These days having an air conditioner is almost a necessity. A through the wall air conditioner, or built in air conditioner as they are otherwise known, could be right for you. As with other in the home air conditioning units, through the wall air conditioners are self-contained and are capable of cooling a few rooms at once.
If you have an open concept home where the living room, dining room, and kitchen are open to each other, then a through the wall air conditioner could be right for you and your budget. Especially if you own your own home and are not financially ready to invest in central or split system air conditioning.
What are the Benefits of Through the Wall Air Conditioning?
As stated above, through the wall units are usually designed to cool off larger spaces. Unlike many older models, today many through the wall air conditioners have a more streamlined design and barely protrude from the wall. My unit is 9 years old and protrudes into the room about 3 inches. A choice I might not have made if there were other options at the time. They are also affordable in comparison to ductless split systems or central air conditioning.
Many of them are wifi capable which you can operate from your cell phone. They have energy saving features like turning off when the room reaches a certain temperature and turning back on when the room starts to warm up again. That could lead to savings on your utility bills.
One of the other benefits is that many of the units come with a chassis which fits right into the wall, and the air conditioner slides right into it. There are no drafts to worry about as the unit fits snugly into its chassis or sleeve. Wall air conditioners are perfect if you don’t have an available window or if you don’t wish to give up your view to have air conditioning.
What are the Cons of Through the Wall Air Conditioning?
The downside to this type of air conditioner is that you need a contractor to install it unless you are experienced at cutting holes through the house yourself. You might also need an electrician if your contractor is not experienced with electrical work.
Some of these units require higher amperage so you might need a particular outlet with a dedicated circuit for your unit. Make sure you see the type of plug for the unit you are buying. The other con is that you can’t take it with you if you decide to move.
How do You Choose a Through the Wall Air Conditioner?
You have to take the same things into consideration as you would if you were buying a window or any other type of air conditioner.
- The size of the area you will be cooling is the most important factor. The width and length of the room are necessary to figure out the correct amount of BTUs that you need. You will also have to add more BTUs if you have high ceilings. The BTU charts only allow for 8-foot ceiling heights. If you have a large family, you also have to add about 500 BTUs for every person above two people.
- All air conditioners have an energy efficiency ratings, but if you can get one that is energy star rated then that is even better. Energy star ratings tend to be higher than energy efficiency ratings and could save you 10 to 15 percent more on energy usage.
- You also have to take into consideration the amount of sunlight that the area you will be cooling gets. If it’s very sunny, you need to add about 10% more BTUs. If the room is very shady due to many trees in the yard, you can take away 10% of the BTUs.
- The thickness of the wall you will be putting the air conditioner on is also essential for buying the right unit. Some units are better for thicker walls.
- The placement of the unit is crucial, especially if you are cooling a large area that consists of more than one room.
- Your budget. You will have to hire someone to install it and possibly an electrician too. You should get estimates for that cost before you buy your through the wall air conditioner so you have an idea of what your total cost will be.
What are the Different Types of Through the Wall Air Conditioners?
Slide Out Chassis air conditioners are one unit The air conditioner slides out of the chassis which is then installed in the wall and then the air conditioner is pushed back into the chassis. These are better because they are sold as one unit. The drawback is if you have to replace it you must get the particular unit for that chassis. You will have to call the manufacturer to find out which unit will fit that chassis if the unit you originally purchased is no longer available
Sleeves. The other type of air conditioner requires a sleeve to install through the wall. Most through the wall air conditioners do not come with sleeves so it will have to be purchased separately. Units that use sleeves vent through the back so are better for thicker walls. Sleeves are a little more sturdy than chassis.
Now that you know the pros and cons of through the wall air conditioners are you ready to buy one? Here is some information about a few LG and Frigidaire models. LG is considered one of the top manufacturers of air conditioners today. The two air conditioners below are LG air conditioners.
LG Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner LT1036CER is 9,800 BTU with 3 cooling and fan speeds so you can use the setting that is comfortable to you, 4-way air direction so you can direct the air where you need it and a remote control you can use without ever leaving your chair. It has an energy saving feature which shuts the unit down once the room reaches the desired temperature and automatically turns back on when the temperature starts to go back up.
The unit automatically restarts in the event of a power failure. It removes 2.9 pints of moisture per hour from the room to control humidity. It has digital touch controls and a 24 hour on/off timer so you can set your wall air conditioner to have the room nice and cool when you get home.
This air conditioner has a 10.7 energy efficiency rating and cools 400 to 450 square feet of space. There is also a filter alarm which alerts you when the filter needs to be cleaned. It operates on 230 volts which means it will require a dedicated circuit. You will need a contractor and/or an electrician to install this air conditioner. This unit does not come with the sleeve so it will need to be purchased separately.
It has 2 cooling and 2 fan speeds and comes with anti-corrosion protection to protect your unit from the elements. Other than these two items it has all of the features of the other unit. If heat is a problem for you in the winter, you might wish to consider this unit instead.
Frigidaire is also regarded as one of the top air conditioner manufacturers. These units have many good reviews from retailers and consumers alike. The next four units are Frigidaire air conditioners.
1) Frigidaire FFTA1233Q2 12,000 BTU Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner with Temperature Sensing Remote Control
Frigidaire Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner FFTA1233Q2 is a 12,000 BTU through the wall or built in air conditioner that operates with a regular 115V household outlet so there is no need for an electrician unless you are placing it in an area where you have no outlet.
It will fit most wall sleeves and comes with a standard interior wall trim kit. It cools an area of 500 to 550 square feet. There are 3 cooling and 3 fan speeds so you can have the amount of air flow to suit your needs, 4-way air direction to cool the areas that need it most and it comes with a remote control. Easy to read electronic panel allows you to select options with the touch of a button.
It removes 3.3 pints of moisture from the room per hour. It has a 9.8 energy efficiency rating, low power start-up conserves energy, the unit restarts automatically after a power failure and has a 24 hour on/off timer. Frigidaire models also have a reputation for being quieter than other built-in air conditioners.
Frigidaire Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner FFTA1233U1 is also a 12,000 BTU air conditioner and has almost all of the same features of FFTA1233Q2 except that it also has a heat function and cost about $** more.
If you need a supplemental heat source in the winter, this unit might be for you. This air conditioner has 3 cooling speeds 3 fan speeds and 3 heat speeds. This can replace that space heater you drag out in the winter and is probably more energy efficient. It removes 3.5 pints of moisture per hour. This unit has a 9.5 energy efficiency rating. It is a 230-volt unit which means it will need a dedicated circuit.
3) Frigidaire FFTA1422R2 14000 BTU Through-The-Wall Air Conditioner with Temperature Sensing Remote Control
Frigidaire Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner FFTA1422R2 is a 14,000 BTU through the wall air conditioner. It has all of the features of the FFTA1233Q2 model above except that it cools an area of 650 to 700 square feet, and it removes up to 4.3 pints of moisture from the air per hour. Unlike FFTA1233Q2, it runs on 230 volts and requires a dedicated circuit which you’ll need an electrician for. It has a 9.5 energy efficiency rating.
Frigidaire Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner FFTH1422U2 is also a 14,000 BTU air conditioner which covers 650 to 700 square feet of space.
If you need a supplemental source of heat in the winter, this unit could be what you are looking for. There is about an $80 dollar difference between this unit and the one without heat. This air conditioner has a 9.3 energy efficiency rating and has 3 cooling speeds, 3 fan speeds, and 3 heat speeds. Other than that it has all of the features of the Frigidaire 12000 BTU air conditioners. It is a 230-volt unit which means it will need a dedicated circuit.
How Do You Install a Through the Wall Air Conditioner?
One of the drawbacks of a through the wall air conditioner is that you have to hire a contractor to install it for you unless you are a contractor yourself. An experienced contractor will be able to make sure that there are no wires or pipes where he will put the opening and reroute them if there are. You might also have to hire an electrician if your contractor does not do electrical work
Through the wall air conditioners or built in air conditioners can be a great buy if you cannot afford or do not wish to install a central air conditioning system or a ductless split system. The idea that you can cool off an entire open concept living space without the hassle or expense of having your walls and ceilings ripped open for ducting is great. It is an affordable alternative to central air conditioning. You can also supplement with ceiling fans to extend its capabilities. The only downside is that it’s permanent and that you can’t take it with you when you sell your home. With proper maintenance, they can last a long time. I have a through the wall air conditioner for 9 years and it is still going strong.
If you are still unsure which conditioner to buy, you can read my article about buying a portable air conditioner by clicking here.
If you would prefer one for a window, you can read my article about window air conditioners by clicking here.