A through the wall air conditioner is a widely known type of AC that offers a lot however the unit itself is very affordable. And it’s one of the reasons why it’s so popular. But people are usually wondering how does a through the wall air conditioner work before they decide to buy it instead of a window cooling machine. And I think it’s a great question. You should know how it works before you decide to spend money on it.
This type of unit is ideal for bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms or offices. Their biggest advantage is they don’t need to be installed on a windowsill and therefore you can still use the window which is not blocked by the machine. And of course, they don’t need to be stored in a dry place during cold months.
You can simply let them sit in their place without having to reinstall them. It’s more than convenient, right? The last benefit is crucial to me. Nothing is blocking the light. I prefer lots of light in every room. And this option is brilliant for me.
If you belong to me and admire the through the wall unit because of its benefits, keep reading and find out how this cooling machine works and what you can do for smoother working.
How Does a Through the Wall Air Conditioner Work?
Exploring how does a through the wall air work include also the process of cooling the air. However, these kinds of units are pretty cheap and have only a few parts I believe it’s always better to know them well. And it doesn’t matter if you desire to know the principle of working because you can’t decide if it’s better to shop a window AC better than through the wall or if you just would like to know some details about your home appliance.
From my point of view, it’s better to understand how it works because I can repair some things then. The unit itself is pretty cheap and therefore, I think there is no need to ask an expert to install. It would only increase the overall costs. Also, I can do the regular maintenance which is smoother if I know the crucial parts and how to take care of them.
The working process of a through the wall AC unit is very similar to the window unit. I think it’s very important to mention that some units are designed to be used for window or wall installation. It’s possible to distinguish the entire process into two cycles – the indoor cool air cycle and the outdoor hot air cycle. Let’s take a closer look at both of them.
Indoor Cool Air Cycle
It’s the first cycle and it operates only with the indoor air. It means it’s the air in the room where you installed the through the wall unit. After turning on your appliance firstly the blower is activated. Immediately after it, the compressor starts its role and the cooling effect begins as the cooling coil (or evaporator coil) works with the compressor.
Once the cooling coil is ready for its job the blower receives a signal and sucks the room air in. But it brings also the dust and dirt particles because the air is sucked at a high speed. Removing the particles is crucial otherwise it could damage or clog the air conditioner. It’s a reason why the first stage of the air in a unit is an air filter.
When the air is completely clean it moves to the cooling coil. Reaching the cooling coil means it’s time for two processes.
The first one happens when the room temperature air reaches the coil with a lower temperature. The refrigerant in the coil absorbs the heat from the room air and it leads to cooling the air. This process takes as long until the desired room temperature of the air is obtained.
How does a through the wall air conditioner work int he second process? The second one starts as dew is precipitated on the surface of a cooling coil. Are you wondering why it happens? It’s a side effect. It occurs when the temperature of the cooling coil is lower than the dew point temperature of the cooled air. However, it’s a side effect it improves removing moisture from the air and reduce the relative humidity.
After finishing both processes the air could be sucked. The blower pushes the cooled air through the front panel into a room. The low temperature and humidity keep the room chilled. Once the cooled air absorbs the moisture and heat, the cooling process is repeated again.
Outdoor Hot Air Cycle
This cycle operates with outdoor air. It means I’m talking about the air which is outside of your room where you use the AC unit. This air is primarily used to cool a part of your through the wall air conditioner called a condenser.
If you are wondering how are the indoor and outdoor air connected inside of the machine, I must tell you that they aren’t connected. Both cycles are separated. The Indoor cool air cycle works only with the room air. And the Outdoor hot air cycle uses only the air from outside of the room. But the truth is a refrigerant medium interacts with both of them.
And if you don’t know what a condenser is let me explain it. The condenser is an important part of the outdoor refrigerant circuit and it’s used for condensing the refrigerant. For your better understanding, the refrigerant is a medium flowing from the indoor to the outdoor cycle. On its journey from the indoor to the outdoor cycle, it changes its state from the air to the liquid directly in the condenser. The condenser is exposed to the outdoor air. The propeller fan sucks in the outdoor high-temperature air and blows it through the condenser.
Moving on to how does a through the wall air conditioner work in phase. The condenser contains a refrigerant that is at a high temperature in the outdoor cycle. Since the outside air is even hotter it’s blown over the condenser. This process makes the refrigerant be cooler and also becomes a liquid again. Once the refrigerant is cooled it goes further into the expansion valve and then back into the evaporator (or cooling coil) in the indoor cool air cycle.
Important Parts of Wall Air Conditioner
Through the wall air conditioner has lots of very important parts you should know. Why? Because only when you know how the parts work you can use them smartly and don’t waste your money on high energy bills or replacing those parts that are worn out or badly damaged.
I chose three things whose role in the AC unit is crucial. Keep reading and check them out in order to find out how to take care and operate them properly.
Thermostat for Setting Temperature
The thermostat is a very important part of the through the wall AC unit. It allows you to set the temperature and keeps it. How?
First of all, you set the temperature on the AC unit. The cooling machine is checking the ambient temperature consistently until it detects the desired value was reached. Then, the thermostat gives a signal to a compressor that is held. Once, the temperature increases again the temperature gives a signal to the compressor again. But now, it’s a signal to start working because the temperature is high again.
If you set the temperature very low it doesn’t help you to obtain the set value faster. It’s a signal for a compressor when to stop working and be held.
Filter for Removing Dirt and Dust
First of all, you should understand the importance of air filter in a through the wall unit. It’s truly crucial. If you take care of it properly you won’t face troubles with overheating, clogging, or consuming too much electric energy.
How does a through the wall air conditioner work without a perfectly cleaned air filter? Very complicated. Remember the regular check and clean helps you prevent all problems mentioned above. If you don’t remember the period when it’s time to do it, try to buy a unit with a filter alert. It’s a great little feature. The air filter removes all dirt and dust particles from the air that is sucked from the room and blows inside the machine. The particles can badly damage the inner parts and make the appliance works harder and consumes more energy.
Another very unpleasant things that can happen if you underestimate the regular cleaning is the growth of bacterias inside the machine. It’s related to an unhealthy environment for living, respiratory troubles, and a terrible odor.
Sleeve for Wall Air Conditioner
The wall air conditioner needs a sleeve. There are two possible types of sleeves you can meet:
- A slide-out chassis sleeve – This is a built-in sleeve that is usually a part of your AC unit box. And there is no need to order it and pay for it separately. When your AC has this type of sleeve it only vents in the back. If you desire to replace your current cooling machine but you would prefer to keep the sleeve the only way is to shop for the units vented in the back and of course they fit into your sleeve. Always double-check the measurements before purchase.
- A traditional through the wall sleeve – Models using this type of sleeve vent out the sides and back. I recommend being careful if you need to replace your current unit but still want to keep the sleeve. The truth is, the traditional through the wall sleeve with specific models and you can easily make a mistake. It’s much better to double-check the compatibility before purchase.
In general, some brands produce standard sizes of sleeves. It helps you with replacing a lot. But if you buy a sleeve and it’s loose around you can you seal material.
How to Install a Through the Wall Air Conditioner?
Many people solve the question of an in-wall air conditioner installation. If you have never had this kind of AC unit at home I strongly recommend hiring an expert. At least for the first phase of installation which is to cut the hole into your wall. If you’re on a budget I recommend doing it on your own only if you’re handy otherwise ask a handy friend.
The hole should be cut precisely to fit snugly. Since the appliance is installed throughout the winter compared to a window unit there shouldn’t be any gap that allows water to get in. Also, you need a suitable sleeve for the process of installation.
Keep in mind not all machines are provided with this important piece of metal. Many times you have to buy it separately. So, the first step to choose the ideal air conditioner for you and the second one is to choose the sleeve if it’s not provided.
The sleeve provides support for your new unit and the machine doesn’t hang there as the window units usually do. Once, the hole is cut you can install the sleeve and fasten it. Then, simply slide the unit in and try it as you plugin into the nearest electrical outlet.
If you need to replace the unit the process is much easier because you don’t need to change the sleeve usually and the hole is already done. But for the pivot installation, I would prefer to hire a professional or somebody having experience.
Difference between Wall Mounted AC Unit and Window Unit
The wall-mounted AC unit and a window unit have two things in common. The first thing is the cooling capacity expressed in British Thermal Units (BTU). The second one is the size. You maybe know some models that are designed to be used in both wall-mount and window installation.
Regarding the difference between thru the wall unit and window AC, the first difference is installation and the second one is venting.
The window unit is installed on a sill and fastened by using a window shut and accordion panels. You don’t need help from professionals. It’s possible to do it yourself or with help from a friend if the cooling machine is too heavy. But these units are manufactured to be stored at home during cold months.
If you can’t store it in a dry place or you use the unit for supplemental heating you can let it on a windowsill. On the other hand, through the wall units are installed in a hole in a wall and they can stay there all year round.
The wall-mounted machines usually vent the hot air on the back it means on the outside part. The window units have the vents on the back but also on the side. If you installed the window appliance into the sleeve thru the wall, the vents could be blocked and it could cause overheating of the device. But this is not true always. As I mentioned before there are air conditioners suitable for both ways of installation.
The Bottom Line
Through the wall air conditioner is affordable and easy to operate. The monthly costs don’t ruin your bank account however it provides lots of comforts and you can rely on it. In this article, I tried to answer the question of how does the through the wall air conditioner work in many points because I believe all of them are important. I showed you the process of installation and the cycles of working the machine, and I didn’t omit to mention the most important parts.
I hope you got a better overview of how it works and how to take care of it to provide a longer service life. Because we all desire to have a device we can fully count on when the summer comes and knocks on the door, right?