Why does your Portable Air Conditioner Collect no Water?

Why does your portable air conditioner collect no water? In this article, we’re checking 5 possible reasons and how to fix them!

Quick answer: Your portable air conditioner collects no water because it is either broken or the water tank leaks. Low air humidity is also a potential cause. Another cause is that your portable AC is an evaporative cooler, which does not collect water.

Let’s have a look at each of those reasons.

Your portable air conditioner is broken

If your portable air conditioner is broken, and it does not cool, it won’t collect any water in its water tank. Checking this issue is very easy. Fixing it is a little harder. Here’s how.

How to check: Check if your portable air conditioner produces cold air by turning it on and holding your hand where the cold air is supposed to come out. If after 1 minute, the air leaving the air conditioner is still warm, that means your portable air conditioner is broken. If you can’t tell for sure, then pay attention to the noise your portable AC makes. Occasionally, there should be a compressor noise. If your portable AC makes no noise aside from the fan blowing sound, it is likely broken.

How to fix: Let’s first eliminate the most obvious reason for your portable air conditioner not cooling and not making any compressing noise. On the thermostat, check that the target temperature is set lower than the current room temperature. If the set target temperature is too warm, your portable is of course not collecting water because it does not attempt to cool.

If still, no cold air comes out of your portable air conditioner, it is likely broken.

In case your portable air conditioner is broken, continue with this portable air conditioner repair guide.

The air in your room has low humidity

Another possible cause for your portable air conditioner not working is low air humidity. If the air in your room holds no humidity, your portable AC can not collect any water.

Of course, there is no room that contains no humidity. Especially because we humans consist of 60% water. So, as soon as someone is present in a room, the person’s breath will cause the portable AC to absorb water.

Depending on how dry it is in your area, the rate of water collection could be very slow.

How to check: Check if your portable air conditioner blows cold air. If it does, everything is fine. To check for low humidity in your room place a hot can of water in the middle of the room. The water vapor should cause the portable AC to absorb more water.

How to fix: There is no need to fix this! Humidity reduces the efficiency of a portable air conditioner. Having low humidity in a room is a good thing!

You bought a fake air conditioner

Another possible reason for your portable air conditioner not cooling is that you bought a fake AC.

Online, you can find tons of portable air conditioners that are not real air conditioning systems.

A real air conditioner consists of a ducting system, an evaporator coil, a compressor, and an exhaust hose. If at least one of those is missing, your portable AC won’t work.

These products are often made cheaply and sold on online marketplaces such as amazon.

If your portable air conditioner has no hose attached, that’s an immediate red flag that your portable air conditioner is not a real AC that collects water.

These “fake” portable air conditioners are often sold as “air coolers” or “evaporative coolers”. 

How to check: Check your portable air conditioner. It should have an exhaust hose, a big size, heavy weight. and it should make noise when it’s running. There are no ventless, silent, or lightweight portable air conditioners that really work.

How to fix: Get a real portable air conditioner, if you fell for a scam product. Ventless portable air conditioners never work.

Your portable air conditioner’s water tank leaks

Another reason your portable air conditioner does not collect water is that the water tank leaks.

If your portable AC’s water tank has a leak, it’s impossible to ever fill up and collect water. Also, in the high summer heat, you won’t notice the water leaking, because it will evaporate quickly.

Especially if your portable AC stands on a carpet, the water is absorbed and invisible to you.

The water absorbed by air conditioners comes straight from the air in your room. Because gaseous water can hold no minerals, the absorbed water is distilled. This means it will leave no stains on your carpet or on the floor when it leaks.

How to check: Run your portable air conditioner and check the floor below it after a few minutes. The leaking water tank leaves a small pit of water below the AC. Also, you can unmount the water tank (if possible) and check for any visible leaks.

How to fix: Seal the water tank with glue. I recommend getting a waterproof plastic glue such as this JB Weld epoxy (click here to view it on amazon).

The slope of the water tank is incorrect

It might be that the water tank inside your portable AC is tilted. Your portable AC could still collect water, but, depending on where the drain sits, no water is able to flow out.

How to check: Check that your water tank sits properly in the portable AC’s case. It could be that you uninstalled it once and then you misplaced it when you installed it again.

How to fix: If the water tank is tilted, double-check how it’s installed. There is likely something wrong with the placement.


If your portable air conditioner collects no water but blows cold air, there is no reason to worry. Either it’s a low-humidity room, or your water tank is broken.

If your room has low humidity, you don’t need to take any action.

If your water tank leaks, it’s usually simple to seal with the right glue.