Is Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner Right for You?
If you are looking for an air conditioner that will cool your room during the hot summer months, you might find thru-the-wall ACs as a good choice.
Bear in mind, that wall air conditioners are suitable for cooling one room and not the whole buildings. Because of cooling only the room where you spend most of the time and not cooling other areas in the house, you can save significant amount of money in comparison to central air conditioner systems.
In comparison to window room air conditioners, wall mounted air conditioners have an advantage of being placed in a stable place where you will not have to worry about removing the unit during the winter months. Besides, you will be able to enjoy your window view and use the window further, since the AC unit will be safety installed into the wall.
How Through The Wall Air Conditioner Works?
In the cooling process, the heat is drawn from the inside of the building to the outside. The compressor sends cooled refrigerant through the evaporator coils, which attracts the heat and moisture from indoors and then the fan blows it out of the room, thereby ‘cooling’ the indoor air.
In the reverse process, when the system operates in the heating mode, the refrigerant is used to create a heated indoor coil. When the air passes over it, fan blows it into the room.
Selecting Appropriate Throuhg-the-Wall Air Conditioner
The most important criteria in selecting appropriate wall air conditioner is the cooling capacity. This depends mainly on the size of the room you would like to cool. However, you should take some other criteria’s in consideration as well.
Regarding room size, the following sizing chart can help you determine your needs.
|Area in Sq.Ft.||Cooling Capacity (BTU)|
Other factors determining how powerful unit you need are related with overall room temperature/heat load. This depends on type of the room (kitchen, living room, garage, server room, attics…), number of heat sources (cooking appliances, electronics, lamps…) and other factors (ceiling height, room insulations…).
Energy efficiency of wall air conditioners is measured by energy efficient ratio (EER), which is calculated as cooling capacity in BTU per hour to power input in watts. Higher EER ratio means more efficient AC unit.
Today’s Federal standards require air conditioners to have an EER rating from 8.0 to 9.8 or greater, depending on the type of AC and cooling capacity. Energy star rated units have even higher ratings and they are at least 10% more energy efficient than the minimum federal government standard. You can read more about Federal and Energy Star standards for EER on the EnergyStar.gov website.
Other Features to Look for
Among other features to look for when buying a through-the-wall air conditioner, you should look for:
- Verify that your electrical system meets unit’s requirements. Most units operate on 115-volt circuits, but some larger rooms may require a 230-volt and dedicated circuit.
- If you will mount your air conditioner in the corner of a room, look for a unit that will be able to direct the airflow in the desired direction. In case of mounting the air conditioner at the narrow end of a long room, look for a function that sends the cooled air farther into the room.
- Check how easily is to access the filter for regular cleaning.
- Other user-friendly functionality, like built-in timer, digital readout for thermostat setting, logically arranged controls, etc.
Installing and Operating Wall Air Conditioner
Proper installation can save you time and money.
Here are some installation and operating tips:
- You should level the AC unit in order to function properly and efficiently.
- If possible, do not place the unit on the sunshine spot of your home, look for north or east side. Direct sunshine lowers AC efficiency by 10%.
- Placement of the unit must take care of not blocking the unit’s airflow, so do not block it.
- Place the AC thermostat where no other heating devices like lamps or TV will surround it, otherwise it will run longer than necessary and your electric bill will be higher.
- Set the thermostat as high as possible in the summer, since the heat goes up and you will cool the room more efficiently than you normally would.
- Do not exaggerate with cooling settings when turning on your air conditioner. It will not help you to cool your room any faster, but it will influence your energy bill.
- In times of low humidity, you should set your fans on high and vice versa. In times of high humidity, you should rather set the fan speed to low for more comfort. Slower air movement on humid days cools your room better and removes more moisture from the air.
- Think of using interior fan in combination with your window air conditioner to speed the cooled air through the home, without greatly increasing the electric bill.