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Portable AC Repair: 4 Common Problems And Solutions

Portable air conditioners (AC) are more convenient than window ACs and packaged terminal air conditioners (PTAC) because they are movable. As a result, they're ideal for cooling small spaces or when you want to spot cool, as long as you can place them near a window and electric socket. Like all household gadgets and electronics, portable ACs are bound to malfunction or become damaged over their years of use. Luckily, you can perform AC repair on your portable AC without professional help. Find common portable AC problems and their corresponding solutions below.

1. Portable AC Won't Start-Up

It is not uncommon for portable ACs to fail to start up when you turn them on. This issue could be because your unit isn't getting power. But if you ascertain that there aren't any issues with your power outlet, you can check for other problems. Your portable AC won't start up if its water reservoir is full. Some portable ACs dehumidify the air, and if you fail to empty the reservoir when it becomes full, the float switch could interfere with power coming to the unit. Thus, your AC won't start. Additionally, check for damaged or worn-out cables and replace them.

2. Portable AC Won't Cool Properly

A dirty or clogged air filter will cause your portable AC to lag or fail while cooling. Therefore, the first step toward fixing an AC that won't cool properly is to clean the filters. For example, you should clean AC filters and vents every month or two. Frost and obstructions will also affect airflow. So also, check for these issues and get rid of them.

3. Portable AC Overheating

Your portable AC will overheat when its compressor overheats. Fix this issue by ensuring your AC hose is venting properly by straightening it. Moreover, position your AC further away from the window to keep the hose from wriggling.

4. Portable AC Emits Musty Smells

Your air conditioner will release musty odors at some point throughout its life span. If this is the case, you'll need to thoroughly clean your air filter, evaporator coil, and water reservoir. The smell buildup happens due to mold, mildew, and bacteria growth.


Issues with your gadgets and electronics are unavoidable. Similarly, portable AC issues are inevitable. If you experience problems with your portable AC, use the above corresponding AC repair solutions to sort yourself out. If any of your AC issues persist, reset it. If that doesn't resolve your issue, you will have to seek help from an HVAC system service, such as Alexander Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, CO, INC.