fan
  • Compressor
  • Condenser fan

What does it mean for the portable ac lifespan?

Depending on the model, these parts are either easy, complex or impossible to fix.

For example, if the fan breaks down, it is usually easy to replace. However, the end of life of the compressor usually is the end of life of your air conditioner. This is because the compressor does all the heavy work, such as compressing the refrigerant in the device to cool down the hot and humid area.

Why do portable air conditioners break?

If you ask: “Why is my portable air conditioner not cooling?” it is most often due to the following reasons:

1. You sized the air conditioner the wrong way. Bad sizing can lead to your device wearing off faster in the long run. Think about using a race car for small distances to go grocery shopping or using a Smart to drive across the country. Here is our latest article on the subject for more details on how to better size your air conditioning device and avoid breakage.

2. Breakage or other outside factors. The portable air conditioner lifespan also depends on how you treat the device, simple as that. The beauty of portable ACs is that you can transport them from place to place. However, this is also when they break the most if not transported carefully.

If you travel with your portable AC, use it outdoors or in a tent, or frequently change the cooling space, make sure you do so carefully and don’t forget about regular maintenance.

3. Very intense usage. You can increase the lifetime of your cooling unit by lowering the cooling load and by using it infrequently.

How long can you run a portable air conditioner continuously? There is no fixed time, and a suitable device can be working 24/7. However, intense and continuous usage can result in faster wear and tear.

4. Low quality and cheap details. Depending on the manufacturer, you can come across cheaply made models that will only last a short time. Unfortunately, home appliances are where cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean better. Moreover, it can turn against you because of the extra repair work you may encounter.

A promising sign is when a manufacturer offers an extended warranty. It means he has faith in his product, and it also means that the appliance will last you longer. Read more: How Much Does it Cost to Run a Portable Air Conditioner?


5. Inadequate or nonexistent maintenance. Whether it comes to changing cartridges, cleaning filters, or simply doing regular check-ups, your portable air conditioner requires just as much attention as any other device. The better you maintain it, the fewer chances are that it can break. Keep the evaporator, the condenser coils, and the filter clean, and they will serve you a long, cool life.

Specific evaporative cooler models make maintenance as easy as a breeze. For example, portable air coolers by Evapolar just need a simple cartridge replacement every six months. You can enjoy the cool flow for as long as you want! They also offer an extended warranty and have outstanding customer service.

6. Demanding weather conditions. Excessive humidity, extreme heat, dust in the air, etc., — can all impact the longevity of a portable air conditioner. While the primary function of the aircon is to cool down the hot air, the initial temperature and the humidity of the latter will define how long your device will serve you.

7. Storage conditions. How long does a portable air conditioner last? Well, it also depends on how you store it when it isn’t in use. If you put away your device for colder days, make sure you keep it in a dry, dust-free space. Otherwise, you can wake up to mold, bacteria, and a blocked filter — common problems with portable air conditioners due to poor storage conditions. In addition, dirt clogs the filters and reduces the unit efficiency.

This is yet another bonus in portable evaporative coolers by Evapolar — they are effortless to store due to their compact dimensions, super portability, and very light weight.

8.   Incorrect installation.

Even though portable air conditioners are easier to install than HVAC or mini-splits, there are specific requirements that will ensure the long lifespan of your AC unit.

A standard portable air conditioner usually has a hose that exhausts hot air through the window. If this hose is leaking air or doesn’t fit the window tightly, the hot air will come back into the space. This will cause an extra load onto your device and damage.

What are the signs your portable conditioner needs maintenance?

We gathered the most common signs that indicate you need to take a look at your air conditioner. Sometimes they mean maintenance. Sometimes – it is time to turn the page and move on to new and better-quality devices. Read also: The Guide for Choosing the Best Personal Air Conditioners

1. Your energy bills are out of the ordinary

A good (well, bad) sign that your portable air conditioner might need replacing is an increase in your electricity consumption. It means that your cooling unit is not running efficiently and is overheating from the inside, burning those precious watts.

This rule applies, of course, if you haven’t added other energy-consuming devices to your household!

Suppose you want to avoid expenses on cooling whatsoever. In that case, we recommend you look into portable air coolers — they consume as little as 7W, making them 100 times (yes, one hundred) more efficient than air conditioners.

2. Your device produces unusual noise

Screeching, banging, clicking – any noise that your AC didn’t produce before can be an indicator of malfunctioning of the moving parts.

3. Your space doesn’t get colder

If your portable AC is on, but it is not cooling the room and/or not blowing cold air, it is time for a check-up or a repair.

4. Your place is suddenly too humid

Unexpected humidity can be a sign of leakage within your device.

5. Your device produces weird smells

A foul smell coming from your floor air conditioner can be a sign of mold and bacteria build-up. Other strong smells can indicate there is a burning wire inside.

6. Freon and water leaks around the unit

Leakage is never a good sign. On top of that, freon is a poisonous matter, so make sure you contact a professional immediately.

To avoid using poisonous freon whatsoever, you can opt for air coolers that only clean water.

Like any other electronic device, a portable air conditioner comes with its dos and don’ts, which impact the lifespan of your portable air conditioner. Luckily for us, progress has made it possible to invent smart, portable devices with simple maintenance and fewer expenses.

Evapolar air coolers will serve you a long life because:

  • They are effortless to install and operate. No leaky hoses, very few moving parts, no freon liquids.
  • Evapolar also offers a very affordable warranty on their devices.
  • They are the best option for personal cooling. While you are figuring out whether your large floor air conditioner is working and cooling the whole room according to the thermostat, with Evapolar, it is simple enough to direct the airflow right at you to know the answer.
  • They are very easy to maintain. With regular use, simply replace the cartridge every 3 to 6 months, and you are good to go.
  • Thanks to very few details, it is easy to know where the problem is coming from, and Evapolar’s customer support is always there to help you.
  • They are made from premium-quality details, including a filter with a basalt membrane, for exceptional cooling capacity.
  • You don’t need to size them. Personal cooling is precisely what it is — evaporative air coolers cool down the area around you.

People also ask (FAQ):

1. How long do portable air conditioners last?

The average life of a portable air conditioner is up to 10 years. After that, it depends on the maintenance, initial quality, how you use it, etc.

2. How do I know it’s time to replace my air conditioner?

The main sign of breakage is when your AC stops producing cool air and starts making too much noise. However, there are also other signs which you can check out above.

3. Which one lasts longer, air conditioners or air coolers?

The lifespan of a cooling device entirely depends on the maintenance, quality, weather conditions, and how you treat it. However, we can state that portable air coolers usually have fewer moving parts (and more minor parts in general), making them less prone to breaking.

4. Why is my portable air conditioner not cooling?

Lack of cool airflow can be caused by:

  • Internal breakage
  • Leakage of air and/or water
  • Overheating
  • Faulty wires

Other reasons can interfere with the functioning of your AC. We recommend consulting a specialist to identify the cause if they are not obvious.

5. How do I know if my device needs simple maintenance or replacing?

This is a case-by-case scenario. If your device is approaching its 10th birthday, most likely, it’s better to get a new one and move on. There are other cases when a simple interference of a technician can fix the problem. Nobody can answer this question better than the device manufacturer and AC repair specialist.