Best Through the Wall AC Unit with Heat: Detailed Buying Guide & Honest Review

Best Through the Wall AC Unit with Heat: Detailed Buying Guide & Honest Review in 2020

If you belong to people who struggle with heat waves every single year or struggle with cold air at home every winter season, you should start to think about some good air conditioner. Through the wall AC unit with heat seems to be an ideal solution to this trouble. It provides cool comfort during the summer season and helps you to heat up a room in winter.

These appliances are super affordable and compared to window units they do not occupy the window and they don’t block the daylight. The through the wall air conditioners are primarily designed for permanent installation which is one of the best benefits.

Through the Wall AC Units with Heat in Honest Review

The market with the through the wall AC units with heat isn’t so rich as you think. Therefore, it’s crucial to find the best unit suitable for your home without making any mistakes. I summarized an honest review and picked the most efficient and reliable units.

Friedrich Chill Series EP08G11B 7,500 BTU

This Friedrich through the wall AC unit with heat is a little gem. It’s designed to fit into a window or through the wall as well. It provides 7,500 BTU cooling performance which is perfect to cool space up to 300 sq. ft. This model offers only supplemental heating but it’s very convenient. It has 3,850 BTU heating power and this AC unit uses electrical coil.

There are three operating modes providing cooling, heating, and fan-only performance. A money saver mode reduces your energy bills. The estimated yearly operating costs are only $61. Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is 11.2 which is very high and it’s possible to say this through the wall AC unit with heat Friedrich is really energy efficient. But unfortunately, it’s not Energy Star qualified.

The amazing thing is this model uses an eco-friendly R-410A refrigerant. You should know this unit has a 5-15P plug type and it’s 125V/15A.

Along with remote control with LCD display as a must-have, you will appreciate some additional features making your life easier and more comfortable. There is a washable filter, auto restart, auto swing louvers, and programmable timer.

However, this unit is designed to cool or heat only small-sized rooms I must admit it’s a very efficient and reliable machine. It offers a lot and provides an excellent price-performance ratio. Yes, it misses some basic features such as a sleep mode, WiFi compatibility, or filter check alert but I still rate it a very great thought the wall AC unit with heat.

Pros
  • 7,500 BTU cooling power.
  • 3,850 BTU supplemental heating power.
  • Moisture removing up to 2.1 pints per hour.
  • The washable filter protects against bacteria.
  • Longer power cord.
  • The estimated yearly energy costs are $61.
Cons
  • It misses a sleep mode.
  • It’s not Energy Star certified.
  • There’s no filter check alert.
  • It misses WiFi connection.

Koldfront WTC8001W 8,000 BTU

A very efficient Koldfront through the wall AC unit with heat is perfect for all rooms with floor space up to 350 sq. ft. (cooling performance). You can also rely on a 4,200 BTU supplemental heating option which is ideal for heating space up to 100 sq. ft. Keep in mind this is only supplemental heat function. To feel comfortable you need a main source of heat.

There are some features and modes that Koldfront can guarantee as must-haves at all of their models such as remote control, programmable timer, energy saver mode, and sleep mode.

Many of them help you to protect your wallet against high energy bills. If it’s still not enough for you I recommend buying a smart plug. It’s compatible with WiFi and you can observe the consumption on an app on your smartphone or turn it on or off via tablet.

If you struggle with high humidity at home just like other people you should know it can negatively affect the operation of your air conditioner. This model offers a dry mode for very effective dehumidification. It’s able to remove up to 45 pints per day. The goal is to let the unit operate for some time to be sure the machine was able to remove all of the moisture.

However, this air conditioner can’t provide the Energy Star qualification, the Energy Efficiency Ratio is still enough. It’s 9.6 EER. In general, if it was above 10, it could be considered as one of the most energy-efficient units. The estimated yearly costs are $81. It’s very convenient. If you want to know a more accurate amount of money, use my calculating formula in this article to find out your costs for this appliance.

Another benefit is its noise level because this appliance is very quiet. Therefore, I think it’s a worthy unit offering a perfect ration initial price and performance.

Pros
  • 8,000 BTU cooling power.
  • 4,200 BTU supplemental heating power.
  • Compatible with through the wall air conditioner sleeve Koldfront WTCSLV.
  • Very quiet unit.
Cons
  • A wall sleeve is sold separately.
  • 9.6 EER could be a bit better.

Frigidaire FFTH1222R2 12,000 BTU

This Frigidaire through the wall air conditioner provides a perfect cooling and heating performance. It offers 12,000 BTU of the cooling effect (suitable for 550 sq. ft.) plus 10,600 BTU of supplemental heating.

Don’t forget it’s an only supplemental source of heat and you need the main source of heat as well to feel comfortable during cold months once the outdoor temperature drops below 45 degrees of Fahrenheit.

Regarding energy efficiency, this Frigidaire model has only 9.5 EER. This kind of AC unit should have value above 10 to be very energy efficient. Therefore, I think the manufacturer could improve it to provide a better service for the customer. But to be honest it’s no so bad.

If you are not amazed you can still rely on the energy saver mode and one big plus is the Energy Star certification. You can conserve up to 15% of energy per year compared to other models without this certification. And I think it’s worth it!

And if you’re still not sure about additional electricity costs, according to the specification the estimated yearly costs are around $114. You should understand it’s an average value and it could be completely different eventually. If you really want to know how the year or maybe only the monthly costs for this unit at your household, use my calculating formula from the Buying Guide at the end of this article.

Very positively I rate the fact the trim kit is included in the box, however, a wall sleeve is sold separately. If you need to replace your old through the wall AC unit with heat this could be a great option for you.

This appliance doesn’t work with a standard 115V electrical outlet. You will definitely need a 230V electrical outlet. Keep it in mind.

Pros
  • 12,000 BTU cooling power.
  • 10,600 BTU supplemental heating power.
  • A trim kit is a part of the box.
  • Energy Star qualified.
  • Energy saver mode.
Cons
  • 230V electrical outlet required.
  • The Wall sleeve is sold separately.
  • Only 9.5 EER.

Koldfront WAC18001W 18,500 BTU

From my point of view, this is more than very good through the wall AC unit with heat. This appliance offers 18,500 BTU cooling performance which is able to cover up to 1,000 sq. ft.

And furthermore, it can show off 16,000 BTU heating power provided by electric heat. To clarify, the model can be used as a main source of heat not only supplemental heating.

I must highlight the Energy Efficiency Ratio which is 10.7. It means this Koldfront through the wall AC unit with heat is very energy efficient. Unfortunately, the model doesn’t have the Energy Star qualification. But you don’t need to be worried about your energy bills. There is a very powerful energy saver mode and sleep mode provides great comfort while consuming less energy at night as well.

Always when I’m shopping or giving any advice regarding the purchase of a new air conditioner I pay attention to its dehumidification mode. You shouldn’t underestimate it. Make ensure the chosen unit has the dehumidification mode and double-check if the value in pints per hour is enough for your home.

This model has a strong dehumidification level but it’s crucial to operate the mode at least 30-45 minutes to completely remove the moisture from the air. Otherwise, it doesn’t have any sense especially if you struggle with a damp room.

If you’re looking for a very efficient in-wall AC unit with heat combo providing strong cooling and heating performances I can recommend buying this one. It has many useful features and modes that improve your home comfort during winter and summer season.

Pros
  • 18,500 BTU cooling performance.
  • 16,000 BTU heating performance provided by electric heat.
  • 10.7 EER is perfect.
  • Energy saver mode and sleep mode.
Cons
  • It isn’t Energy Star qualified.
  • The 230V electrical outlet required.

Koldfront WAC25001W 25,000 BTU 

This air conditioner can cover up to 1,500 sq. ft. thanks to its cooling power. The heating performance is brilliant as well. The unit has 16,000 BTU of heating power and it means it could cover up to 700 sq. ft. The heater type is electric and therefore, it’s possible to use it as a main source of heat especially if you live in a location with dramatic changes in climate.

The Energy Efficiency Ratio is 9.4 EER. It’s not bad for such a powerful cooling machine but I would expect something a bit bitter. Especially, if the most energy-efficient through the wall AC units show off the value above 10 EER.

To protect your wallet and reduce the monthly costs for electric energy, the manufacturer provides the unit with a sleep mode, energy saver mode, and 24-hour programmable timer. The sleep mode continuously increases the temperature for 6 hours until it’s reached the set value. Also, use the timer if you know when your family comes home. It conserves lots of money.

If you desire to keep your bills on a leash you should calculate the estimated monthly costs according to my formula mentioned in this article. Or you can rely on the average estimated yearly costs $259 claimed by the manufacturer.

Keep in mind this cooling machine uses a NEMA 6-30P large size power plug. And make sure the special 230V electrical outlet is convenient for you.

In general, I must rate this unit positively. It has everything needed for high comfort during winter as well as summer season. I like how strong this Koldfront through the wall AC unit with heat is regarding the cooling and heating effect.

Pros
  • 25,000 BTU cooling performance.
  • 16,000 BTU heating performance provided by electric heat.
  • Energy saver mode.
  • Sleep mode.
Cons
  • The 230V electrical outlet required.
  • There is 9.4 EER which could be better.

Detailed Buying Guide: Through the Wall AC Units with Heat

Regarding the high popularity of thought the wall air conditioning units the market with these appliances is saturated and of course, it’s not easy to choose one. Before you start shopping it’s much better to have some overview of what you are looking for. It means, you should know at least what cooling and heating power you need, how you’re going to solve the sleeve and its installation, what energy efficiency is acceptable for you, and many others.

Cooling Power as an Indicator of Strength

The cooling power is defined according to the British Thermal Units (BTU). It simply says how strong your unit is and how many square feet is can cool. To clarify, the size of your room where the through the wall AC unit with heat combo will be placed is crucial to define the cooling power that you need.

How to find out the size of the through the wall air conditioner for your room? First of all, you should measure the room. It means measuring the width and length of the room and multiplying those numbers if your room is rectangular-shaped. If your room has an unusual shape you should divide the floor space into smaller pieces like squares, rectangles, and triangles and add all of the numbers together.

Once you know the floor space in square footage you can use the table below to find the appropriate BTU you need for your room. But don’t forget to involve in the final number of BTU my tips written under the table. They’re also very important if you want to buy an efficient AC unit.

ROOM SIZE
(IN SQUARE FOOTAGE)
COOLING POWER
(IN BTU)
ROOM SIZE
(IN SQUARE FOOTAGE)
COOLING POWER
(IN BTU)
150 sq. ft.5,000 BTU700 sq. ft.14,000 BTU
250 sq. ft.6,000 BTU1,000 sq. ft.18,000 BTU
300 sq. ft.7,000 BTU1,200 sq. ft.21,000 BTU
350 sq. ft.8,000 BTU1,400 sq. ft.23,000 BTU
400 sq. ft.9,000 BTU1,600 sq. ft.25,000 BTU
450 sq. ft.10,000 BTU1,900 sq. ft.28,000 BTU
550 sq. ft.12,000 BTU2,700 sq. ft.36,000 BTU
Room size in square footage and its appropriate cooling power in BTU. For example room size of 700 sq. ft. needs at least 14,000 BTU of cooling performance.

My first PRO TIP is that you shouldn’t rely only on the floor space of the room where you’re planning to install the cooling machine. The reason is very easy. The cooling power of the AC appliance is dependent on other parameters not only on the square footage of the room. Therefore, I summarized some recommendations you could consider into your calculation of final needed BTU number:

  • If your room is shaded for example by a tree standing in from the of a window you can easily reduce the final BTU by 10%.
  • If the windows of the room where your unit will be installed are fully exposed to the sun (e.g. there are no louvers, trees, etc.) increase the final cooling performance by 10-15%.
  • The standard AC units are designed to cool rooms where two people stay. If you need to use the appliance in a room where more than 2 people live you should increase the cooling power by 600-800 BTU for each other person living there.
  • Installation in a kitchen could cause many troubles when you underestimate the heat-accumulation in there. I strongly recommend increasing the cooling capacity by 4,000 BTU for all AC units installed in a kitchen.
  • Once, you made a decision on installation the cooling appliance in a room that is adjoined with other rooms of your home and there is no door, don’t forget to add their floor space to identify the final performance in BTU.

I significantly recommend involving my tips into your calculation of appropriate cooling power. If you underestimate the power you need your air conditioner could be too weak to cool the room. However, the appliance will work as hard as it could you will never obtain the required result. It means, there always will be hot air hot.

On the other hand, if you choose the strong unit it will be too powerful and unfortunately, it will consume too much energy. And it means high energy bills for energy however you wouldn’t so strong unit.

Heating Power

Along with cooling power, the heating power is also defined by using the BTUs. And according to the heating performance in BTU, you find out how strong the unit you need. But it’s important to say you should consider if you desire to heat up the room only with the AC unit or if you need it as a supplemental source of heat. And the last point you should focus on is your location. Let’s walk through all of them with an appropriate explanation.

Since the heating power is written in BTU it’s always important to compare it with cooling power. Sometimes the value of cooling power and heating power are the same and sometimes not. Why is it possible? It’s easy, when the values are the same it means the AC unit can be used as a main source of heat. But you shouldn’t omit the fact, the main source of heat it’s possible to use only until the outside temperature doesn’t drop under 43 or 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the values of the cooling power and heating power aren’t the same and the heating performance is the lower number it indicates the unit offers only a supplemental heating function. And it’s impossible to rely on it as a main source of heat.

Electric Heat vs Heat Pumps

If you’re shopping for the through the wall ac unit with heat function you will meet two technical possibilities of how your new machine can produce the heat. They are electric heat and heat pumps. They both are able to produce the heat but there are some differences that indicate how the systems work, how much they’re energy-efficient, and what location they should be used. Let’s take s closer look at how the heating systems work and what are their benefits.

In general, the heat pump system is based on the principle of a reverse air conditioner. It means the mechanical energy is used to transform the heat from the cold air. The heat pumps don’t produce the heat, they just use the physics to move the energy. It’s very convenient and energy-efficient.

But the heat pumps are designed to provide only supplemental heating. This system isn’t so strong to give you the option of being a main source of heat. The energy is transferred and not produced. If you live in a location where the weather doesn’t dramatically you can rely on this system and use its high energy efficiency.

On the other hand, the electrical heat system uses an internal coil to heat the cold air. It means this system truly produces the heat as the coil heats up the air around and the hot air is blown back to the room. It’s not so energy-efficient as the heat pumps. The reason is the electrical heat system needs extra energy to produce the hot air.

If you live in a location where you can expect big climate changes in time you should definitely choose the electrical heat system because it’s designed to offer you the main source of heat and you can rely on it.

Sleeve Options

Since the through the wall ac unit with heat is a very convenient cooling machine permanently built in the wall, the sleeve is a crucial thing and it’s better to pay high attention to it.

Before you buy a new unit you should consider two things. First of all, if you want to replace your current unit make sure the sleeve is a good condition. If so, you can still use it. It means in some cases saving money. But the crucial step is to check if your current sleeve is compatible with the new AC unit.

If you desire to buy this kind of cooling machine and don’t have it at home you should focus on the fact if the chosen unit is provided with a sleeve or not. Some units are standardly offered with a sleeve and some not. Always double-check it before purchase to avoid some additional complications.

Of course, it happens that the sleeve isn’t a part of the box with the new unit. Don’t panic, many manufacturers produce the universal sizes of the sleeve that are suitable for many other brands. You just need to find the appropriate measurements and the size that matches with your air conditioner.

Energy Efficiency

These days the energy-efficiency is very important and nobody should underestimate it. Before you purchase a new model of the AC unit it’s great to check the Energy Guide Label. On this label, there is Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) mentioned. If you want to buy the cooling machine online, no worries in the technical specification there is the EER always written and you can double-check the value.

In general, the Energy Efficient Ratio represents how many BTU’s per hour are used for each watt of power the AC draws. A high number of EER indicates a more energy-efficient air conditioner. If you are wondering about a through the wall ac unit with heat purchase you should keep in mind the EER should be higher than 10. Then, we are truly talking about a very energy-efficient unit. The Energy Efficiency Ratio is a very good parameter on how to rate air conditioning systems because it can help you to conserve energy and money.

Many models are also Energy Star certified. It means these models are able to save up to 15% of yearly costs compared to models without this qualification. The Energy Star certified units are very energy-efficient and I strongly recommend to buy an air conditioner with this certification.

If you desire to keep your energy bill under control there is another feature that is brilliant and many models provide it. It’s some kind of energy-saving mode that doesn’t consume so much energy as other modes.

Estimated Yearly Operating Costs

Recently the estimated yearly operating costs are usually written on the label which is on the box of every AC unit. You can get a better overview of how much you can pay for operating your chosen unit. But you should understand it’s an average value. If you really want to know how much you will pay in your case, especially if you decided to use a heat feature, you should calculate the yearly costs according to your parameters. Let’s walk through a model example of how to calculate the costs for your case.

Before you use the calculating formula you should find out these parameters:

  • How many watts your air conditioner consumes.
  • A price for kilowatts per hour given by your electric company.
  • A number of hours you’re planning to operate the unit every day during the season.

Calculating Formula of Monthly Costs:

Watts x 1 (hour of use) ÷ 1,000 x Price given by your electric company (kWH) = hourly cost of operation

Example for State Alabama where the average price was 0.1241 last year:

  • (500 Watt unit x 1-hour ÷ 1,000) x 0.1241 (kWH) = $0.06205 Cost of operating for one hour.
  • $0.06205 x 8 hours per day = $0.4964 Daily cost of operating.
  • $0.4964 x 30 days in a month = $14.892 Monthly costs of operating through the wall air conditioner.

Yearly Operating Costs:

Monthly costs x 12 months = $14.892 x 12 = $178.704 Estimated yearly operating costs of through the wall AC unit

Of course, many of us don’t use the AC unit every day all year round. If you know you will use it more in the summer season and less winter season, you can involve it in your calculation. Split the calculation into two parts per 6 months and add the final numbers together. The reason is to get a better overview of whether the in-wall air conditioner is for you financially convenient and if you will be able to pay for the monthly operation. Many people buy a unit but they’re not able to pay bills later. Use the formula above to ensure it’s not your case.

Additional Features

Additional features can help you to improve your comfort but it’s important to understand they could increase the initial price. I always recommend thinking about what you need and what you can live without. It could significantly help to optimize the price and your priorities. There are some features you will like and they’re very useful in normal life from my point of view.

Sleep Mode

The sleeping mode is a very cool feature. Many people underestimate this mode and think it’s useless. But it’s not true. Human bodies don’t need to be cooled so intensively at night during the sleeping phase. Therefore, the sleeping mode doesn’t work so hard during the night and it doesn’t consume so much energy.

The sleeping mode works with systematically increasing the temperature every single hour up to 8 degrees during the night. In the morning you wake up with a little bit higher room temperature but it’s completely normal and furthermore it’s natural for your organism.

The sleep mode doesn’t conserve only energy and money. The through the wall AC unit with heat produces a lower noise level while operating on the sleep mode. It’s more than convenient for light sleepers.

Dehumidification Mode

Since the high humidity in a room negatively affects the working process of the AC unit, the dehumidification level is more than a desirable feature. Most of the modern units have dehumidification mode but it’s crucial to choose the one with an efficient level of dehumidification.

The dehumidification is defined in pints per hour or maybe you can find a unit with pints per day. This value is always written on the box with the model or on the webpage.

If you deal with high humidity you should choose a model with a high dehumidification level. Also, you should operate this mode every single day at least for 30 minutes to let the AC unit remove the moisture from the air properly. The air conditioner needs time to remove the humidity. Never forget this.

Fan Mode

The fan mode is useful especially during days when you don’t need to cool the air. If you desire to get rid of the stuffiness, you can operate the fan mode. The room air is sucked and blown back to the room. The airflow is more efficient and it’s very fresh.

Programmable Timer

A programmable timer belongs to modes that help you conserve energy as well as money. Many of the through the wall air conditioners can be programmed up to 24 hours. To clarify, you can choose when the unit will be switched on or off during the one-day interval.

You will appreciate this feature if you know when you come home from work or when the last member of the family leaves home. It saves money but allows you to enjoy the fresh and cool comfort.

Adjustable Louvers

The through the wall AC unit and window cooling machine have in common one problem. They create hot and cold spots in a room very often. It’s pretty annoying. But you can’t change it since there are no system of ducts built-in the floor and ceiling.

The adjustable louvers improve the airflow since you can direct the flow of the air according to your wish. It reduces the problems with hot and cold spots in a room.

Air Filter Alert

Generally, the filter should be checked and cleaned every two or three weeks. Otherwise, the dust and dirt particles could completely clog the unit. Then, the unit works as hard as it can but it’s not efficient and the air isn’t cold properly. It some cases, it could lead to damage to the air conditioner.

The air filter alert is an amazing thing. It lets you know always when the filter is ready to be cleaned or if it’s needed to check the filter.

In Summary

The through the wall AC unit with heat combo is a great kind of cooling system. Compared to window machine it doesn’t require to be reinstall after the season and its installation is permanent. Therefore, the heating feature is very efficient. On the market, there are many excellent models offering a great price-performance ratio with lots of additional features that could improve your comfort.

But before you purchase a new unit or before you choose a new replacement for your current one, you should consider what exactly you need and what the estimated yearly operating costs will be. Nobody wants to find out the operation is too expensive. Calculate everything before you make a final decision.

If you’re wondering what kind of heating you should choose, keep in mind the electrical heat, as well as heat pumps, have benefits and drawbacks. And it’s better to know if you prefer to have the unit only as a main source of heat or if you will be satisfied with a supplemental heating option. I strongly recommend not to overlook every aspect that could be crucial in the future however it could slightly increase the initial price.