do portable air conditioners need regassing

Do Portable Air Conditioners need Regassing?

Do portable air conditioners need regassing? Do you need to put in any maintenance work? Your space heater efficiency decreased any you suspect the refrigerant needs a refill?

Quick answer: Portable air conditioners never need regassing. Portable ACs are fully enclosed systems and refrigerant will never leak if the device is not broken. If it is broken, you should just replace it with a new one and not worry about maintenance.

But before you leave, let’s have a closer look. I’ll tell you what to do if your air conditioner does not do a good cooling job anymore. Also, we’ll see how to deal with HVAC companies trying to sell you recharging of your portable AC.

Do Portable Air Conditioners need Regassing / Recharging / Refilling?

A portable air conditioner refrigerant is fully enclosed inside its duct. Ideally, no refrigerant should ever leak.

An intact portable AC is never going to lose efficiency because of leaking refrigerant. The refrigerant only ever leaks if you let your portable air conditioner fall from a height and damage some of its parts. Sounds unlikely to happen? It is.

Therefore, we can say that

“Portable air conditioner refrigerant is fully enclosed, never leaks and, therefore, never needs regassing.”

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If you are sure that your portable AC leaks refrigerant, keep reading. I’ll tell you what I’d do in that case.

Does portable air conditioner refrigerant ever go old?

No, portable air conditioner refrigerant never goes old. It should, therefore, always perform at the same efficiency level.

Portable air conditioners (and ACs in general) are designed for little maintenance. The cleaning of the filters is annoying enough. It would be pointless if air conditioner producers produce leaking refrigerant ducts or refrigerant that turns greasy. 

Luckily, we are in a competitive market and companies try to build the best products to outsmart their competitors. They take care that you can rely on the refrigerant without maintenance.

You can expect your portable air conditioner to reliably run for a decade or more given you take care of it.

What to do if portable air conditioner loses efficiency

If your portable air conditioner is not as efficient as it used to be, it is almost impossible to happen because of leaking refrigerant. I mean, it could be if your portable AC is damaged. But that is highly unlikely. Before the ducts containing refrigerant break, more sensitive parts of your AC such as electronics would break. And in that case, you would not be reading this article.

So, if your portable AC looks good from the outside, I’d bet the ducts are fine.

An air conditioner is not like a car, where you have to refill oil. The refrigerant never leaves the system.

Much more likely is that your air conditioner’s efficiency suffers from blocked airways. Blocked airways are the most common cause of all AC problems.

They prevent proper heat exchange in the evaporation part of the AC. The refrigerant is not able to absorb enough heat from your room. And also it decreases fan efficiency.

How to clean and maintain your portable AC for lasting efficiency

Open the casing of your portable AC and remove all the dust using a dry brush, compressed air gun, or duster. Clean the filters!

Never use water to remove dust! (I have stories to tell, but let’s skip them)

If you clean your portable AC’s airways with water, mold will grow and your portable AC will turn into a portable air “stinkifier”.

Also, make sure to clean the condenser and the evaporator coil!

I recommend you get these AC cleaning brushes for air filters and coil (click here to view it on amazon).

Also, to get all the dirt, grease, and oil off your coil you should invest in this evaporator coil cleaning foam (click to view it on amazon).

Air conditioner coil cleaning foam

The brushes and the cleaning foam are a great investment in the health of your portable AC (and of course, they also work for any regular AC). They can lengthen the lifespan of your AC by years!

“The first thing to try, if you haven’t already is to clean the condenser and the evaporator coil, as well as your filters.”

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That’s all you have to do to maintain a portable air conditioner properly. If you want to increase the efficiency even more, have a look at my article on how to increase portable air conditioner efficiency.

Recharging / Regassing portable air coinditioners is a hoax

If an HVAC professional offers you to recharge your portable air conditioner, all he has in mind is recharging his purse.

Also, recharging is a reliable business. If an HVAC professional sells someone on “recharging”, he’s got a new recurring client to sell the recharging to every single year. 

Recharging portable ACs is an HVAC marketing trick. Tell your family and friends in case they lose their money by getting their portable ACs recharged.

What to do if your portable AC REALLY leaks refrigerant

If your portable AC really leaks, there is no reason to keep it. If it leaks, it’s broken. But please write me a mail and tell me how that happened.

In this case, I recommend replacing your broken portable air conditioner with a new one.

Technically, it is possible to regas it, if you know how (I don’t know how).

The main problem is, in my opinion, that regassing requires constant additional maintenance. It costs you both yearly effort and money to keep the refrigerant level stable (as it should be anyways).

Just get a new portable air conditioner and stop worrying about keeping up with a broken portable AC. Or do you drive a car that leaks fuel?

This will save you a major chunk of expenses in the long run.

Conclusion

Portable ACs never need refilling. If your portable air conditioner loses efficiency, the reason is likely dirt inside your AC.

Regularly clean the condenser, evaporator coil, and air filters. My advice is to always take care of your portable AC. It will last you decades then.

Hope this was helpful!

About the Author

Daniel Hirsch

Daniel is an electrical engineer, blogger, and author. He studied electrical engineering and information technology and decided to blog about heaters after working in the temperature sensing industry.