Benefits of installing a through-the-wall air conditioner
There are a few very specific benefits to opting for a through the wall air conditioner. The main one is that they are easy to install. They don’t need you to deal with a bunch of ductwork as you would with a central air unit. These models also leave your windows free, so you can open and close them as needed on those days when the air conditioner is not running, giving you some fresh air to breathe.
Because they are installed right into the wall, you also don’t need to remove them when the weather gets colder. This way, you can use it all year round if needed. They don’t stick out into your room, and many of them run rather quietly, so you won’t even notice it until you need to change a setting.
The best-rated through the wall air conditioner units are also energy-efficient since they have a tight seal, locking the cool air in and the warm air out. Many of them, like the Keystone KSTAT10-2HC, even include heating systems, so you can use it to warm up your home on those cooler days.
Features to consider while choosing a through-the-wall air conditioner
If you’re interested in the best through the wall air conditioner but aren’t sure what to look for, check out the following sections. These cover the features such units have to offer.
BTU stands for British thermal unit. This rating determines how quickly and efficiently a through the wall air conditioner can cool the room you have it in. Most units range from about 5,000 to over 20,000 BTUs.
To figure out the proper BTU level for your home, you need to look at the size of the room you’re trying to cool. The larger the room, the more BTUs you’ll need. If the rating is too low, the air conditioner will run constantly to try to reach the temperature level you’ve chosen. If it’s too high, it will cycle off and on repeatedly throughout the day, which can damage the compressor
You also need to consider where you’ll be using the unit. If the room gets quite a bit of direct sunlight, you should add 10% to the recommended BTU for that room size. Little to no sunlight means removing 10% of the BTU since these rooms will be generally cooler. The kitchen is where most of the heat comes from since it’s where you do the cooking, so an extra 4,000 BTU is best for these areas.
The coverage area goes hand-in-hand with the BTU since the room size determines the proper rating. That’s why you need to measure the size of the room you’ll be using the machine in to ensure it will work properly to cool down that area. The larger the room, the more powerful your new unit will need to be.
For instance, the COOPER AND HUNTER Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner has a recommended coverage area of 700 square feet. This size needs about 14,000 BTUs to stay cool, so the 14,700 BTUs offered by this unit will work well in a room of this size. Smaller rooms don’t need as much power as it takes less cool air to keep them comfortable.
The speeds offered by a through the wall air conditioner unit can help you cool down the room fast and maintain it throughout the day. Most models, like the LG LW8016ER, have three speeds: low, medium, and high. The high speed cools down the room quickly, which is a must on those extra hot days. When you’re preferred temperature is reached, you can then lower it down to the medium or low settings to maintain this speed.
These settings are usually offered in both the cooling and the fan settings, so you can alter the airflow for cooling it down or just circulating the air.
All of the air conditioners on our list use either 115 or 230 volts. The lower voltage is for smaller units, like the Frigidaire FFRH0822R1, which have lower BTU ratings and draw less power to run. These air conditioners can operate off of the normal household outlets just like a TV, or a lamp would use.
Higher BTU units require higher energy use, so they need a 230V outlet that can handle a higher electrical current. These are normally used for appliances like dryers or ovens, so you may not have one of these in a bedroom or living area. If you need a more powerful air conditioner unit to cool down these areas, you may need to bring in an electrician to add a 230V outlet to these rooms.
If there’s a heat function
Through the wall air conditioners stay in place even when the seasons change, so it only makes sense to get one that can be used for longer than just the summer months. During the spring and fall, it can get a bit chilly, so having a unit with a heating function can make them a bit more worthwhile to install. The Keystone KSTAT10-2HC has a heating system installed right in the unit, so all you need to do is select the heat mode for it to warm up the room it’s in. This means you don’t need to fire up your furnace if it’s only a bit cool, plus they can supplement your home heating systems if needed when the weather gets colder.
Even though these air conditioners are installed right in the wall of your home, you should still consider the dimensions of the unit before buying one
If you have a lot of windows, this leaves little wall space for the air conditioner to fit, so you need to plan carefully when finding a place for it, especially since it needs to be installed in an exterior wall for proper venting. The bigger it is the more wall space it will take up, so make sure you have a spot for it near an outlet before you start cutting into your wall.
Thankfully, these units do come in varying sizes, so it should be rather easy to find one that is powerful enough to cool down your home, plus has all the features and modes you’re looking for, without taking up more space then you have available.
When buying a new through the wall air conditioner, one of the most important features to look at is the warranty. This will tell you exactly what parts are covered and for how long, which is essential if the unit isn’t working as it’s supposed to. Some models, like the Koldfront WTC10001W, have a set warranty for the entire unit. Others have specific warranties for different areas. The COOPER AND HUNTER Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner is one of these, with a 10-year anti-corrosion warranty, 7-year limited on the compressor, and 5-year limited on the parts. Be sure to check out exactly what is covered and for how long, just in case some repairs or a replacement machine are in your future.
There are a few extra features that can make a through the wall air conditioner even better. One is a remote control, so you can change the settings from anywhere in the room. The control panel should be easy to use, with the settings and modes all clearly displayed. The unit should be easy to install as well, even for those doing it for the first time.
A few extra modes are handy for these units. These include the Energy Saver mode, which turns it on and off to maintain the temperature rather than running constantly. Sleep mode allows it to slowly raise the temperature during the night then cool it down again before you wake up. Some dehumidification also helps increase the comfort of your home by getting rid of some of the humidity.
Another thing to look for is energy efficiency. These models may be running on and off for months at a time to cool you down and even longer if they include a heater as well. Be sure it has some sort of energy-efficient certification, so you know it won’t add too much to your energy bill.
How to install a through-the-wall air conditioner
Every through the wall air conditioner is different, so the following instructions are basic ones to go by. Be sure to check out the instructions for the unit you buy, in case there are any extra steps not listed here.
- Choose a spot on the exterior wall that is 1-5 feet above the floor to minimize dust and condensation.
- Mark the wall studs to prevent cutting through more than is necessary when cutting the hole.
- Measure the width of the unit and mark the wall at the best place using the stud marks, using an outline that is 2.5 inches larger than the unit on all sides.
- Turn off the room’s power in the electrical panel.
- Cut the hole carefully in the wall, removing the drywall and the wall studs.
- Construct a frame using 2×4’s to support the machine in the wall and insert it in the wall opening.
- Slide the sleeve into the frame and then insert the AC unit.
- Use the leftover drywall pieces or new drywall to patch any exposed areas.
- Turn the power on, plug in your unit, and enjoy the cooling air.