7 Reasons Why Portable Air Conditioner Fills with Water Quickly (Here’s How to Fix It)

You might be wondering why your Lg portable air conditioner keeps filling with water. Well, during the cooling process, it is common for compressor-based ACs to generate water through the vapor compression cycle.

Portable air conditioners also generate water through the same refrigeration cycle where humidity stands out as a notable factor for the water quantity.

When a portable AC begins to fill too quickly with water, it can be a big problem. Why? Because it takes a lot of time and energy to drain the condensate pan.

In addition, the commitment to emptying the pan could cost you a good night’s rest after a hard day’s work.

Why portable air conditioner fills with water quickly and what to do?

1.    High humidity level in the area

The humidity from the air determines the quantity of water generated by your portable air conditioner. Portable air conditioners condense the air humidity, which produces water. If your residence has high humidity, more water will accumulate on the condensation pan.

Interesting read: What Should Humidity Be In A House With Air Conditioning?

A perfect example is Texas where there is an annual average relative humidity of 75% – it is similar to Louisiana. These two cities have the highest humidity levels.

You can be sure to keep emptying the accumulated water more times as compared to other states.

What to do

The first thing to do here is to be patient. When indoor air has been cooled enough, the humidity would have been regularized, and it will accumulate less water.

Using a dehumidifier to remove condensation can also help in this case.

2. The AC is newly installed.

It is not correct to assume that your newly bought AC, which generates lots of water, has technical faults. This is because AC manufacturing companies are very keen on protecting their names and integrity. Therefore, there is no room given for errors and little but unpardonable mistakes.

The fault might have been from the delivery. Most times, when appliances are in transit, there is a likelihood of damages. Good delivery companies allow you to return the broken product, get a new one, or a refund.

What to do

Don’t panic – when the AC completes the dehumidifying process, there will surely be a decrease in the number of times you’ll need to empty the water. As you keep using it, other units in the system will aid in evaporating the water henceforth.

Closing the windows and doors where it’s running could also help.

3. The Air-filter Is Dirty

Immediately the air gets cooled by the air conditioner; it is distributed into the room when it has passed through an air filter. The role of the AC air filter is to block dust and dirt.

After an air conditioning operation, the air filter has to be thoroughly cleaned. The duration needed for the cleaning is dependent on the kind of air that passes through it.

A valid reason why your portable air conditioner continues to fill up is due to a dirty filter. As the air enters the unit and meets with a clogged filter, the air buildup has to find another channel to pass through. It then passes over the evaporator coil.

The result of this passage will lead to the air being moisturized. In the end, the water then collects into the condensate pan.

What to do

Ensure you check and regularly clean (30-90 days is the recommended duration for replacement and cleaning). Consult a HVAC professional to help you out.

4. The Weather Could Be to Blame

We have established that the level of humidity varies in different cities and locations. However, it is also influenced by the weather changes or season. Some seasons of the year are met with relatively high levels of moisture than the others.

The seasons and times when humidity level varies are also dependent on the city you live. For people in New York, the month of September is seen to have the highest, and the lowest is seen in April. The implication of this is that your AC will produce much more water in September than in April.

When you notice that the amount of water your AC is producing is markedly large, it is not a seasonal change function.

Seasonal changes only lead to a minimal quantity of water generation. If the amount is much, then it is due to something else.

What to do

Your best option to solving this problem is the use of a dehumidifier for large room. Install it in the same room as the air conditioner.

5.   The AC Is Faulty

portable air conditioner fills with water quickly

Since no machine made by man is without errors, it is a true statement that your portable AC might be faulty. Some portable air conditioner products generate more water once the air filter becomes grimy and dirty.

When the clogging happens, the air that is meant to flow freely over the evaporator coil gets super-frozen and cold. As the frozen coil begins to melt, water begins to drop into the container of the evaporator. At the end of the day, the fill-up becomes faster than usual.

Once this happens, the condensate pump begins to function tirelessly, and you also get to work endlessly too.

What to do

Repairing your faulty air conditioner is not something you can do yourself – it is no DIY. Get expert hands to work on your portable air conditioner.

Also, try to reach out to the dealer/manufacturer, especially if you are within the warranty period.

Make sure to also clean your air conditioner regularly, specifically after every 30-90 days, as recommended by manufacturers.

6. Faulty Condensate Pump

The easiest way to permanently take out condensate from the portable air conditioner bucket is by using a condensate pump. It will help you achieve the redirection of the accumulated water to the place you wish to channel it. Condensate pumps are easy to set up.

If after installing a condensate pump, the water still accumulates too suddenly; the fault might be from the pump.  It is either the pump itself is faulty, or the hose (used in drainage) that goes in and out of the pump is bent or blocked.

When the drain gets blocked or bent, the route of water stops. The best thing to do is check the pipe as it runs in and out of the condensate pump.

What to do

You require the service of a technician to repair the pump; you can’t do it alone.

7. Water not draining properly

The best way to drain the water from your portable air conditioner is to drain it manually. To do this, you have to unplug the drain plug and then allow for total drainage into the empty container.

Humidity determines the frequency of drainage needed, same as the duration of the portable AC’s operation. You may need to do this about 4-8 times per week.

If you decide to drain the water manually, it will be easy to detect any fault with your air conditioner.

For example, you might notice that your portable air conditioner indicates a full water tank, whereas there is no water draining from it after you’ve drained the plug.

One of the reasons the unit can do this is that a drain that’s been clogged might have blocked the water from leaving the tank.

If you’re making use of an automatic drain, then your tank shouldn’t fill up. If it does, it’s the fault of a blocked drain hose.

What to do

Ask a technical expert to check your AC.

Types of AC Evaporatives and How Often Do You Have to Drain Them

  • Partially Evaporate

The most common types of portable ACs today are partially evaporative. A partially evaporative technology runs these evaporative. They won’t completely exhaust the moisture that is gathered during the process of cooling.

These portable ACs require regular drainage depending on the level of moisture present in the air. The only time an anomaly will occur is when any of the faults listed above occurs.

  • Fully Evaporate

These are not like the partially evaporative ones. With the fully evaporative air conditioners, all the condensate is exhausted, and you will never need to dump the accumulated water. If what you want is the liberty to allow them to keep running unattended, then go for them now.

This type of AC is autonomous in its role in removing moisture from the air. If you’re tired of why your portable air conditioner fills with water quickly, then pick this one.

Related Articles: Venting a portable window air conditioner without a window


There are many reasons why your portable air conditioner fills with water quickly, ranging from faults within the AC to the air conditioner’s external environment.

The level of air humidity makes water be generated in excess by your AC. More so, using a fully evaporative portable AC makes draining autonomous, leaving you with enough time for other productive activities.

Please leave us a comment below if you have any questions or concerns.

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Ronald Watford, the owner of Quality Home Air Care, is a qualified HVACR technician and manages the team of expert writers on this site. He believes that educating homeowners about HVAC systems is one of the most impactful aspects of his job.