Window AC / September 7, 2018 / Aubrette Dumoulin
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.
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 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.