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Do you desperately need an air conditioner in your house but realized that a window unit isn’t going to work? Well, there is no need to worry. There are plenty of equally effective appliances that fulfill the same purpose. One of the most popular ones is through the wall air conditioner. There are many benefits to installing a through the wall air conditioner, all of which we will outline in this article along with a step-by-step guide on how to install it.
What Is a Through the Wall Air Conditioner?
A through the wall air conditioner is an AC unit designed to be installed, as its name implies, through a wall of your choice in your home.
Benefits of through the wall air conditioners
- Long-term solution: because the air conditioner is built through the wall, you can rest assured that it will be there for a long time. Take for example window air conditioners, they have to be stored during the winter months and installed back on during the summer. This makes it inconvenient and a lot of work, while a through the wall air conditioner will stay put for any and all seasons.
- Energy efficient: an average size air conditioner that is installed through the wall doesn’t spend much energy. This keeps you comfortable and cool while also keeping your wallet cool because of the lower monthly expense.
- It can double as a heater: in addition to air conditioning, some through the wall air conditioners also feature heating options. This is incredibly convenient since if you live in an area where all four seasons are present throughout the year, you can use this low-cost air conditioner as a heater too.
How to Install a Through the Wall Air Conditioner
Installing a through the wall air conditioner might seem intimidating or a long process; you may even think that you require professional help to do it. We’re here to tell you that you can do it yourself with a “can-do” attitude and some handy tools. Below we have written a step-by-step guide on how to install a through the wall air conditioner in your home.
Step 1: Prepare your tools
Before embarking on any home project, the first thing you need to do is assemble all of the necessary tools needed to carry it out. This is not only efficient, but will also make sure that the project is finished faster and smoothly. Here are some important tools that you need in order to install an air conditioner through the wall:
- Sleeve (or Bracket)
- Silicone caulk
- Caulking gun
- Stud finder
- Measuring tape
- Circular saw
- Pry bar
- Hand saw
- Drills and drill bits
- 2 x 4 pieces of lumber
- Utility knife
- Drywall knife
- 1 sheet of drywall
- Drywall compound
Step 2: Select a suitable spot
If you already have the room in mind, great. Now, take a look around the room to decide in what area you want to install the air conditioner. You should consider three things when picking a spot for the AC unit:
- Find a spot with the most aesthetic appeal.
- Find a spot near an electrical outlet.
- Find a spot where you think the air conditioner will make the most impact.
The air conditioner must be 1 to 5 feet above the floor in order to minimize the dust and debris that goes into the air filters and also avoid condensation forming on the ceiling that would happen if it was installed too high.
Step 3: Find the wall studs
Wall studs are the 2 x 4 pieces of lumber that support the wall, which are approximately 16 inches apart. After choosing a spot for the air conditioner, you have to mark the wall studs in order to know where you can cut through the drywall. To make the job easier, make sure to reduce the number of wall studs you have to remove. You can use two methods in order to find the wall studs, whichever one you find easier:
- Tap the wall until the sound switches from hollow to solid. Then, hammer a small nail into the wall to confirm the right spot. If you have found the wall stud, good. If not, no worries, try again.
- Use a stud finder.
After you locate about 4 wall studs, mark an x on the drywall with a pencil. Then, measure the width of the air conditioner and transfer the measurements where the wall studs were marked. The air conditioner should come with its own installation kit guide that can help you tape it onto the wall and trace its outline. If not, then this is where we use the bracket. Position the bracket on the wall so that you cut as little wall studs as possible.
Step 4: Switch the power off
Find your house’s breaker box and switch off the breaker that controls the power of the room. This step is important to be safe because you’re going to be cutting through the wall and may come in contact with electrical wires. You will still need power for your drill and saw; in that case, you can just run an extension cord from another room with power.
Step 5: Make the hole
Using the bracket from before, trace its outline so you can create an opening for the air conditioner to go into the wall. Use the level to make sure the outline is leveled on the wall. To have enough room to build a supporting frame for the air conditioner unit, mark another outline that’s 2 ½ inches larger than the other outline. The supporting frame will be made of the 2 x 4 lumber pieces. After this, take your drywall knife and start cutting the outline while making sure to cut some vertical lines above the wall studs. Then, take the hammer and knock the center of the cut outline to make it pop out. Get rid of all the drywall pieces so now you have only the wall studs.
Step 6: Build the frame for your air conditioner
To build a frame for your air conditioner, first measure the width of the hole in the wall and transfer that result to two 2 x 4s, and then cut them to the matching length. Measure the height of the hole in the wall and subtract the thickness of the two 2 x 4s, then cut them to the matching length as well. Take the four pieces of 2 x 4 lumber and nail them together in order to form a frame. Take the frame and try to secure it in the wall opening by nailing it to the wall studs.
Step 7: Make a hole in the exterior wall
Take your drill and cut four holes in four of the corners of the interior frame that go through the exterior wall. These holes will be useful to guide you on where to cut the exterior wall. Take your level and pencil and use them to draw four straight lines that connect the drill holes of the exterior wall. Then, take your circular saw and cut the exterior material in order to have a perfect match between the exterior and interior holes.
Step 8: Install your AC unit
According to the instructions manual, slide the bracket into the wall opening and secure it in place. Input the air conditioner into its sleeve while securing it into the bracket. Then, take the power cord and plug it into the closest electrical outlet.
Step 9: Finalize installation
To finalize the installation, use the new drywall to patch and cut any exposed areas around the air conditioner. If there are any, nail them in place with drywall nails. If there are any gaps or holes, touch them up using the drywall knife and drywall compound. To match the color of the room, prime and paint the new drywall the same color. To prevent any air from seeping in or out of the home, take your caulking gun and silicone caulk to lay a thick layer of caulk on the edges of the air conditioner on the exterior and interior of the house.
Step 9: Restore power
All that’s left to do is switch the power back on of the breaker box in order to restore power to the room. Test out your brand new air conditioner and enjoy the cool air!
Any home improvement project that you decide to take on might seem intimidating at first, but with some basic knowledge and a guide, magic can happen! If with that, you still don’t fill comfortable enough, what’s the big deal? Just turn to a professional!