Wall Air Conditioners – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

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Wall AC units are a widely used piece of equipment to cool a home in the US. Depending on the climate, these home appliances can be a cost effective way to stay comfortable in the heat. While these aren’t the best choice for parts of the country that experience extreme heat like the Southwest, they can be the perfect solution for milder areas like New England. So why might you choose one for your home?

One merit of an in-the-wall AC unit is saving space , as it fits neatly into an existing wall opening that’s out of the way. Other AC options can be obtrusive, using up valuable space, and can also be costly to purchase and maintain.

Placing an AC unit in a wall is an excellent way to reduce space used by cooling equipment. These systems can be very effective for keeping areas cool that are 700 sq.ft. or less during warmer months. If you want a quiet and dependable cooling system that’s easily integrated, a wall cooling unit is a smart choice for homeowners.

When you’re looking to buy an in-wall AC unit, doing thorough information collection can help save you money and limit later regrets. A good place to start is by addressing some key concerns, like:

  • Which wall cooling system size should I get ? (How many BTUs)
  • Which brands offer leading TTW AC units ? (GE, Amana, Gree)
  • How to tell when an in wall AC uses less electricity? (EER Rating)
  • What is the best wall AC unit available in 2022?

Learning this info will help ensure you enjoy a smoother selection process. To help out, we wrote the ultimate wall-mounted AC system buyer’s guide. First, let’s dive into the details on these small yet powerful AC systems to help you reap more ROI.

What are the names interchangeably used for Wall AC Units?  

  •  Thru-The-Wall AC 
  •  In-Wall AC Unit 
  •  Wall-Mounted Air Conditioners 
  •  Wall Sleeve AC 
  •  Built-In AC units

Whatever term you might hear being used, just remember that each of these terms is no different from the next. Next, let’s look at the key stats about wall ACs that will give you some of the basic buying guidelines to use in your search.

Wall AC Units Can Cool Up To 700 Sq Ft of Space

One of the most important items to be mindful of when considering a wall AC unit is how much space it can cool. Accurately sizing the system will balance having plenty of power with energy usage. To examine the differences, look at each unit’s BTU rating (cooling output).

How large of a Wall AC Unit is needed?

The EPA recommends that, for energy-savings, you’ll want approximately 20 BTUs of AC output for every square foot of area you’re keeping cold. This means for 400 square feet of area, you will need an in-wall unit that has around 8,000 BTUs of output.

Using this method of calculation, the largest 14,000 BTU unit from GE can keep approximately 700 square feet of space cool in ideal conditions.

That said, if you live in hotter climates, it’s better to opt for a higher BTU unit. Picking a wall air conditioner that can’t keep up is a major concern in these locales. If this is the case for you, you might consider using 22 BTU or even 25 BTU per square foot of space.

Using this equation means that a high quality 10,000 BTU wall AC, such as the GE AJEQ10DWH, can only cool down an area of 200 square feet. While quality certainly counts for AC units, always remember that the BTU rating matters most.

Are you still unsure what BTU through-the-wall AC unit you need? Share your situation in the comments below, and our team will help you determine the BTUs you need.

Wall AC Unit Cooling Capacity Ranges From 8,000 BTU To 14,000 BTU

The cooling capacity of through the wall ACs can be quite impressive. Cooling capacity is the measurement that tells us how well an air conditioner cools a certain amount of space. The cooling capacity of wall ac units is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units).

Wall-mounted AC units with the lowest cooling capacity come in around 8,000 BTUs. For example, this GE 115 volt wall air conditioner has a BTU cooling capacity of 8,000. The largest wall-mounted AC units have a cooling capacity of 14,000 BTUs. One example of a 14,000 BTU cooling power unit is the GE AJEQ14DCH with electric heat.

To give you a point of reference, portable AC units have about the same capacity, but some window air conditioners can reach anywhere from 18,000 to 36,000 BTUs.

It’s crucial to choose the proper size for your through the wall air conditioner. Doing so will not only ensure sufficient cooling power, but the most efficient use of energy as well.

What’s The Heating Capacity of Wall Air Conditioners with Heat Pumps?

If you need a wall air conditioner that’s capable of providing heating, some of them do come with heat pumps. Depending on the type of heater installed in the wall AC unit, you can get supplemental heating (low BTU output) or even primary heat from units with high BTU outputs.

One of the best wall air conditioners that features a heat pump capable of supplemental heating is the heating element AC unit. This 115V air conditioner can deliver 8,000 BTUs of cooling output and 4,200 BTUs of heating in the winter. Considerations should be made if you live in a colder climate for a secondary heat source.

When you need an air conditioner with a heater that can serve as your primary source of warmth in the winter, a wall AC unit with a heat pump can provide a stout 10,000 BTUs of cooling power and a whopping 11,200 BTUs of heating power. Notice that on this air conditioner, the heating output is higher than the cooling output, making it a unique heat-focused wall AC unit. These units require a 208/230V 20A dedicated circuit. 

All of this mentioned, you’ll find that the majority of in-wall air conditioners function for cooling alone. This is something to consider if you’re planning an entire heating and air conditioning solution for your home. Sometimes it’s cheaper to just get one piece of equipment for both heating and cooling.

Choosing the Best Wall Air Conditioner

1. Where Will You Install the Wall AC Unit?

Through the wall AC units are an ideal cooling solution for rooms and buildings that lack duct work, such as a room without a window, garage, or tiny home. Just make sure that when you’re planning the installation you provide ample room around the exterior to allow the air conditioner to draw air into its compressor.

2. How Thick Is Your Wall?

Through-the-wall air conditioners require metal sleeves that hold the units in place, which sometimes come with the unit but other times must be purchased separately. Check that the thickness of your wall is at least equal to or greater than the depth of the AC unit sleeve for a secure installation. Thru the Wall air conditioners have solid sides, as they discharge air from the rear, and can be installed into walls up to 14 3/4″ thick.

3. Electrical Connection Requirements

Most cooling only wall air conditioners you’ll come across only need a standard 110V outlet. However, some high output models could require a 220V power supply that necessitates running new wiring, adding a dedicated breaker, and installing special outlets in your home.

4. Energy Efficiency Ratio

An AC unit’s energy efficiency ratio (EER) helps us understand how much cooling or heating output a unit can deliver for a specific amount of electricity. The higher the unit’s EER, the less energy it uses, resulting in a lower overall cost of ownership with time. In general, you’ll find that many through-the-wall air conditioners have an EER ranging between 9 and 11. 

One of the first things to check when shopping for wall AC units is the EER rating. You can find this number on the Energy Guide Label located on every air conditioner, along with additional energy usage metrics.

Beyond the EER, look for the Energy Star label. This symbol provides a government-backed approval as being high energy efficiency. Energy Star-rated wall air conditioners are an average of 10 percent more efficient, potentially saving hundreds in energy costs each year.

5. With or Without Heat

Along with cooling, some through-the-wall AC units provide heating as well. When heating, heat pump models reverse their cycles to provide warm air indoors. This can potentially eliminate the need for two separate heating and cooling systems. Depending on your climate, you might be able to use the AC unit as a primary source of heat or at least a supplemental source during particularly cold winters.

6. Convenient Usability Features

Aside from strong cooling power and energy efficiency, quality wall AC units will come with convenient features that make usability a breeze. Some of the features you might want to look for include: 

  • Automatically Adjusting Louvers— Louvers can change the airflow direction either up and down or side to side. Some models feature automatic swinging louvers that help move cold air around the space better.
  • Antibacterial Air Filtration— Antibacterial filtration helps inhibit the growth of indoor air contaminants like fungus, bacteria, mildew, and other allergens.  
  • Digital Control Panel— A digital panel will show you more precise temperature settings along with function indications.
  • Fan-Only Mode— This mode will circulate air in your room without using the AC compressor, helping save electricity and to get more life from the system.  
  • Sleep Mode— This mode is designed to provide more comfortable rest by increasing the temperature gradually to account for the body’s natural decline in temperature while asleep. It can also reduce the compressor noise to limit disturbances.  
  • Dehumidifier Function— This function will run the fan at a low speed while intermittently running the compressor to reduce the humidity in the space.  
  • Hand held Remote Control— This would allow you to install the unit higher on the wall to get it out of the way of furniture.  
  • Timer Function— This enables users to set the unit to turn on/off after a given amount of time. Many quality wall AC units offer a 24-hour timer mode. 

7. Smart Control Capabilities

With smart control capabilities, homeowners can control the AC settings from a smartphone. Options may include daily or weekly scheduling in advance, geofencing parameters, and voice commands. Smart AC control systems also help reduce energy usage to save money.

8. Noise Level When The AC Is Running

The average wall air conditioner will emit around 50 decibels of sound, comparable to light traffic noise. Some AC units have a special quiet mode, which limits sound to a scant 30 decibels.

9. Interior Appearance

Check to be sure the wall unit will blend well with your home’s décor. Some units may be a stark white or almond color that could differ from the trim in the room, so take a second look to be certain the colors won’t clash.

10. Easy-Replacement Sleeve

Wall AC units can either come with a slide-out chassis sleeve or a fixed sleeve. When replacement ease is a concern, look for units with removable sleeves.

Now that we’ve covered how to determine the right wall air conditioner for your needs, let’s move on to our lineup of the five best wall air conditioner units.

5 Best Wall Air Conditioners for Your Home

While the above features and factors for choosing a wall AC unit can help narrow the selection field considerably, there are plenty of great options out there. To help you discern the top picks, we’ve put together this list of the 5 best wall air conditioner units for your home.

1

This GE 14,000 BTU wall AC unit delivers exceptional cooling power along with nearly 11,000 BTU of heating output. The wall AC unit features high-quality construction, a 5-year compressor warranty, and digital temperature control.

This wall air conditioner features enough electric heating power to maintain comfortable temperatures for about 250 square feet of space without the help of other heating systems.

Keep in mind that the unit requires a 208/230 volt connection with at least 20 amps. Installing this unit is simple, fitting most existing compatible wall sleeves. That said, if you don’t have one, you’ll need to purchase a new one.

Pros

  • Remote Control
  • 14,000 BTU Cooling Output
  • Digital Controls
  • 10,600 BTU Heating Output

Cons

  • Won’t work with 110V power outlets
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2

With 12,000 BTU output, this through-the-wall AC with heat pump boasts an energy-saving 9.6 EER. The unit provides a digital display, three fan speeds, and a Fan Only Mode to conserve power when it’s not as hot outside. If you live in a more moderate climate, the heat pump will do a great job keeping your space warm with less electricity than wall air conditioners with resistive electric heating. You can also install the unit in any standard-size TTW sleeve, which is sold separately.

Pros

  • Remote Control
  • Power of a Heat Pump
  • Efficient 9.6 EER

Cons

  • Requires a NEMA 6-20 receptacle
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3

This 115 volt GE wall air conditioner is a great option if you don’t already have a 208 volt outlet and would rather not pay an electrician to install one. While most TTW air conditioners require a 208/230 volt connection, this unit from GE delivers a solid 8,000 BTU of cooling from a standard 115 volt outlet. Just slide the unit into the wall sleeve, plug it in, and you’re ready for heating and cooling when you need it.

Pros

  • Remote Control
  • Uses a regular 115 volt outlet
  • E8,000 BTU of Cooling
  • 6,000 BTU Heat Pump

Cons

  • Not energy-star certified, but still has a respectable 9.8 EER
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4

When you want the ultimate in cooling control, GE 10,000 BTU wall AC with WiFi is perfect for you. Sure, remote controls are convenient, but WiFi enables you to turn your AC up or down when you’re away from home. This makes it far easier to customize the amount of electricity you use during the times you’re not home.

If you need a TTW air conditioner with heat, this unit has you covered. There’s 10,600 BTU of heating output from the electric resistive heating so you can keep your space comfortable year-round.

Pros

  • Remote Control
  • WiFi control from anywhere, anytime
  • Powerful 10,600 BTU of heating output
  • Quality construction by a well-known brand

Cons

  • Electric heat isn’t as energy-efficient
  • Requires a NEMA 6-20 receptacle
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5

This Amana 9,000 BTU Through-The-Wall AC Unit is an ideal unit for spaces of all kinds. Featuring a heat pump, this TTW AC unit will efficiently cool a space that’s nearly 400 square feet in size, making it the perfect solution for any she-shed or man cave.

When you want a through the wall air conditioner that’s energy efficient and you live in one of the more moderate climate zones, this unit from Amana is ideal. The digital display makes it simple to set the temperature and forget it, whether you’re in need of heating or air conditioning.

Pros

  • Remote Control
  • Equal heating and cooling power
  • Multiple fan speed feature
  • Comes with a remote control

Cons

  • Doesn’t heat as well in very cold climates.
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Enjoy Air Conditioning The Easy Way

TTW air conditioners are an easy way to get effective cooling fast for your home. We hope this comprehensive guide has helped you uncover which unit will serve you best for years to come. If you’re still not sure which one is best for your home, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at PTAC4Less with any questions. Call or send us an email and we’ll find a solution together!