Can You Vent A Portable Air Conditioner Through A Screen?

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If you have purchased a portable air conditioner, you must be looking for ways to vent it. You may be planning to vent the appliance through a screen, but still, you're not sure if it will function properly with this setup. To help you with such a concern, we've done thorough research, and here's what we have to share.
Yes, you can vent a portable air conditioner through a screen. In this venting process,  the airflow will definitely get across some sort of resistance. To make sure, however, that there will be enough space for the airflow to pass, you will need to consider your screen's material and structure. 
While it's possible to vent your AC through a screen, this process is not the most ideal option. But there are some methods that you can choose from to maximize its airflow.  Keep reading as we discuss these methods in-depth. We'll also provide steps on how to vent a portable AC unit through a screen.
Portable Air Conditioner in room on the wooden floor, Can You Vent A Portable Air Conditioner Through A Screen?

When To Vent A Portable Air Conditioner Through A Screen?

Portable air conditioner in front of brightly lit window.

Venting a portable AC unit through a screen is not the ideal setup for it can make your air conditioner less effective. Even so, it can still work very well in a pinch depending on certain circumstances. Most consumers usually remove the screen to vent their portable AC. But there are certain situations where removing the window's screen is not an option.

If that's the case,  the first thing you need to consider is the screen's type or structure. While thick screens will obstruct airflow, thin screens will maximize the airflow. It's always better to vent your air conditioner through a thin screen. As a general rule, your screen should also be clear and clean before you can vent your unit through it.

The screen will eventually have dust and debris buildup from the airflow of the air conditioner exhaust. Thus, you should check your screen at least once a week and clean it when it gets dirty.

Moreover, the screen's material is also a crucial part. In the screen venting process, it's given that the airflow will get across some sort of resistance.

With a screen made of mesh, there will be plenty of space for the passage of airflow. If the mesh doesn't have enough empty space, having the air pass through the screen is definitely not feasible. If the mesh' material is Nylon, then venting an air conditioner through it is not a good idea.

Nylon is highly susceptible to heat, which means it will only get damaged over time. Thus, you should vent your AC only if you have a steel screen.

How To Vent Your Portable Air Conditioner Through A Screen

Aside from considering the screen's material and structure, the venting process also has a great effect on the air conditioner's performance. Follow the steps below to vent your portable air conditioner through a screen of a sliding window.

Tools/Materials You'll Need

Step By Step Guide

Here are the simple steps that you can follow when venting a portable air conditioner through a screen:

  1. Make sure that the sealing plate is a perfect fit with your sliding window's length.
  2. Attach the rubber and foam weather seals to the window sealing plate.
  3. Attach the sealing plate to the corner of your sliding window.
  4. Place the hose in and press down firmly until it locks with the sealing plate.
  5. If there are gaps at the top of the hose, cut some foam pieces and insert them on the edges.
  6. You can make some adjustments depending on your convenience as adding a piece of wood as a window stopper and the like.

Watch the video below for  a detailed illustration of the steps we have outlined above:

Keep in mind that the venting process will vary depending on your window type and venting kit. The important thing is that the unit is properly vented, making the appliance highly efficient.

Additionally, there are different methods you can choose from in order to maximize the airflow in your unit's ventilation.

Method 1 

Adjust the exhaust in such a way that the airflow directly passes through the screen. There won't be a problem for as long as you maintain the screen regularly for dust and dirt will reduce the amount of air that can pass through it.

Method 2 

In this method, regular maintenance is not required, but it's also helpful in increasing and maximizing the airflow. The thing to do is to cut the plywood the same width as the exhaust tube of the air conditioner.

Once the width is right, measure the screen's height and match the plank's height with it. Attach the plywood plank to the screen. This will make a new surface on the side where the screen closes.

The next step is to measure the exhaust tube's diameter and cut a  hole in the plywood plank based on the tube's diameter. Fit the tube to the plank's hole and now you have a perfect exhaust system!

The great thing about this setup is that it's not high maintenance, and there won't be a loss of airflow either. It will also prevent your unit from overheating and will all maintain a cool and moisture-free room.

Method 3 

Furthermore, you can also purchase add-ons and/or extensions to maximize the airflow. Certain add-ons can increase the effective area of the exhaust tube, and it's almost effortless to use them.

First, you need to figure out the amount of airflow the window screen is reducing.

For example, the mesh is blocking 50 percent airflow of the exhaust compared to the holes without any resistance. In that case, you will need to have an extension that can increase the exhaust area up to 200 percent, which will help in countering the resistance from the window screen and maximize its airflow back to 100 percent!

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What Are Portable Air Conditioner Window Vent Kits?

The purpose of portable AC window vent kits is to connect it to a hose and install the unit to the nearest window. The concept of portable AC units with window vent kits makes the ventilation process easier.  It can be a DIY project, for the installation is quite simple, eliminating the need to hire a professional.

Most units come with a window venting kit that has a hose and window sealing plate. It can also come with other materials needed for the installation. You'll have to go by the user's manual, but you may need to make changes or some adjustments depending on your window's requirements.

Can You Vent A Portable Air Conditioner Through A Sliding Door?

portable air cooler and humidifier on casters in domestic living room to improve indoor climate

Yes, you can vent your portable AC through a sliding door as long as you have available a vent kit that is designed precisely for its greater width. Take note that your door should lead into an open-air like your backyard. If the door just leads to another room, the proper cooling process might be a challenge.

What Happens If You Don’t Vent A Portable AC Unit?

Mobile air conditioning

Your unit will be less efficient if you don't vent it. The main reason for venting your air conditioner is to remove the heat that is pulled out from the air. If there is no ventilation port for the exhaust, the hot air will just flow back into the room, making your environment hotter.

In addition, warm air means higher humidity, and so, an unvented AC can lead to an increase in your room's humidity levels. Aside from the fact that having humid air is an inconvenience, high humidity can also decrease the lifespan of your unit.

The above terms will only apply, of course, to units that are designed for venting. There are portable ACs that are ventless, running with the use of ice and water.

In Closing

Portable air conditioner in the office connected to an outlet

The portable air conditioner model is a big factor, but still, the way you vent will affect its effectiveness. One should also consider the screen's material and structure to make sure there's enough space for the airflow to pass.

Lastly, you need to choose a strategic venting area for the unit to perform at its full capacity—whether it's the door, window, wall, drop-ceiling, or dryer vent.

Before you go, you might as well check out our other posts related to portable air conditioners:

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