How Long Can You Run A Portable Air Conditioner Continuously?


Keeping cool in the summer months is a priority for many. There isn’t much worse than being unable to escape the heat, even indoors. One answer to your temperature-related problems is to purchase a portable air conditioner that keeps you cool whenever and wherever. 

But how long can you keep it running?

Most air conditioners, whether portable or stationary, have a cut-off time. You can’t constantly run them all day without risking damage to the unit. Here, we examine the run times for portable air conditioners and how to optimize your use. 

How Long Can a Portable Air Conditioner Run Continuously?

Though this answer may come as a surprise, there isn’t any limit to how long you can keep your portable air conditioner running. Some systems will have cut-off mechanisms for when the thermometer senses that the room has reached the ideal temperature or for energy-saving purposes.

It isn’t the continuous use that can prove damaging to your portable AC, but the frequent turning off and on. The start-up is the process that requires the most energy from the device, whereas continuous use doesn’t drain the system as much. 

You can see the impact of the start-up on the system reflected in how many manufacturers’ warranties are structured. Typically, they emphasize how many times the AC unit has started up rather than the hours of continuous use. With the proper maintenance, you can expect to get around ten years of use out of your portable AC unit.

EcoFlow WAVE Portable Air Conditioner—Cool Air That Lasts

The WAVE from EcoFlow is a next-generation portable air conditioner that offers longer-lasting cool air. Depending on your battery, you can keep it running for up to twelve hours at a time without recharging. 

The WAVE optimizes performance thanks to the unique way it switches between fan and cooling settings as it operates. And, EcoFlow has designed the WAVE to redirect water from the heating tube. The result is prolonged run time and a cool space that stays perfectly dry. 

Is It Better to Run the AC Continuously or in Intervals?

You might feel tempted to give your portable AC unit ‘a rest’ now and again so that it doesn’t wear itself out. However, with the above information in mind, it’s better to keep it running continuously. 

We understand why this might sound unusual to you, given that other appliances often require some downtime, but AC units operate differently. Repeatedly turning your AC unit off and on will put significant stress on the compressor, ultimately resulting in wear and tear and shortening the AC’s lifespan. 

The potential damage from interval use is why portable units like the EcoFlow WAVE come with optional cycles. You can alter your runtimes or blast cold air without damaging the system. 

Can I Leave my Portable Air Conditioner Running All Day?

In most cases, yes. Not only is continuous use better for the health of your unit, but it won’t cost you any excess energy. Most AC units will automatically turn themselves off once the room is at the desired temperature, but this isn’t the same as shutting down entirely. If the temperature rises again, your AC unit will spring back to life to adjust to your preferences. 

Ordinarily, leaving electrical appliances on all day is a big no-no, both from an environmental and financial perspective. Air conditioners consume loads of energy, increasing your carbon footprint and utility bills. But there are ways to make air conditioning less environmentally damaging

The EcoFlow WAVE is one solution. With the option of using a solar generator to operate, it lets you stay cool using clean energy. It’s great for your wallet and the environment.

Factors to Consider Before Leaving Your Portable AC Running All Day

Though leaving most portable AC units running all day is perfectly acceptable, here are some factors you should consider:

Your Energy Consumption

If you’re feeling the pinch with your finances, your energy bill is probably one cause for concern. Running your AC unit continuously may prolong the unit’s lifespan, but depending on how your portable AC operates, it could prove costly from a financial perspective.

The amount it costs to keep your portable AC unit running for extended periods will vary between brands. Try to look for energy-saving units or solar-powered units like the EcoFlow Wave

Maintenance Schedule

While your AC may be surprisingly self-regulating, it’s still an electrical device that requires maintenance now and again to stay in top health. One particular reason for this is the amount of dust and impurities in the air that your AC will be constantly exposed to. The filters must be cleaned regularly — preferably once a month at least.

As often as possible, try to dust down your unit with a microfiber cloth or similar cleaning tool to reduce the possibility of clogging. Though this may seem like simple housekeeping, a dust build-up can prove hazardous and may prevent your unit from working entirely. Don’t take the risk; tackle that dust head-on!

Your Room Size

The bigger the room you are trying to cool down, the longer it will take to reach your desired temperature. Most portable AC units go through cycles between fifteen and twenty minutes, with rest times in between.

When looking to keep your large spaces cool, be realistic with your expectations. One portable AC unit may not be able to handle a large room all by itself. You may have to double up or opt for a more powerful device. 

Keep Windows and Doors Closed

Leaving windows and doors open during the warmer months can cause your room to become hotter. All the warm air from outside will replace any cool air within your home. 

The hot air circulation effectively ruins any attempt to cool your room via your AC. Any cool air the unit pumps out will go out the window, replaced by the hot air from outdoors. To help your device operate satisfactorily and maintain a consistent temperature, keep all windows and doors closed and let your unit get to work. 

Your AC Placement

Where you place your unit can significantly affect its efficiency. You should avoid placing it in direct sunlight to prevent it from getting too hot. Sun exposure will force it to work much harder and may even lead to technical issues further down the road.

You should also try to place it near a window, even if it isn’t a window unit. Though we mentioned above that the windows should remain closed while the AC is operating, there is still an opportunity for ventilation beneath a window. The air circulation will help the unit regulate its temperature while enabling a more accurate room temperature reading. 

Potential Heat Sources

An AC unit’s entire purpose is to cool your room’s temperature to your desired comfort level. This task is significantly more challenging if multiple heat sources exist within the space, effectively fighting against the AC. It can cause the cooling process to take far longer than it needs to and put excessive, undue pressure on your unit.

Any electrical device can release heat into a room. Turn off anything that you aren’t using, no matter how small or insignificant of a device it may be. It all adds up and makes cooling the room much more difficult. And you’ll save money on your electricity bill! 

How Long You Will Be Out of the House

It’s worth reflecting on whether you need the unit to run “all day.” Are we talking about the working day, typically nine to five? Are we talking twelve hours, from eight until eight? Or do you mean from sunrise to sunset? 

The amount of time you plan to be out of the house is vital to consider when leaving your AC on continuously. Although it is safe to leave an AC unit running continuously, your money is unnecessarily flying out the window if you’re not there to enjoy the cool air.


You can leave your AC unit running for as long as you like, and yes, you can leave it continuously running. However, there are numerous factors to consider before doing so, including those outlined above and your unit’s unique specifications. Portable AC units can be game changers in hot weather, but only when used appropriately! For the ultimate portable air conditioner, shop EcoFlow. Our WAVE Portable AC keeps you cool the eco-friendly way. It’s the longest-lasting solution on the market and will keep your utility bills and temperature down. Now that’s a reason to smile — shop EcoFlow for a better way to stay cool.

EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.

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