A through the wall air conditioner has advantages and disadvantages compared to other types of air conditioners. This article will focus on the problems a through the wall system can bring you. The three main problems represent cutting out the hole in the wall, the sleeve and the insulation techniques required. If done right, none should present a problem. However, if not properly attended to, they will give you some serious headaches.
While choosing a through the wall air conditioner might seem to pose many advantages over a window mounted unit, cutting away a part of your wall in order to install the through the wall air conditioner is a challenge. But if the advantage of having windows free and clear is an advantage you treasure, get your electric saw ready.
The trouble that might arise from a miscalculation or a mishap while cutting through your walls is that you might also cut through electrical cables or pipes that might be running within your walls.
Exactness is a skill that is required if you are adamant about going through with this process and if you are a wing-it or solve the problem as it comes along kind of person, the end result might be a catastrophe worse than having an air conditioner that blocks your windows. Plan for the location of the hole to be central to the room where it could easily cool the room but not so close to a window as to be affected by ventilation when the window is open.
Once you have the hole, you’ll need to insert a sleeve, as the wall itself cannot fully support the weight of the air conditioner unit. The sleeve should be exactly the right size for the hole, on the outer frame, and the right size for your air conditioner unit in the inner frame. Getting a bigger sleeve means it won’t fit in your wall.
Get a smaller one and it won’t provide the grip in the wall necessary to hold the air conditioner unit in place and will also need serious insulating on the sides. Be sure to have your exact dimensions both for the inner frame and the outer one when going to buy or to make a sleeve, or you will end up with a sleeve that doesn’t fit. This leads us to the next problem.
Assuming you got your hole done and your sleeve in place, the chances that both your hole and the sleeve would fit exactly into place are very low. This means you will need insulation. Using insulation foam or other insulation material, carefully insulate the edges, because a badly insulated edge will leave a free passage for air flow right into your house. Carefully insulate every little hole and crack to make sure no heat gets out or cold air gets in.