Window AC / August 26, 2018 / Denise Brisette
A wall with simple sheet type siding may be only 6 inches thick whereas a brick or stone wall can be much thicker. So wall air conditioner sleeves have ventilation louvers only in the back to avoid louvers being covered by the wall edges. This limits the amount of ventilation space available in turn limiting how powerful the unit can be. Wall air conditioners generally dont get much over 14000 BTU depending on the brand. So are they interchangeable? This question usually arises when someone needs a lot of cooling power in a room without suitable windows for a window unit.
Side panels fill the gaps on the sides. These are also very thin so most of the sleeve is uncovered and outside. This allows for placement of ventilation louvers on the sides and top allowing free movement of air. This is the primary difference between the two types. The wide availability of louver space allows the unit to move a lot of air and this means window units can be quite powerful up to 3 tons or 36000 BTU. So window A/Cs can be effective for very large rooms. In contrast a wall air conditioner sleeve is designed for a hole through the wall. Walls vary substantially in thickness.
One sees a similar box for a wall air conditioner. Naturally people assume they are the same. But they arent and this article will explain why. The two types share some characteristics. Both span the dividing line from inside to outside allowing all components to be housed in a single box. Therefore both utilize both inside and outside air to perform. Both are designed to condition a single room. But there are differences. Windows are thin and the sleeve for a window unit is designed to take advantage of this. It sits on the window sill with the window closed onto the case to seal the top.