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Installing an Air Conditioner into a Wall

Air conditioners installed into a wall function the same as window air conditioners: they are single, self-contained units that exhaust heat and humidity from the room to the outside. Louvers (located on either the back or the back and sides of the unit) bring in fresh air. The air runs through coils, which are cooled by the compressor using refrigerant, and then the fan pushes the cool air back into the room. They fit through a hole in an exterior wall, and are generally used to cool a single room. You must install a sleeve in your wall to support the weight of the unit.

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How do I choose a through-the-wall air conditioner?

The three most important things to keep in mind are wall measurements, BTUs and voltage. Wall Measurement An air conditioning unit installed through a wall needs to vent to the outside – so the wall has to be an exterior wall. It is also important to know how thick your wall is – this will help you determine what type of wall air conditioner you can purchase. BTUs (British Thermal Units) BTUs are units of power – the larger the area you need to cool, the more BTUs you need. To calculate the BTUs you need use our BTU calculator. It's important to find the right size. Buying a higher BTU air conditioner than your room size requires is not recommended. It is preferred to have the correct size air conditioner run for longer to properly remove humidity from the room – learn more. Plug Type There are two parts to plug type: voltage and amperage. Most rooms have circuits rated for a total of 15 amps of electricity, and many units have common 125V/15A plugs that can be used in most homes. If you are installing a larger unit with higher than 15 amps and more than 125 volts you may need to call an electrician to upgrade your circuitry. If you are replacing an existing unit, choose an air conditioner with same plug type to determine the right amount of amperage and voltage.

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What are the pros and cons of a through-the-wall conditioner?

A through-the-wall air conditioner is a good choice for cooling a room if you don't want to give up the window or a particular room doesn't have a window. They are reasonably energy efficient and have a large range of capabilities. If you do not have an existing hole in the wall the unit can require professional installation.

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What is an air conditioner sleeve, and do I need one?

A sleeve is the metal device that holds the air conditioner in the wall. You must have one if you are putting an air conditioner through a wall because the wall itself cannot support the weight of an air conditioner. An air conditioner installed into a wall can have a slide-out chassis sleeve or a through-the-wall sleeve. Slide-out chassis air conditioners come as one unit (the sleeve and the chassis) and vent through the sides and back of the unit. They can be installed into a window or wall, and are ideal for walls around 8” thick or less. Learn more about installing a slide-out chassis air conditioner into a wall. Through-the-wall sleeves are a more robust application – these air conditioners are rear-venting and are ideal for thicker walls. Sleeves do not come with through-the-wall air conditioners; you must purchase the sleeve separately. Most sleeves come with an exterior grille, but for some models you can choose different grille options for a different look.

Wall 1

Slide-out chassis air conditioners come as one unit – the chassis and the sleeve. These units vents through the sides and the back of the air conditioner.

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Wall 2

Through-the-wall air conditioners do not come with a sleeve. The sleeve is sold separately. These units only vent through the rear of the air conditioner.

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I have a sleeve, how do I determine which air conditioner is right?

An air conditioner installed into a wall can have a slide-out chassis sleeve or a through-the-wall sleeve. If you are replacing an air conditioner it’s important to first identify the existing sleeve. Through-the-wall Sleeve If the sleeve has a rear grille and the air conditioner only has vents at the back, then you have a through-the-wall sleeve. For replacing an air conditioner for a through-the-wall sleeve – you can purchase any rear venting, or through-the-wall, air conditioner that will fit into your existing sleeve. Here are some standard sleeve sizes from different manufacturers.

Brand Height Width Depth
Friedrich (USC Sleeve) 15 17/32" 25 7/8" 16 23/32"
Amana 15 5/8" 26" 16 7/8"
Carrier (51S Series) 16 7/8" 25 3/4" 18 5/8"
Fedders/Emerson/Friedrich (WSD)* 16 3/4" 27" 16 3/4" or 19 3/4"**
Fedders/Emerson* 15 3/4" 26 3/4" 15"
GE/Hotpoint 15 5/8" 26" 16 7/8"
Whirlpool 16 1/2" 25 7/8" 17 1/8" or 23"
White-Westinghouse/Frigidaire/Carrier (52F Series) 15 1/4" 25 1/2" 16", 17 1/2", or 22"
* If you choose a Friedrich air conditioner to fit into your current Fedders sleeve, you have to have the correct vertical louvers on the rear grille.
Vertical Grille Horizontal Grille
** If your sleeve is deeper than 16 3/4" deep (like a Fedders B sleeve – 19 3/4") – you must order the baffle adaptor kit. Without the kit, the discharged air will re-circulate and cause the compressor overload to trip.

Slide Out Chassis If the sleeve has louvers, or vents, on the back and side of the sleeve, then this sleeve was part of a slide out chassis air conditioner. For replacing an air conditioner for a slide out chassis sleeve you must purchase the exact replacement model for that particular sleeve. Because slide out chassis air conditioners come as one unit (the sleeve and the chassis), the sleeves are not interchangeable. You can usually find a replacement model based off the SKU number located on the side of the unit. If you need additional help call 800.570.3355 to talk with one of our product experts or contact the manufacturer for the exact replacement model. The other option is to purchase a new unit with a similar sleeve size and reinstall a new sleeve.

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How do I install an air conditioner through a wall?

If you need to put a hole in your wall, you will need professional help. If you have a sleeve already installed, be sure to identify your existing sleeve type.

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Do some wall air conditioners have heat?

Yes. There are two different type of heat. Some window air conditioners have electric heat strips and a few have heat pumps – learn more.

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