Window AC / August 28, 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.
There are other bells and whistles that are available on units these days. These can include features like dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the air and antibacterial filters which can remove odors and bacteria. A final issue to consider if you are looking to buy window air conditioner is what sorts of energy saving features the unit might have. You may consider looking for a unit that has an Energy-Star rating. The EPA assigns an Energy-Star rating to air conditioners that meet certain standards for being cost-effective and guaranteeing energy savings. This can help keep your electricity bills and check even during the hottest days of summer.
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.