How to Move a Portable AC Unit

Being in a milder climate zone, it’s not often those of us who grew up in Metro Vancouver or the Fraser Valley needed centralized air conditioners in our homes. But it sure is nice to have that air conditioning on hot summer days, nonetheless. So, you may have a portable air conditioner. And in some cases, maybe a window AC unit installed. In this article, we’ll explain how to move a portable AC unit, so you can take those cool summer days with you, and not have to settle for a trusty ol’ fan alone.

When you read the steps below, keep in mind that “portable” doesn’t necessarily mean you can move the unit from room to room that easily. It just means it’s not centralized in the home’s systems, but it can be installed and uninstalled for easy moving of homes.

Step 1: To move a portable AC unit, unplug and drain

This is an obvious step, but an important one. Especially the draining part. Not all portable AC units will collect water in the same way. Some might dispose-as-they-go. And others may have a dish to collect it. Somewhere though, condensation is likely collecting. And you’ll need to know where that is so you don’t make up a mess. This article has more info.

The other thing to know here is that when you find the water drainage point, you may also feel like giving your AC unit a good clean.

Step 2: Detach your portable AC unit, very carefully, and place on a dolly

When moving portable air conditioners, remember that they are heavy! And, if you are removing one that is sitting on your window sill, you’ll need to be extra careful not to drop it as you unscrew it from it’s mounting points. In fact, one writer recommends being so careful, you should warn people around you before trying to move the AC unit, such as people in stairways or outside your window.

For this step you’ll need:

• Screwdrivers and grip gloves
• Towels for soaking up water that leaks from the unit
• An extra pair of helping hands, if you can find them
• A plastic bag to store removable parts
• A dolly to roll the AC unit out of the room and into your moving truck

When you detach an AC unit to move it, you also need to find where the hose connects to the window, or where the hot air escapes (this will be obvious). This is usually going to involve a tube, if your unit is not the window type. You’ll want to disconnect the hose, of course. But don’t lose all your little parts. Keep them in a plastic bag or box, and label it.

Have a dolly handy because you’re probably not going to want to carry the unit to the moving truck. Some portable air conditioners might have small wheels you can use to roll them around, though.

Step 3: Find a way to seal up your window again

When you install a portable AC, your window might have a gap left behind. Some AC units have plastic pieces that are designed to hold up your window where the air needs to escape, while not letting warm outside air in. Depending on how yours was set up, you’ll need to remove it and also make sure your window can shut closed again. Take that adaptor piece with you.

If you don’t have one of those manufactured ‘window openers’ (not their official name), yours could be a makeshift one. They could be made of custom-cut plastic, plywood, styrofoam or even cardboard. Keep those pieces handy, but keep in mind you’ll need something new that fits the size of your window after you’ve moved in to your new home. This is likely why the makeshift one was there in the first place (the manufactured kit didn’t come with one that fit the window).

The same goes for an AC unit that is installed through a sliding door. Though, hopefully at your new home you’ll find a better place for it. And in that case, you’ll surely need some sort of window opener or adaptor for the appliance to work.

If your portable AC tubing leads through a wall, or to your sealing or attic, follow the same principles, but keep in mind it may have been installed by a professional. So in case it’s not obvious how to uninstall it, you’ll need to call a professional again. For example, there may be caulk holding parts in place that you’ll need to remove, and holes that you’ll need to re-seal. Hopefully you won’t run into any troublesome or scary wiring either.

Step 4: Pack the portable AC unit in the moving truck

Use your typical cautions when loading the portable AC unit into your moving truck. This would another great time to mention how important it is to drain and dry out the unit before moving it! You wouldn’t want to get your other belongings wet with goop water.

If you can get the AC unit in a box with styrofoam or padding, that would be best. If there are wheels, secure them in place so they don’t role (such as with tape). And if there are detachable parts or weak parts, like mounting plates, tape them to the machine, or find a way to contain them.

Step 5: Reinstall your portable air conditioner after moving

Reinstalling your portable air conditioner after moving into your new home is like going through all the above steps, only backwards. The ‘big’ considerations will be:

• Which window you can sacrifice to get the appliance working again.
• How you’ll keep the window open, and sealed properly for the right temperature effect.
• Whether you can install the tube through a ceiling, attic, wall, air vent or otherwise (and if you need a professional for help to do that).

When you’ve solved the above, the first thing we recommend is looking up the model name of your air conditioner on the web. That way, you can find manufacturer instructions, if you didn’t keep them when you bought the unit (or if you bought it used). Those instructions will be your safest bet when figuring out how to install it.

Otherwise, here is a good guide on how to install a portable air conditioner. Though we’re sure you can find plenty of YouTube videos to solve this piece of the puzzle!

Moving Tips

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