Thread Number: 76120  /  Tag: Air Conditioners
Wall AC pros and cons
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Post# 999608   7/7/2018 at 11:06 by jkbff (Happy Rock, ND)        

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I am still battling my issues of cooling the house down... I have a 3 floor duplex that doesn't have central ac. I took the sliders out of three of the windows and built wall ac's into the opening of the window and made an insulated wall where the glass would go.

I have now acquired enough GE AJCQ12DCG units and sleeves for each of the rooms and am deciding if I should pull the trigger and just have them installed in the walls and call it a day?

Are there really any disadvantages for having the hole cut into the wall? Am I going to have drafts etc?

My ac's are cool only and the baseboard heater has to be disconnected for the AC to be plugged in. I've converted them all to outlets and plugs so I have easy access to 220. I live in south west North Dakota so it gets cold in the winter. I know a lot of houses up here have wall acs and all of the hotels have wall acs or ptacs, am I just over thinking this?

In the kitchen I am pulling the 12k GE and putting a 28k Frigidaire... The 4 bedrooms would have the 12k GEs and I might put something down in the garage down the road.

All I would really have invested in this is the labor and materials to have the contractor install them.

If I wanted to add central air some day, would these holes be easy to patch?

I thought I would ask here to get your input. I know I'm just over thinking and obsessing like normal.

Anyways, thanks for reading.

Post# 999618 , Reply# 1   7/7/2018 at 13:25 by neptunebob (Pittsburgh, PA)        
Think about the looks...

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You say that you have eliminated 3 windows, I hope they are not in the front of the house. I may be restoring a house my in-laws lived in, it is a small ranch house. The father installed 3 window units and in doing so, used plywood and damaged the windows. They will now have to be replaced. All 3 of them have an unprofessional looking installation and tilt down (as Howard Stern would say, they look kind of "flaccid") and are rusty and ugly. Through the wall might look better, as it's not replacing or taking up a window and can be placed where it is not easily seen but if you want central air conditioning what are you waiting for? I would think by the time you have all 4 units running, they will be using as much electricity as one proper-sized central unit would use.

Post# 999619 , Reply# 2   7/7/2018 at 13:28 by jkbff (Happy Rock, ND)        

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I don't have ducting and over 12k to install just the ductwork though.

The house has baseboard electric heat and a gas fire place.

Post# 999620 , Reply# 3   7/7/2018 at 13:37 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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28K X 1.

12K x 4.

76K BTU total.  That's 6-1/3 tons of cooling.  What's your sq. ft-age to need that much?

Post# 999621 , Reply# 4   7/7/2018 at 13:42 by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

Why not install split type units?

They are much more efficient, save tons of electricity, easy to install, plus the noise is near zero.

Post# 999626 , Reply# 5   7/7/2018 at 15:24 by jkbff (Happy Rock, ND)        

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The key point that is being missed is that I already have the equipment I am using.

Unless someone wants to trade my 5 units I already have and *give* me minisplits?

Like I said all I would have invested in this is the materials and labor to install the units into the walls.

I have the units and sleeves.

As for square footage I am running about 880sf per floor. 4 bed 3 bath, the middle level is one bedroom a large bathroom and the rest is the kitchen/living space. My kitchen is roughly 700sf. I can't cook in the summer because my bluestar top and viking wall oven put out too much heat. I figured may as well get the largest AC i can get. This one happened to be free as well.

The wall the 28k unit would be on would blow partially up a stairwell to the third floor corridor/landing.

Also, this house has a black steel roof on it.....

10k units or even an 8k units in the three rooms and 10k in the master would be ok, but I got the 12k units for free.

95% of the time the 28k and one 12k would be running. The rest of the house is unused as I live by my self. The last few weeks my nephew turned 21 and has been coming out for parties and to hookup (using my spare rooms) or my biological mother randomly showed up and is staying with me currently and sometimes my sister will randomly crash here when she is overwhelmed at her house.. Typically I use the kitchen and my room. The rest of the house just exists. All of the other rooms are closed off when not in use.

Post# 999638 , Reply# 6   7/7/2018 at 17:05 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Am not aquainted personally with those GE units

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But coming from an area where through wall AC is rather common.....

On the "pro" side you gain use of your windows, and don't have to worry about taking units in and out at start and end of cooling season. Major other benefit is thieves cannot remove window mounted AC to gain entry into home.

For "con" side it is very important that sleeves are installed correctly and unit as well with proper pitch. Otherwise condensate can back up into the home and leak onto floors, and or through sleeve into surrounding wall area. Here in NYC far too many apartments/homes have damaged dry wall/plaster issues in walls (surrounding wall AC) or ceilings (where water has travelled from unit above). This shows up as anything from peeling, rotting and or mildewing, up to bits simply falling away. Indeed the area around AC wall sleeves is commonly weakened enough over years by above mentioned issues that it becomes a prime way for vermin (if present in building) to gain entry into main part of home/house). The area beneath is already "rotted" or whatever so they can easily chew open larger holes.

From the outside long as the sleeve front grille is flush mounted and well maintained there shouldn't be any issues. Older units around here often have tell tale rust marks from condensate and or rain leaving stains on outside walls. This is often made worse by fact sleeves long ago should have been replaced and are basically rotting in place (see above about maintenance).

Of course the larger issue with any through the wall AC is you cannot unring that bell. Once the hole has been made it can be difficult to impossible to seal it up again so the outside matches undetected. This would vary one supposed by type of construction. Masonry likely being hardest to match I suppose.

Long as the sleeves are properly installed there shouldn't be much if any worries about drafts or whatever *around* the thing. Air coming through the AC itself is another matter.

During off season/winter we cover the indoor side of our Wallmaster to keep out drafts. Otherwise cold air comes in through the unit.

Finally one maddening thing about wall AC sleeves is they can often be manufacturer specific. If no other AC besides GE will fit those sleeves, then you are stuck with that brand if or when unit dies or whatever and needs replacement.

Friedrich and Fedders for years now have offered various adapters or whatever so wall sleeves from one can be adapted to fit another. As they are (or were) the two top brands of through wall AC units this made sense.

Post# 999662 , Reply# 7   7/7/2018 at 22:49 by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

You're saying you need 40,000 btu of cooling for 2 rooms?? Our house is nearly 70 years old with original insulation as far as I can tell, and it's 1200 sqft per level (main level and finished basement) and we are able to keep it comfortable on even the hottest days (95+ with high humidity) 75 inside. We have a total of 18,000 btu, one 7800 btu unit in the living room, 5100 btu units in both bedrooms, usually only running one during the day unless it's really hot. We run the central hvac system blower a few times a day to cool the basement and it works for us. We usually turn the living room unit off at night and turn the bedrooms into walk in coolers (I run mine on max cold, cools my room to about 65 overnight, perfect for sleeping) I'd be looking more at insulation than installation.... Seems like you're losing a lot of cooled air somewhere!

Post# 999842 , Reply# 8   7/9/2018 at 17:01 by jkbff (Happy Rock, ND)        

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I'm concerned about getting the hole cut in the damn wall and the main concern seems to be BTU??


I am in this house by my self. I use one bedroom and the kitchen. The rest of the time the other units will be off and the doors will be shut. That being said, the stairwell going upstairs opens to a large corridor/landing/common area for the other rooms. A lot of cold air is blown up there from the unit I have in the window. If I don't blow the air up there the space gets very humid and makes the everything up there uncomfortable (the cat's litter box is up there).

I haven't put the ducting in for central heating/cooling because I don't know how I want the ducts ran and how they should be hidden. What I originally thought to be pre-existing but capped off ductwork turned out to just be chases for plumbing. To get the duct work in it would take a lot of drywall work or a lot of planning to go through my trusses.

I figured I would be money a head to spend the grand to have the walls modified and have the individual acs placed instead of the money it would take to get some kind of central mechanical system put in place.

When the ac's are used, they are used by the occupants of that room and they generally have their door closed.

If the doors are closed, what good is trying to balance the btu's out per room or plan for mini splits?

I keep my kitchen at 72 when it is not occupied, the cat doesn't like it warmer than 72. I keep my bedroom at 68 when I'm it it and 72 when it is not occupied.

And for what it is worth I did not pay a dime for the ac units I'm dealing with. Or the sleeves.

Post# 999846 , Reply# 9   7/9/2018 at 17:16 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
As have said

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Main benefit of through wall versus window AC is to get use of one's windows back. That and or not having to deal with the bother of hauling the thing in and out at start and end of cooling season. This provided one bothers, as many simply leave the things in window all year. But again that does mean taking said window out of "use".

Sounds to me as if you've already made up your mind what works best in your situation. Long as the work is done properly and sleeves installed as they should, no there shouldn't be any issues with leaks or whatever.

If you don't foresee a situation on horizon that would cause reversal of using through the wall AC, don't see any drawbacks. As you've said, the units and sleeves were "free", so you're ahead of the game already.

Your remaining issues are how the work will be done and who will be doing it.

Post# 999851 , Reply# 10   7/9/2018 at 17:55 by jkbff (Happy Rock, ND)        

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I didn't mean to discount your much appreciated reply. My reply was sparked by the concerns over BTU.

The only battle after getting use of the windows back is to get the builder's installer to release the screens. He is holding them hostage because the original builder didn't pay him and I am guessing the bank that I'm getting the house from hasn't paid the past balance owed.

Post# 999859 , Reply# 11   7/9/2018 at 19:38 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Now You All Have Done It!

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Thanks to all this talk about "air conditioners" have this old commercial on loop in my mind. *LOL*

Post# 1001371 , Reply# 12   7/25/2018 at 07:16 by 63kenmore (Tennessee)        
Wall a/c

Back in the ‘80’s we rented a new condo in Minnesota that was about 1000 square ft at the most. It had a window a/c unit through the wall in the living area and a smaller one through the wall in the bedroom. The heat was baseboard throughout and although I don’t remember what our electric bill was, the condo stayed comfortable all year even though it was Minnesota. Hope this helps.

Post# 1001374 , Reply# 13   7/25/2018 at 07:48 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Doris Roberts for Glade,

Peter Boyle did Buick commercials in the early 70's.

Post# 1001389 , Reply# 14   7/25/2018 at 10:22 by Jmm63 (Denville, NJ)        
I actually liked thru the wall units

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My last house, a custom built 56 Ranch had 2 built in a/c's. Both were original and still there when we bought in 1998. The family room, which originally was called a dormitory for the live in help and later converted to a family room, had a GE "thin line" built in. It worked really well for many years. The cabinet and wood siding fell apart in about 2003 and we had it removed. Easy to fix the hole with some plywood, insulation and fortunately, the same siding. I remember helping the carpenter take it out and couldn't believe how HEAVY the thing was.

The master also had a GE that didn't work all that well so we replaced it with another GE through the wall, around 2001 I think. The outdoor sleeve had a box built around it with a sliding door you would remove in the spring and replace in the fall. Never felt a draft or any cold coming in and it looked attractive.

We had a window unit in the guest room, and another one in the living room, and with some strategically placed fans, you would think we had central air. The main level was about 1900SF.

My current house has window units only and I don't like the ritual of putting them in and taking them out, one day will have mini splits put in.

Post# 1002802 , Reply# 15   8/7/2018 at 05:14 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
*Update* of sorts

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It has been nothing but week after week of severely moist and hot weather here in NYC. All over Manhattan you can see through wall AC units dripping water down sides of sleeves/grille. This is often causing more rusting and rotting of the sleeve/grille and leaving marks on side of buildings.

At least two persons in our street told me they are having ceiling issues due to leaking condensate from AC units in apartments above. The dreaded peeling plaster and or water logged gypsum board mess.

For both window and through wall units you have to watch were you stand. Otherwise all that dripping condensate will land on your head! *LOL*

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