Certain window air conditioner models can adapt to wall placement with proper support, offering users flexibility in installation based on their preferences and structural considerations.
As summer humidity rises, many turn to window air conditioners for a cool home. But with units often placed indoors, the question arises: must they be in the window?
While the term “window air conditioner” suggests that these units are designed to be installed in a window, they don’t necessarily have to be.
The name comes from the traditional and most common installation method, where the unit is placed in a window opening.
However, some window air conditioners can be installed through other means, such as a specially designed opening in a wall.
Versatile cooling comfort: The efficient installation and functionality of window air conditioners
A window air conditioner is a versatile and efficient cooling solution designed for easy installation and effective functionality.
To install it, you typically place the unit in a window opening, allowing the backside of the device to protrude outside while the front part cools the interior.
Installation usually involves securing the unit in place, sealing any gaps to prevent air leaks, and connecting it to a power source. Most models come with adjustable side panels to fit various window sizes.
Functionally, window air conditioners operate by drawing warm indoor air through the unit, passing it over cooling coils, and then releasing the cooled air back into the room. Simultaneously, hot air and moisture are expelled outside.
Typically designed for installation in windows, certain models can be modified for wall placement when provided with appropriate support.
Whether installed in a window or a wall, these units remain efficient in cooling indoor spaces and offer users the flexibility to choose the installation method that best suits their preferences and structural considerations.
The advantages and disadvantages of window air conditioners
Here’s a table outlining the advantages and disadvantages of window air conditioners:
|Generally more affordable upfront cost compared to central AC or split systems
|Can be less energy-efficient, leading to higher long-term operational costs
|Can be moved between windows
|Limited portability compared to portable AC units; fixed to a specific location
|Suitable for cooling small to medium-sized rooms
|May struggle to cool large spaces effectively
|Relatively easy to clean and maintain filters
|Outdoor components may be harder to access for cleaning and maintenance
|Doesn’t take up floor space; ideal for smaller rooms
|May block natural light and aesthetics of the room
|Energy-efficient models are available
|Generally less energy-efficient compared to central or split systems; may lead to higher energy bills
|Can be quieter compared to some portable AC units
|Can produce noise, especially older or less expensive models
|Blends with the window and doesn’t take up interior space
|Exterior appearance may be less appealing, affecting the building’s overall aesthetics
|Ease of Use
|Simple controls and settings
|Limited control over temperature zones in larger spaces
Please note that the characteristics mentioned above may differ, depending on the brand, model, advancements in technology.
When choosing a window air conditioner, it’s essential to consider your specific needs, the size of the space you want to cool, energy efficiency ratings, and any installation constraints.
Guidelines for proper installation and positioning of window air conditioners
We suggest considering these before starting the installation process:
Check HOA rules first
First of all, ensure you CAN have one! Typically, the HOA might have some rules regarding window air conditioners, that could be easily visible from the exterior of your home, so be sure you’re allowed to install one in your window.
Proximity to electrical outlet
Position the unit near an electrical outlet to ensure easy and safe access to power. Do not use an extension cord for a window unit, as this is a potential safety hazard, and could void the warranty as well.
Avoid heat sources
Keep the air conditioner away from heat sources such as lamps, electronic devices, or appliances. The reason is very simple – they could interfere with the unit’s thermostat, making it work harder to maintain the preset temperature.
Clear intake and exhaust vents
Ensure there are no obstructions in front of the air intake and exhaust vents. So choose a window free of furniture, trees, shrubs, walls, or other obstructions.
Level installation for drainage
Make sure the air conditioner is installed in a level position to facilitate the proper drainage of condensate. Tilting the unit may result in the accumulation of water, potentially causing damage to its components.
Secure the unit in the window using support brackets or other approved methods. This precautionary measure not only minimizes the risk of accidents but also guarantees the stability of the installation.
Weather stripping for efficiency
Use weather stripping or insulation around the unit to minimize drafts and enhance energy efficiency. This can help maintain a more stable indoor temperature.
An obvious thing is that the air conditioner should be oriented toward the room. Set up the unit in a way that directs cool air into the interior space.
Ensure that the front of the air conditioner, where cool air is discharged, faces the room, while the back, where warm air is expelled, faces the exterior.
If possible, we recommend to try to position the air conditioner on the shaded side of your house to reduce the impact of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can increase the load on the unit and decrease its efficiency.
We recommend using this table as a guideline:
|Side of the building
|Optimal choice to minimize direct sunlight exposure; provides consistent shade throughout the day
|A favorable option, especially for cool mornings; minimizes sun exposure during the warmer parts of the day
|Receives sunlight most of the day, but the sun is fairly high overhead
|Gets sun in the latter part of the day, and it is fairly direct in the afternoon
Adapting your window air conditioner for wall installation: A step-by-step guide
While traditionally installed in windows, some models can be adapted for wall installations with proper support.
Here’s a general guide on how to install a window air conditioner in a wall:
Tools and Materials Needed:
- Window air conditioner designed for wall installation
- Support bracket or top shelf (provided by the manufacturer or purchased separately)
- Screws and anchors
- Weatherproof sealant
- Insulation material
|Step 1: Select an appropriate location
|Choose a wall location, while ensuring it is:
|Ensure the wall can support the weight of the air conditioner
|Step 2: Prepare the wall
|Clear the chosen area of any obstructions (furniture, decorations, etc.)
|Ensure you align it with any existing wall sleeves or openings
|Step 3: Install the support bracket or shelf
|Attach the support bracket or shelf using screws and anchors
|Follow manufacturer’s instructions for proper placement and level the bracket
|Step 4: Mount the air conditioner
|Lift the air conditioner (with assistance) and place it on the support bracket or shelf
|Ensure the unit is secure, level, and attach any brackets or flanges provided by the manufacturer
|Step 5: Secure the unit
|Use screws to firmly attach the air conditioner to the support bracket or shelf
|Step 6: Seal gaps
|Apply weatherproof sealant around the edges of the air conditioner to prevent air leaks
|Step 7: Insulate the surrounding area
|Fill gaps between the air conditioner and the wall with insulation material
|Step 8: Connect to power
|Plug the air conditioner, ensuring the cord is securely fastened and safe
|Step 9: Test the unit
|Turn on the air conditioner and confirm proper operation
Please always refer to the specific installation instructions provided by the manufacturer for your particular window air conditioner model.
If in doubt or if you encounter any challenges during the installation process, we recommend to seek professional assistance.