Window AC / September 23, 2018 / DixieLemieux.
The answer is It depends on the wall thickness. Sleeve specifications for some window air conditioner manufacturers include the maximum wall thickness before it will cover part of the louvers. For example Amanas 18000 BTU models have a max of 8.5 inches. If the wall thickness is at or below that these models can be used in as a wall air conditioner without adversely affecting function. So whats the problem if the wall covers a little of the louvers? Two things: 1) restriction of air movement and therefore reduced efficiency and 2) these units pull air in very powerfully. Cut wall edges could become loose allowing material to be sucked into the unit and potentially causing damage.
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.
The most commonly used air conditioners are window air conditioners. This is due mostly to the fact that they are the cheapest alternative when it comes to cooling our homes. But there are other reasons also. For example they install in a window out of the way. Install it and forget it. These units are also available with electric heat options. Window air conditioners were once so noisy that they were nicknamed window bangers. This term was very accurate and well deserved. However todays window air conditioners are very different from the ones many of us learned to hate.
Window air conditioners come in various sizes and it is important to choose the one that best fits the size of your room and needs of the user. The first thing to consider is to the rooms size. Using an climate control unit calculator or using the Energy Star chart for choosing a properly sized cooling appliance. For the average 150-250 square foot room youll need a climate control unit that has a capacity of 6000 BTUs. If you have rooms that flow into one another with archways or open doorways youll need to include the square footage of the adjoining room when calculating the capacity necessary to cool the area. Outside of square footage it is important to consider the climate of the room you wish to cool with an air conditioner.