/ / How To Vent Portable AC In RV: Step-by-Step Guide

How To Vent Portable AC In RV: Step-by-Step Guide

Camping in summer is fun but the season brings extremely high temperatures. If you do not know how to vent portable AC in RV and cool your vehicle, don’t worry, we’ll help you!

In this article, we will be discussing in detail the correct way to do this. Also discover the pros and cons of a portable air conditioner, list what to consider before purchasing it, and discover ways how to keep the air in your RV fresh.

How To Vent Portable AC In RV: Step-by-Step Guide

List Of Tools You Will Need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Drill
  • Wrench
  • Duct tape

Let us walk you through the steps to rightly vent a portable AC. Trust us, after studying the steps you will be close to an expert.

Venting Portable AC Unit In RV

Step 1: Sort Out A Place To Install The AC Unit

People often remove the RV sink to make room for it. Reserve at least 6 to 8 inches of space between the RV wall, and where the AC unit is going to be.

Step 2: Take Accurate Measurements Of The AC And Its Reserved Space

Before starting the installation process make sure you have accurately taken measurements of the portable air conditioning unit and the place it will be fitted.

This is important to avoid obstacles ahead and buy the correct model.

Step 3: Browse The Market To Find The Best Model

It is better not to make a purchase hurriedly. Check out the brand, model’s features, dimensions, and functionality.

Look for a unit that can take the hot air out and eliminate extra moisture in the RV.

Step 4: Gather The Required Tools And RV’s Manual

Gather The Required Tools And RV's Manual

Refer to our “list of tools you will need” section and collect the necessary tools.

You need to have the RV manual with you when you perform the process. It is crucial because you do not want to damage RV’s own parts, wires, and pipes.

Step 5: Cut The Power Off

To make the process safe you must cut off the electrical power to the RV. Use extension cords if needed to power tools.

Step 6: Find The Direction For The Vent

Vents of portable air conditioners that decrease humidity levels should be placed in a low place for the water outlet.

For hot air vents, you can even use the floor as long as it has the hot air is directed outside.

Step 7: Make Sure The Vents Are Protected

Make Sure The Vents Are Protected
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pQBYD57Z8w

You must secure the vents with holders and screw them tight into the RV. It is important otherwise you will risk damaging the vent when on the move.

  • Add insulation for protection and screens to prevent animals from entering it.
  • Tape any holes or opening around the vent.
  • Add screens inside the vent.
  • When using a window to vent, use a dedicated kit to cover the remaining window air conditioner.

Step 8: Plug The Portable AC Unit In And Power It On

Plug the portable air conditioner unit in, turn it on and observe thoroughly if it’s working fine. Check if the vents for properly releasing the warm air out. Check again for any holes.

That is it! You will have an RV portable air conditioner ready for use.

Portable Air Conditioning Units

We will put forward both plus points and downsides of the air conditioning portable units. This way you will be able to decide whether you should purchase the RV AC units or not.

  • Most portable air conditioners are equipped with wheels and are lightweight making them easy to move.
  • Portable air conditioners have timers. You can set them to shut off automatically.
  • Newer air conditioners have a thermostat that maintains a specific indoor temperature.
  • Many portable air conditioners have dehumidifiers, eliminating the excess moisture in RV.
  • Portable air conditioners are available in various sizes.
  • Portable units have minimal maintenance. Only cleaning filters and clearing buckets are required.
  • Many portable ac units have a remote control.
  • Portable air conditioning units do not acquire much space.
  • Portable air conditioners that have multiple features can be expensive.
  • Portable ACs are often noisy.
  • These air conditioners use up a lot of power.
  • The portable ac unit will need proper venting and dedicated space for vent hoses.

Can You Use A Portable Air Conditioner In An RV?

A portable air conditioner is an excellent add-on in an RV. It is extremely useful in summer when you need cold air circulation the most.

Determine the square footage of your RV to purchase the model that will cool it best. Once you have the accurate area of square feet you can use our chart for BTU requirements:

Room Size (Feet)

Area (Square feet)

BTU Levels Required













What To Consider Before Buying Portable AC For An RV

We advise you to thoroughly browse the market and pick a portable air conditioner that goes best with the room it is supposed to cool, the space it will acquire, and its features, size, and weight.

Let’s look have a detailed discussion as to why and what factors you should consider.

What To Consider Before Buying Portable AC For An RV

Square Foot Rating

Square foot rating is important to know because often portable air conditioner models are manufactured to cool air of specifically one room.

When purchasing those one must know the room size in order to get the best result out of the unit.


BTUs determine the cooling capability of the air conditioner. The higher the BTU the stronger the cooling so 150 square feet need 5,000 BTUs while 2,700 square feet need 36,000 BTUs.

This is why you must take into consideration the number of sections in RVs and their sizes for the correct BTU. You must also factor in that the exterior walls do not get direct sunlight.

The windows and doors properly close sealing the cool air and appliances which release heat such as ovens in that room or turned on so it does not affect the cooling.


Take the features into consideration. You should get the maximum out of your investment hence features that will reduce your work and provide you ease are important.

Features you must look for include:

  • Automatic thermostat
  • Dehumidifier
  • Automatic drainage
  • Remote control
  • Energy efficient unit
  • Portable air conditioner/Heater combo
Features of Portable AC


Getting the correct size is a rule of thumb when purchasing a portable air conditioner.

It should fit its designated place in the room but it also must be able to fit other rooms which have extra space so one can take the benefit of the portable options to the max.


Your portable air conditioner should be lightweight, effortless to carry, and movable.

The reason is that moving your portable unit from one section to another section is much easier and more efficient than turning the rooftop unit.


A dependable brand is key when purchasing a portable air conditioner. You must not invest in a knockoff, because a good brand will last long.

Read on for our top picks for air conditioner brands and their models.

Portable AC For RV Options

We have listed our top 4 picks for air conditioner models so we can help narrow your search. Let’s check it out.

1. Midea Smart 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner

Midea Smart 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner


  • Brand: Midea
  • BTU: 12,000
  • Cooling Area: 300 Sq. Ft
  • Power Source: Battery
  • Number of Speeds: 3
  • Voltage: 110 Volts
  • Warranty: 1 year

Midea’s 3-in-1 Portable air conditioner is much loved by its owners. It can cool a 300 sq. ft area and has a 12,000 BTU rating. Its size is 17.13 x 13 x 29.13 inches.

It has 3-speed options and temperature ranges from 62℉ to 90℉. It is easy to install and compatible with both sliding windows and hung.

  • Dehumidifier included.
  • Wifi enabled and can be controlled via an app on smartphones.
  • It can be operated via Google Home or Alexa.
  • LED control panel.
  • Package includes all installation equipment: window kit, vent hose, batteries, etc.
  • Indicator for a dirty filter.
  • 1-year parts and labor warranty by the brand.
  • It can be noisy (56 dB).
  • It can be a little bit heavy (63.9 pounds).

2. SereneLife SLACHT108

SereneLife SLACHT108


  • Brand: SereneLife
  • BTU: 10,000
  • Cooling Area: 400 Sq. Ft
  • Power Source: Electrical Cord
  • Number of Speeds: 3
  • Voltage: 120 Volts
  • Warranty: 1 year

SereneLife like its name provides premium comfort when with its portable air conditioning unit. Its dimensions are 13.4 x 17.4 x 32.1 inches.

It consists of 10,000 BTU and the cold air is good for 400 sq. ft. It is both an air conditioning unit and a heater with 9,000 BTU heating power.

It has 380-meter square per hour airflow and it removes excess moisture at the rate of 1.5 liters/hr from the conditioned air.

  • Very lightweight (56.5 pounds).
  • Remote included.
  • Low noise operation.
  • LED display and touch controls.
  • Washable air filter.
  • Equipped with wheels.
  • The package includes a vent hose and a complete window kit.
  • 1-year warranty.
  • The window mount will need adjustment if the window size is between 26.6-37.4 inches.

3. Black & Decker BPACT08WT

Black & Decker BPACT08WT


  • Brand: BLACK & DECKER
  • BTU: 8,000
  • Cooling Area: 350 Sq. Ft
  • Power Source: Electrical Cord
  • Number of Speeds: 3
  • Voltage: 115 Volts
  • Warranty: 1 year part/labor, 5-year compressor.

Black & Decker is famous for various appliances and portable units of air conditioners are not far behind.

This model has 8,000 BTU, effective cooling of 150 sq. ft room, with a capacity of 350 sq. ft and the coolest setting of 65°F.

Its dimensions are 16.5 x 11.5 x 26 inches. This particular model is compatible with hung and sliding windows.

  • 3-in-1 modes (AC/FAN/Dehumidifier).
  • User-friendly controls with remote and LED display.
  • Easy maintenance.
  • Self-evaporating operation.
  • Easily movable by its wheels.
  • 1-year part/labor warranty.
  • 5-year compressor warranty.
  • Not certified by the state of California.

4. Honeywell HF8CESWK5

Honeywell HF8CESWK5


  • Brand: Honeywell
  • BTU: 8,000
  • Cooling Area: 350 Sq. Ft
  • Power Source: Battery
  • Number of Speeds: 3
  • Voltage: 115 Volts
  • Warranty: 1 year

Honeywell’s name keeps coming up due to the amount of 5-star reviews its window unit AC gets from its satisfied customers.

This model boasts 8,000 BTUs and can cool 350 sq. ft room. The highest setting for temperature is 65°F.

Its dimensions are 13.6 x 16.3 x 28 inches and weigh ‎60 pounds.

  • Filter clean indicator.
  • Dehumidifier included.
  • The package includes complete installation accessories for window units.
  • Washable filter.
  • 1-year warranty.
  • Bowl for collecting condensed water is small. Might need to replace with a bucket.

Does A Portable Air Conditioner Need To Be Vented Outside?

Yes. You will have to vent a portable unit outside.

We do not recommend the unit that is advertised as a “vent-free air conditioner”. If used in a high-humid environment, it will add to the evaporated water in the air.

Warm air inside should also escape outside or else it will keep the interior temperature from lowering down.

How To Vent Your Portable AC With A Window Kit

How To Vent Your Portable AC With A Window Kit
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pQBYD57Z8w

Portable air conditioners can be easily moved around and installing vents on windows are very simple too. Let’s check out the steps:

  1. Place your AC near a hung or sliding window and an electric outlet.
  2. Remove furniture or any obstacle that can block the airflow.
  3. Insert the hose into a hose adaptor/connector and attach it to the AC.
  4. On the other end of the hose add a window adaptor.
  5. Now, insert the slider kit in the window and extend the slider to its size.
  6. Close the window to seal the kit. (The kit might come with screws for extra security)
  7. Attach the exhaust hose to the window kit.

Replacing Portable Air Conditioner Window Kits

Replacing the window kits is very easy. 5 minor steps are all you will need to perform:

  1. Unplug your AC.
  2. Then detach the hose from the window kit.
  3. After that detach the other end from the AC.
  4. You can now take the kit out, and close the slider.
  5. Take the hose adaptors out if you plan on not using the AC soon.

Types Of Air Conditioners For Camper Van

Camper Vans owners now have multiple options when selecting air conditioners. Let’s go over them.

Types Of Air Conditioners For Camper Van

1. Portable Air Conditioners

Portable Air conditioners are convenient for camper vans as they can move around and cool a specific area it is wasteful to use a heavy-duty machine to cool a small space.

2. Roof Air Conditioner

These are attached to RV’s roof. These can chill the vans effectively.

Some units are powered by solar power otherwise, these use up a lot of energy and are not efficient as most use shore power to work.

3. Window Air Conditioner

Window Air conditioners are powerful and chill the space in no time. People have been using these in their vans however they are not made specifically for the vans.

As the design is not made for vans, one must make a custom layout in RVs for it. These are also very bulky.

Other Options For Keeping Cool In A Camper Van

If you are looking for more alternatives to cool your Camper Van, we have that covered. Let’s look at our options.

Other Options For Keeping Cool In A Camper Van

1. Ceiling Vent Fan

Installing a ceiling fan is always advised. It proves to be terrific for ventilation especially if you open the windows it can keep the outside air breeze flowing in.

These can be controlled via remote too.

2. 12-volt Standard Fan

A 12-volt standard fan works well when you need to direct airflow to a specific spot. These use minimal power. These can be plugged into a USD socket and powered by solar energy.

3. Esky Air Conditioner

Esky air conditioners are one of the alternatives for campers because they can cool the air and also store beverages and perishable food.

Although technically it is not an air conditioner it pushes out chilly air due to its internal duct utilizing water and ice to make the air cooler.

4. Vented Windows

Sometimes simple living is best. If you need to lower the temperature in your campers, park them in a shady area where exterior walls do not get direct sunlight and crank the windows open.


Where Do You Vent A Portable Air Conditioner?

You should vent a portable air conditioner through windows. You can vent it through a swinging door, wall, or ceiling as well but windows are your best option.

How Do You Vent Out A Portable Air Conditioner?

You can install window kits and attach a hose to the AC for venting hot air out.

Are There Portable AC Units Without Exhaust Hose?

There are vent-free air conditioners that do not have exhaust hose however we recommend using AC with a vent.

Can You Run A Portable AC In A 30-amp RV?

Yes. 30-amp RV has enough power to run portable ac.

Should Portable AC Vents Point Up Or Down?

AC vents should point up. Hot air will escape from the roof while cold air settles down.

How Can I Keep My RV Cool Without AC?

To keep your RV cool without AC you should park in a shaded area. Keep your windows open at night. Draw curtains during the day and use a reflective coating to protect from sunlight. Use a ceiling fan and try cook outside the RV.


You can now purchase the best-suited portable ACs for your RVs, install them, and vent your RV. To support the cooling take measures such as using fans and covering windows and removing appliances that generate heat.

Let us know in the comments about your experience with the portable ACs so far in the comments below.

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