Window AC / September 11, 2018 / Jacqueline Bizier
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.
So what you should do? The best thing to do is to check out the sound levels on your window unit before you make your purchase. All air conditioners come with labels specifying the decibels generated by the unit. A high number means a loud machine. For example a unit with a rating of 50 Decibels is 10 times louder than one rated 40 Decibels. The smartest thing to do is to go to a big box store like Target or Walmart and listen to an air conditioner before you buy it. Even if you are looking at a different brand it is important to get a sense of how loud the Decibel ratings are for you. You can do this best by listening to different ac units running.
To help make that decision more clear I will explore some of the positives and negatives of the two major options. Ductless split type units are also becoming more of an option. I will do another article on that option. To include that in this article would just be more confusing. So for now we will just look at window air conditioners and central air conditioning. Central air conditioning is the best way to go if you already have a central hot air heating system already installed in your house or building. The advantage that you have is that you already have the air handler or blower part already installed.