What is a Wall Unit Air Conditioner?

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Updated February 4, 2023

If you are new to the world of indoor cooling, you may wonder what is a wall unit air conditioner. Is it like a window air conditioner? Not completely. Some of the best air conditioners, after all, come with this design. So what is a wall air conditioner and how does it differ from other models, if you wonder what is a window air conditioner?

Wall air conditioners, otherwise known as through-the-wall AC units, are cooling appliances that are permanently affixed to a wall leading to the outside. This gives them the convenience of a window unit, only without having to remove it each season. It’s different than installing a window air conditioner bracket. In other words, you won’t have to learn how to install a slide-out chassis air conditioner.


  • Wall unit air conditioners work similarly to window units, only they nestle inside of a purpose-built hole in the exterior wall and not a window so you can still get the most out of your window space.
  • Wall ACs get much closer to an airtight seal than window units, allowing for an energy-efficient conditioner that can cool a certain amount of square feet.
  • This type of through-the-wall air conditioner also frees up floor space and never has to be removed, except in the case of repairs.

You also won’t have to learn how to install a window air conditioner bracket, as wall units come pre-installed. You will have to place a shutter on it each winter, but that only takes a few moments and is not as difficult as learning, say, what is a vane control air conditioner.

Insider Tip

Be sure to turn off the air conditioner when you are not using it to save on that monthly energy bill.

There are some serious advantages to choosing a wall air conditioner instead of going with other designs and types of air conditioners.

  • Airtight Seals
    • Wall units fit in a hole that has been expertly designed to fit the unit, providing for an airtight, or near-airtight, seal. This results in a higher efficiency rating during use when compared to window units, which very rarely achieve an airtight seal. As an added bonus, this airtight seal prevents moisture and weather conditions from the outside to leak inside of your space. The same cannot be said about window air conditioning units.
  • Ease-of-Use
    • Once installed, wall units never have to be removed except in the case of significant maintenance procedures or repair issues. This means you simply have to turn it on when hot and let the AC handle the rest. Otherwise, modern wall AC units boast many of the same features found in modern window units, such as integration with smart assistants, remote control options, and robust schedule-setting routines. A wall-mounted AC unit is also not as integrated into the depths of your home as a central air conditioning indoor unit has to be, saving you any extra complexity in the installation. You’ll also avoid the high installation costs of a central air unit, which tend to feel like a permanent installation into your home. Central systems still have their advantages, but that type of air conditioning tends to feel like a permanent installation into your home.
  • Added Floor Space
    • Portable air conditioners take up floor space, but the same is not true for window units. You won’t have to worry about small children or pets bumping into a portable air conditioner on the floor. Additionally, this type of air conditioner doesn’t even obscure any window views, allowing your feline friends to perch on the window sill in perpetuity.

STAT: You’ll have a wall-mounted unit inside every room or zone you want to cool. The number that you need depends on the size of the room, the size of the home, and the power provided by the system. (source)


What to know about wall air conditioners?

They typically ship with remote control devices and they often feature an Energy Star rating to indicate improved energy efficiency. The installation process is rather easy but will require the appropriate hole in the wall.

How do wall air conditioners work?

Wall units work just like window air conditioners in that they pull in air from the outside, run it through a cooling system, and pump the newly cooled air back into the space, depending on the square footage.

Are through-the-wall air conditioners quiet?

It really depends on the unit, but on average they are about as loud as window air conditioners. You can lower the noise by using wall sleeves or by turning the unit down with remote control.

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