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Through the wall air conditioner

How to Install a Through-The-Wall Air Conditioner Sleeve?

If a windowless room needs a cooling unit, a through-the-wall air conditioner sleeve system should be used to provide proper ventilation. 

Installing a unit through a wall also allows the owner to put it in almost any place.

A hole will have to be cut into the wall and a sleeve put into it to hold the HVAC unit. Each installation is unique and will have to be thought-out.

Things to Consider

  • How thick is the wall?
  • Electrical: power to unit; wiring in wall
  • Studs: needed for support, separation distance

Wall thickness must be measured as a some are thicker than others.

Your eyes can be deceiving, too.

The AC unit will need electricity and must be located close to a socket or else a new socket must be installed near the device.

The studs should be located and marked out on the wall’s surface before making the first cut.

Keep in mind that wiring or pipes can be inside the wall. The location ought to be thought out to avoid them.

Through-the-wall air conditioner sleeve

Items Needed

  • Basic Tools
  • Caulking
  • Level
  • Lumber for Header and Footer
  • Sleeve
  • Screws & Nails

A sleeve will also be required, which is generally included when you buy a new unit.

If a sleeve is purchased separately, make sure the measurements are accurate for both the unit and sleeve to get a good fit.

A header and footer are often built for the sleeve to take a seat in. Based on the wall type, occasionally, a header and footer are unnecessary.

The main objective of a header/footer container is for the device to have a steady level platform to sit and do its job.

Header and footers can be built of 2×4s or similar.

Basic tools will be required, such as a drill, saw, hammer, caulking, etc.

Basic Steps to Install a Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner

through the wall air conditioners installation
  • Mark up the wall that the device will be put in. The first step is to mark out the wall to cut an opening. Find all of the studs and use a pencil to mark them.
  • Cut the sheet rock along the marked lines.
  • Remove insulating material and check for pipes and wires running in the wall.
  • Drill through the wall on all 4 corners to have a manufacturer guide outside to follow.
  • Cut any studs to prepare for header/footer construction.
  • Organize and insert the header and footer to hold the device.
  • Finish cutting the hole.
  • Put the sleeve in and twist it into position.
  • Caulk along the exterior sleeve borders to prevent leaks.
  • Place the device into the sleeve and screw it in place. Power it on and test it.


install through-the-wall air conditioner

The above are the essential steps needed to install a through-the-wall air conditioner.

Every scenario will differ with wall type and power supply being the most unique.

The basics are to cut out a hole for the unit to enter, build a secure platform for it to sit on, and have power close.

Most jobs can be carried out by a handy do-it-yourself type individual.

Of course, call a specialist if in doubt.

About the Author Tom Hanson

I’ve worked as an HVAC tech in Phoenix, AZ for the past 10 years. I created to help home owners select the right portable air conditioner, cooler or air purifier for their needs & budget in just a few minutes.

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