Self Evaporating Portable Air Conditioner: It Does What?

When you're tired of draining an aging free standing AC, maybe it's time to buy a fully self evaporating portable air conditioner that doesn't need to be drained.

That might sound like a great idea, but before you rush out to the store you should probably make sure that you know what this type of cooling appliance is and how it works. That's where this site comes in!

How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

self evaporating portable air conditionerTo understand what one of these machines is, it helps to know how a conventional air conditioner works. Knowing that will help to illustrate what a portable unit does to keep on creating the puddle of water in its tray that you're forever needing to empty if you want your cooler to keep cooling.

Air conditioners create their chilled air by making use of a refrigeration process much like your domestic fridge that's working away in your kitchen to keep your food cold. It basically transfers heat from one set of coils to another, so that one set cools down while the other heats up.

The air is passed through the chilled coils, which cools it down and that cold air is blasted out into the room to cool that down. The heated coils produce hot air and also a lot of moisture, which is taken from the chilled air, so what's left is a lot of hot, moist air that needs to go somewhere other than the space that's being cooled.

Hot Air Exhaust

That hot, moist air is exhausted through ducts or pipes to the outside, but not all of the moisture is expelled that way. Some moisture condenses on the cold coils just like steamy air in the shower condenses on the cold glass surface of the shower enclosure.

In an air conditioner, the condensed moisture forms large drops that drip down into a catchment area or tray located near the bottom of the unit. As it fills up, it needs to be drained periodically.

Failure to empty a full tray may cause a sensor in the unit to cause it to shut itself off until it is emptied and the automatic is shut-off reset.

What is a Self Evaporating Portable Air Conditioner?

It was discovered that the conventional air conditioning process could be enhanced somewhat by making use of that excess condensation in the cooling process. By re-evaporating the condensate, the moisture is recirculated through the cooling coils to increase their efficiency in cooling the air.

That evaporated water vapor absorbs more heat from the cooling coils and is then circulated through the exhaust ducts to the outside, instead of being allowed to condense again and drain into a tray. This is what the newer breed of self evaporating air conditioners do.

All the excess moisture is evaporated and expelled to the outside negating the need to empty a tray at least in most climate situations aside from extremely high humidity.

The Advantages

The main advantage of owning one of these devices is the elimination of the need to drain or empty a water tray, which can be a frustrating and even messy operation with some portable units needing to be raised onto a box or a table to allow the water to drain down into a bucket, since gravity is the only way to get the water from the tray to the bucket!

Another less realized advantage is that evaporating air conditioners run more efficiently than conventional ones, thereby using less energy to produce the same level of cooling. This can result in reduced energy consumption and a saving in dollars when the electricity bill arrives!


If you use a portable air conditioning unit to keep you cool when perhaps it is not possible to have a window or mini-split unit or central AC as a cooling solution, it can be advantageous to choose a fully self evaporating portable air conditioner, preferably one with a dual hose design for the best efficiency and economy.

The simple sounding yet often problematic process of draining or emptying a conventional portable unit is eliminated. That's one less unwanted chore to have to undertake any more!

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