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.
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.
A window air conditioner in my opinion is a last resort for air conditioning your house or building. There are many down sides to window air conditioning units. There are two good things that window air conditioners have going for them. They are very inexpensive when it comes to cost per BTU of cooling. They also install very quickly and easily. That is where the good part of them ends. Window air conditioners are security risks. If a thief wants to get into your house the thin sheet metal box that holds the unit in the window can easily be pulled apart to get in through the window.