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portable AC units that don't require you to empty water?

MelinoeMelinoe Registered User regular
edited August 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
It gets pretty hot here in the summer and my apartment only has a single wall air conditioner that does an okay job of cooling down the living room, but has lots of issues reaching the rest of the house. We emailed our landlord about putting in window AC units in the bedrooms, who then emailed the HOA about it. The HOA said that in theory they have no problem with it but putting a window AC unit in a bedroom is illegal in our city because apparently in case of a fire we're supposed to be able to jump out of the second story window onto the cement below and the law assumes that we're too stupid to pull the AC unit out of the window. Whatever, I digress, we called the city government people to confirm that this is an actual law because the HOA people didn't actually cite anything and it is in fact true.

In the email, the HOA said that a workaround to that is to get a portable AC unit and have a hose that goes up to the window to vent air out, which we knew were a thing, but as far as we knew they generally required water to be emptied out every so often and weren't an ideal solution to run while you're sleeping (our roommate works night shift and sleeps during the day which is part of the reason why this is such a problem). But they then said that portable AC units exist that don't require you to vent water out - my boyfriend is the one who has done most of the research regarding this and he hadn't heard of them, so I was wondering if any of you knew about any or had any experience with them?

Melinoe on

Posts

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    I don't think one exists that doesn't require draining... you're taking moisture out of the air as part of the process.

    Is there a way to put a larger AC in the living room, and point some fans into the bedrooms to pull some of that cool air in? That's what we had to do at our old apartment.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    As far as I know, Portable ACs generally have a hose system. If you can get the AC a little elevated, it should be able to drain out the window.

  • MelinoeMelinoe Registered User regular
    Maybe but the living room is pretty huge, the wall AC is on one side and on the opposite side there's a pretty skinny hallway that ends in the two bedroom doors, one on the side and one at the end. There isn't much of a place where we could put a fan that would blow air where we need it to go - it might be able to be done as a last ditch effort but our roommate keeps his door closed while he sleeps and that's when the AC is usually running.

  • 143999143999 Tellin' ya not askin' ya, not pleadin' with yaRegistered User regular
    So we're talking about something like this, right? Not "in" the window, but with a hose to a window vent? The one I just linked says it doesn't require emptying.

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  • MelinoeMelinoe Registered User regular
    Yep, that'd be what we're after. Thanks!

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Still needs to be drained.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
  • 143999143999 Tellin' ya not askin' ya, not pleadin' with yaRegistered User regular
    Yeah, I should have noted that I wasn't advocating that particular model. Just that ones like that exist that claim that they don't need to be drained. Like anything that costs more than a sandwich, do your research before purchasing.

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  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    At my work several years ago we tried some that claimed they didn't have to be drained. It's a lie. The clue is that while it claims you don't need to empty it, it still has a water reservoir with a light to indicate when it's full. Why would they even need the reservoir or light if they could make an AC unit that didn't require draining?

    And in addition to misleading info about not needing to be emptied, we tried 3 units from different manufacturers. Two of them continued running even after the water bin was full even though they were supposed to turn off when full so that it didn't overflow.

    Here's a quote from the linked model's manual
    When the internal water collection tank is full, the air conditioner will turn off until the tank is
    emptied.
    Unplug the air conditioner, disconnect the exhaust
    hose from the back, and move the air conditioner to
    a suitable drain location or outdoors. You may also
    place a pan under the drain that will hold up to 1
    quart of water.

  • EsseeEssee The pinkest of hair. Victoria, BCRegistered User regular
    I am like 90% certain that my family owns one that just needed to go out the window. No draining. For reals. I can go look at the manual to be sure, but all I ever remember us having to do is replace the filter sometimes. We haven't used it since we moved like two years ago (cooler climate, although it's gotten hot recently) so that's why I don't remember details about it. But I'm really very certain we didn't have to dump water, nor did water go anywhere it wasn't supposed to. Soooo, these things absolutely must exist.

    I can go check what brand we have at some point if you'd like, OP? It should be in our garage.

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    The only way I see that working is if you are in an extremely dry climate in the first place. Part of the AC's job is dehumidifying the air, so to get one that doesn't do that would be... silly.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • 143999143999 Tellin' ya not askin' ya, not pleadin' with yaRegistered User regular
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    The only way I see that working is if you are in an extremely dry climate in the first place. Part of the AC's job is dehumidifying the air, so to get one that doesn't do that would be... silly.

    They're supposed to vent extra-humid air through the exhaust or something. Supposed to.

    8aVThp6.png
  • RyeRye Registered User regular
    Portable AC units have a regular "CooL" mode and an alternate "Dry" mode. "Dry" mode is the one where you have to empty the bin.

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    When the coils cool, condensation builds on them from the moisture in the air. Unless you ac unit is nothing more than a fan, you will always have moisture in some levels. Central AC units have built in piping to run this water outside, and most portable units should have a hosing device or attachment so that the building moisture has a way to run out of a window or into a larger tub.

    Depending on the humidity and the temperature of your coil, you can be generating many liters of water a day with an AC unit, so setting up a hose system is preferable. Window units almost always have something like this.

    EsseeMysst
  • EffefEffef Who said your opinion mattered, Jones? Registered User regular
    ^ Bingo. Air conditioning generates water as part of the process. There are no buts about this. The ones that say they don't need to be drained are lying or at least not telling you something.

    If you live in a dry climate there will be less water, but there will still be water. Especially if you like boiling water to cook things on the stove a lot.

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  • illigillig Registered User regular
    newer portable ACs attempt to get around the drain situation by dumping the water they condense out of the air via the vent hose

    here's a quote:
    With American Comfort’s new AutoDrain technology, you practically never have to dump the condensate bucket. This innovative drainage method turns collected water into an ultra-fine mist and releases the mist droplets outside. All you have to do is place the spiral water pipe into the exhaust hose, connect the water atomizer to the end of the pipe, and voila, true set-and-forget operation is yours in a snap.

    one of the models that has it:
    http://www.sylvane.com/american-comfort-acw300c.html

    that said, they'll still have a drain pan just in case you live in a humid hellhole like northern Florida (or wherever) where the AC can't get rid of all of the condensate via the hose

    Essee
  • EffefEffef Who said your opinion mattered, Jones? Registered User regular
    Note "attempt".

    They have never been very good at it in my experience. It might work well enough if you live in Arizona or something, but in south GA (or north Florida, as you specified) , you have to empty that pan. It can't get rid of all the water.

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  • EffefEffef Who said your opinion mattered, Jones? Registered User regular
    Also, reading the reviews on that first one linked:
    Although it blows great cool air, it also creates Massive Heat in the exhaust hose. I mean Massive Heat!! Hot to the touch!

    If you squeeze the accordion hose to its shortest length, (Pushed together) and create a straight line for the vent to take place, (No bends) it works great and there is no heat buildup. But if you extend the hose out and create any curves, (As you certainly will) the heat begins to build up and it gets so hot that it renders the A/C useless. Completely ineffective and unable to cool even a small room whatsoever! It's like having a A/C Cooler and Heater on at the same time! I'm Returning it tomorrow, For Sure.

    I Expected more from LG.

    Lol. The heat has to go somewhere you dingus.

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  • tempstemps Registered User
    I'm not sure on the specific model I have but its a sharp and looks similar to this one here (newegg). The one I own has a water bucket thing, and will shut off if it gets full. That said I've never had that happen or needed to empty it! It is usually off during the day and i turn it on with a timer so its on when i get home from work weekends its left on all day/night (longest I think is 4 days straight) no issues.

  • EterenalEterenal Registered User regular
    YMMV depending on your climate. An AC unit in Florida will be dumping a lot more water than an AC unit in Seattle.

    admanb wrote: »
    Always remember that beasts have two states: dead, and fucking your face.
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    illig wrote: »
    newer portable ACs attempt to get around the drain situation by dumping the water they condense out of the air via the vent hose

    here's a quote:
    With American Comfort’s new AutoDrain technology, you practically never have to dump the condensate bucket. This innovative drainage method turns collected water into an ultra-fine mist and releases the mist droplets outside. All you have to do is place the spiral water pipe into the exhaust hose, connect the water atomizer to the end of the pipe, and voila, true set-and-forget operation is yours in a snap.

    one of the models that has it:
    http://www.sylvane.com/american-comfort-acw300c.html

    that said, they'll still have a drain pan just in case you live in a humid hellhole like northern Florida (or wherever) where the AC can't get rid of all of the condensate via the hose

    Swamp Coolers are one of the most dangerous types of cooling you can do. This is literally asking for an electrical fire. That mist? Its blowing around in your house, settling in your carpet and floors, seeping into your walls and electrical outlets. More fires have occurred by folks using this type of cooling than are caused by turkey fires on thanksgiving. It's a terrible idea.

  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    Wait, it just mists into your house? i thought it was pointed outside along with the vent hose.

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    Ohhh. ok that makes more sense. I was wondering why someone would sell a product that is on the national health hazard listing.

  • MelinoeMelinoe Registered User regular
    Essee if you can check on that that'd be awesome so we can research it some more.

    Thanks for the further input everyone. This is mostly what my boyfriend found out which was why we were so surprised when the HOA said that we could totally get one that didn't require emptying. Dumping the water out of the window would be nice but we have window screens that I'm rather attached to because I hate insects.

    For reference we live in the south bay area in CA so it can get fairly humid here.

  • EsseeEssee The pinkest of hair. Victoria, BCRegistered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Melinoe wrote: »
    Essee if you can check on that that'd be awesome so we can research it some more.

    Thanks for the further input everyone. This is mostly what my boyfriend found out which was why we were so surprised when the HOA said that we could totally get one that didn't require emptying. Dumping the water out of the window would be nice but we have window screens that I'm rather attached to because I hate insects.

    For reference we live in the south bay area in CA so it can get fairly humid here.

    Okay, looks like ours is a DeLonghi "Pinguino", several years old at this point so the model probably doesn't matter much. It does have a tray according to my mom, BUT it doesn't need to be emptied. The box itself says something about a "double compressor" system that makes this possible (complete with a symbol showing crossed-out water droplets) if that helps your search too. We were using this in inland southern California, battling daily temperatures consistently over 100, and it really made a huge difference (and it definitely didn't put water anywhere but out the window, or we would've known). It came with a remote and everything. We had to fiddle around with the settings a bit until we found out the optimal one for cooling things down, but oh god, with the right settings it was like heaven compared to our old fan setup. I dunno if it'd cool a whole house, but it should be awesome for an apartment (our house was always tiny, something along the lines of a two-bedroom apartment in size really, so it worked fine for us).

    Essee on
  • MelinoeMelinoe Registered User regular
    Awesome, thanks a lot! We'll do some more research into that. It's nice to get a first hand account that something like this can actually exist.

  • EffefEffef Who said your opinion mattered, Jones? Registered User regular
    I don't doubt that the dripless thing works, to an extent. I just don't think that it can get rid of enough moisture to make it totally maintenance free. I have spent years fucking around with ACs and it just seems too good to be true. Especially for a portable unit (universally known to be mostly garbage for temporary use only).

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  • MelinoeMelinoe Registered User regular
    Well one thing I was seeing when looking up the AC that Essee recommended is that it's an AC and a dehumidifier; is it the dehumidifier that makes the water build up a lot or the AC? Because the humidity doesn't really feel like an issue; the weather widget on my phone says the humidity is pretty high but it doesn't actually feel that way. So I think we could probably just not use the dehumidifier and only use the cooling part but I don't know if that makes a difference.

  • EsseeEssee The pinkest of hair. Victoria, BCRegistered User regular
    edited August 2012
    I dunno. Ours worked for us! I mean we didn't have all that much humidity in our area, this is true, but we seriously never had to empty anything. Maybe if we lived in Florida we would've hated the thing. We also only used it during the day, not at night when it would cool down outside (for electricity savings), if that makes a difference. Maybe the OP and boyfriend would have more trouble since it's probably more humid where they are. But we had our air conditioner up on a wooden end-table and I used to hang out next to it most of the time after we got it... In fact, we previously had a window air conditioner that was the very reason we needed to buy this portable one; it used to leak water all the time and get it all over the carpet. So we would almost certainly know if that portable one were dripping inside the house.

    I have zero doubt that plenty (most?) of those things drip like that, though, because I do know a lot of portable ACs suck. My mom did a lot of research before buying the one she did!

    Edit:
    Melinoe wrote: »
    Well one thing I was seeing when looking up the AC that Essee recommended is that it's an AC and a dehumidifier; is it the dehumidifier that makes the water build up a lot or the AC? Because the humidity doesn't really feel like an issue; the weather widget on my phone says the humidity is pretty high but it doesn't actually feel that way. So I think we could probably just not use the dehumidifier and only use the cooling part but I don't know if that makes a difference.

    Yeah, I don't think we used the dehumidifier bit at all as far as I remember. Same as you, we didn't feel like we needed that since it was usually a dry heat (we just needed SOMETHING to take the edge off the damn heat!). This post earlier supports your idea:
    Rye wrote: »
    Portable AC units have a regular "CooL" mode and an alternate "Dry" mode. "Dry" mode is the one where you have to empty the bin.

    Essee on
  • MelinoeMelinoe Registered User regular
    It would mostly be used in our roommate's bedroom with the door shut while he's asleep. We might get one for our bedroom too but we can keep it mostly manageable in our room. Like I said I don't actually know the humidity because the weather report says the humidity is 84% right now but it sure doesn't feel like it's that humid.

  • RaynagaRaynaga Registered User regular
    The ones that have the no water dump as a feature typically will have a dehumidifier coil built into the unit - the same type of item you would buy and turn on to try and dry out a damp room for example. Their effectiveness will range based on the climate/humidity of your area.We have a couple on display in the seasonal section of my store and run them from open to close, every day, and have never needed to empty them. They don't even have trays.

  • normartynormarty Registered User new member
    My parents live in a very old condominium building in New Jersey where central air conditioning and/or wall unit air conditioners are not an option. They have always had “2” portable units which was basically their only option. The weather during the months that these portable units are in use is very humid…for years they have been battling the issue of condensation build-up in the pans of each unit, resulting in an overflow of water. As they are elderly an unable to tend to this recurring issue themselves, I was the one burdened to come over to their place on a regular basis to empty the pans. I learned about a product (pump) via internet research and purchased a kit for each unit (you can search for the pump on Amazon by typing B07QX7KT7W in Amazon’s search bar). The kit/hose was simple to install and almost immediately resolved the problem that had been in existence for years. At the outset, I monitored the portable units to ensure that the condensation build-up and resulting water overflow had been rectified…and am convinced that this product works incredibly well. After a month or so, I stopped checking the units and am excited to state that almost 3-months later, the pans haven’t had to be emptied one time. I’m beyond ecstatic that a problem that had been in existence for years seems to have been permanently remedied. This is a GREAT product and I give it my strongest recommendation…I hope this information helps!

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