Window AC / September 16, 2018 / Denise Brisette
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.
Another huge improvement in window air conditioners is in their appearance. Older models did not blend in very well with their surroundings. They were usually some shade of brown and looked like there was a box in your window. Window air conditioners today are much less obtrusive and look less like boxes. Corners are rounded and colors are much lighter. This gives them a much sleeker look. As with most things once they have been around for awhile cost become more reasonable and less of an obstacle. A window air conditioner can be purchase for less than two hundred dollars and often not much more than one hundred dollars. Of course this is for smaller units. Costs go up as the cooling capacity of the unit increases.
Window units of today are very quiet and their efficiency has improved a lot also. In fact these units are so quiet that you can hardly even hear them operating. Window air conditioners have the same components as a central air conditioner but they are all installed in small cabinet. The biggest and most important difference is that they dont have to cooling capacity of central units. But they also dont cost as much to operate either. If you only want to cool one or two rooms then window air conditioners are a perfect choice. However if you want to cool your entire home a central air conditioner is the best alternative.