Do you have to put Water in a Portable Air Conditioner?

Do you have to put water in a portable air conditioner? The answer to this question uncovers a huge marketing scam, so keep reading until the end. You’ll be shocked. But before that, here’s the quick answer:

Quick answer: You don’t have to put water in a portable air conditioner. Portable air conditioners extract heat from the air and vent it out the window. The cooling process condensates water which accumulates in the air conditioner. Rather, you have to drain water from your portable AC. Any air conditioner where you put in water or ice cubes is a junk product!

In this article, we’re looking at two things. Definitely stick out to the end! First of all, if you do not have to put water in a portable air conditioner, what else do you have to do to maintain it?

And the other thing we’re looking at is: Why did you even think you have to put water in a portable air conditioner? The answer to that question uncovers a marketing scam!

Do you have to put anything other than water in a portable air conditioner?

If you do not have to put water into a portable air conditioner, what else do you do to maintain it?

Portable air conditioners require moderate maintenance effort. There are two things you have to do:

  • Drain water: Portable air conditioners accumulate moisture through condensation. There’s a small water tank located on its back which you have to drain occasionally.
  • Clean airways: Additionally, portable air conditioners need regular cleaning. You need to clean the air filters, and the condenser and evaporator coil.

For your portable space heater maintenance, I recommend AC cleaning brushes (click here to view them on amazon) as well as this evaporator coil cleaning foam (click here to view it on amazon).

Here’s a simple video you can follow:

But before you leave, keep reading! One puzzle piece is missing. Why did you think that you have to put water in a portable air conditioner? It might be because you fell victim to a marketing scam.

Don’t fall for hoax portable air conditioners

There are even more hoax portable air conditioners on the market than real portable air conditioners. Let me explain.

The HVAC industry has one problem: Air conditioners require effort to install, are loud, and are expensive to produce. People only buy air conditioning if they really need one. Additionally, the profit margin is small due to international competition.

The HVAC industry does not make the amount of money it wants to make. Therefore it tries to create high-profit-margin products that are both cheap to produce and easy to set up for customers.

This reduces production costs but increases demand. The resulting products are small, lightweight air conditioners without hoses for small rooms.

Oftentimes you have to put water or ice into these portable air conditioners.

I’ve seen these being sold in the thousands online!

But here’s the problem: These small portable air conditioners don’t work at all. You can even prove that using simple physics equations.

The law of conservation of energy states that the amount of energy in an enclosed system never changes.

The temperature in a room can only be changed by introducing an opening into that room and pushing the heat out of the room.

Real air conditioners use using a hose to connect to the outside. That’s the single difference between a “real” and a “fake” AC.

No AC in the entire universe will ever be able to change the temperature of a closed room.

How to know whether your portable air conditioner works?

Whenever you see a portable air conditioner or air cooler without a hose, you immediately know it’s a scam. Simple physics.

There are a few other red flags that most fake portable air conditioners have in common: They are small in size and can easily be carried by one person. But real air conditioners need size. They contain a heavy duct system with a compressor, fans, and electric circuitry.

A portable air conditioner is never a small device.

Which portable air conditioners work?

You can tell a real portable air conditioner from a fake one if it has a hose, is heavy, and is of proper size.

Portable air conditioners are always heavy-duty devices. Also, they draw lots of power.

Fake portable air conditioners usually have no BTU rating. Whenever you see a portable AC without a BTU rating, you immediately know it’s fake.

However, this does not mean that all ACs with a BTU rating are trustworthy: some junk portable air conditioner vendors put false BTU rating claims into their product descriptions.

Oftentimes, fake portable AC descriptions contain the words “dehumidifier” or “evaporative cooler”. Watch out for those.

Real portable air conditioners do not require any refilling of water. Rather they extract the humidity of the air, which you have to drain. 

Here’s a video of me explaining which portable air conditioners are safe to buy:


You do not have to put water into a portable AC. If you ever see a portable AC which you have to put water into, know it’s a scam.