HVAC For Beginners

Portable Air Conditioner Troubleshooting

Quick Fixes for Common Issues

Before you call a repairman, you can use this portable air conditioner troubleshooting guide and save a lot of money. The typical service call will cost you over $100 but with this guide, you can keep that money.

We have divided this guide into three sections to help you to narrow down the problem with your unit.

**NOTE** Only you can assess your ability to safely perform these tests & repairs. This is only a guide and cannot provide specific details about every possible problem or unit.

Unit Will Not Start?

If your portable air conditioner will not start, you should begin by emptying the water collection reservoir (on units that use a reservoir). If the reservoir is full, a float switch will interrupt the power to the unit.

Next, you should check to make sure that the air conditioner plug is fully inserted into the outlet and that it's integrated circuit interrupter (if it has one) is not tripped. If the unit's circuit interrupter is tripped, press the reset button to restore operation. If the reset button will not stay engaged, there is a problem with the wiring in the unit. Unplug the unit and check for loose or burned wire connections and repair as necessary.

Next, you should check the home's fuse or breaker to ensure that you have power supplied to the unit. If the fuse is blown or the breaker is tripped, check to ensure that there are no other appliances or electrical loads on that circuit. If the unit is on it's own circuit, you should unplug the unit and check it's electrical wiring.

Unit Runs, Not Cooling?

If the unit starts but does not cool properly, you should continue your portable air conditioner troubleshooting by checking the air filter. The filter should be cleaned as required (it is recommended that you clean it every two weeks).

You should also make sure that there is adequate clearance around the unit. If the coils have iced up, you should turn the unit off and run the fan on high speed until the ice is melted. After the ice is melted, check the coils and filter for dirt and clean as necessary.

Unit Does Not Shut Off?

If the unit starts and cools but doesn't seem like it ever shuts off, you should continue your portable air conditioner troubleshooting by minimizing the cooling load on the machine. (The unit could be too small for the area you are trying to cool.) You should ensure that all of the doors and windows are closed and also close your blinds/shades to minimize the heat gain to the home.