Can You Put a Window Air Conditioner in a Wall?

Whether you can install a window air conditioner in a wall depends on a few design decisions.

Window/Wall Air Conditioner

Some window air conditioners are secured to the window by expandable frames.Some window air conditioners are secured to the window by expandable frames.
Many modern window air conditioners are designed in such a way so as to make them amenable to either installation. They have cases that can be removed and secured, and kits or braces that can be used to install them permanently in the wall. Before attempting to install a window air conditioner in to the wall, investigate the specific design of the appliance to see if it will work.

Before making any changes to your air conditioner, consult the manufacturer's website and the user manual to see if it is a dual-purpose unit. Many window air conditioners are designed to make them functional as wall air conditioners. A key feature of wall air conditioners is that their shell or case can be removed and secured in a wall before sliding in the inner chassis and components of the unit. If your window air conditioner is not designed to be placed in the wall, doing so can damage the unit and your wall.

Ventilation Issues

Examine the side of your window air conditioner. A wall is a lot thicker than a window, and your window air conditioner has air louvers or vents on the side of the unit. You will need to measure to ensure these vents will not be obstructed by the wall into which you install the unit.

Installation Features

A Window air conditioner is kept in place by its own weight on the window sill and the outward force of the air conditioner tipping out and being braced against the bottom of a double-hung window. A window air conditioner that can be used as a wall air conditioner will have brackets or flanges that can be installed to take the place of these window components.

Drainage Issues

A window air conditioner is designed in such a way that it possesses a slight slope downward when installed properly. This allows condensate water removed from the air to drain to the back of the unit and fall outside, not flow back into the home. If a window air conditioner is not designed to be placed in the wall and is mounted level, this water may drain back into the home or down inside the wall, causing water damage.

About the Author

Andrew Leahey has been a writer since 1999, covering topics as varied as technology how-to guides and the politics of genetically modified organisms to African food supplies. He is pursuing his J.D. while renovating an 1887 farmhouse located in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.