Informational Guide

Can You Use a Window Air Conditioner Without a Window

Air conditioners can be used in your room without a window; you just need to understand how they work and install different AC types correctly.

by Josh M

Air conditioners are becoming increasingly popular in the home. They are typically designed to be mounted in your window, but not everyone has a window in their room they can use.

Thankfully, air conditioners can be used in your room without a window; you just need to understand how they work and install them correctly. This guide will take you through the best options and how you can use an air conditioner in any room.

Window air conditioners are powerful, semi-permanent fittings that allow you to cool a room in your home. They work by drawing air in through the intake and pushing it out through the exhaust.

This happens on both sides of the conditioner. The inside side of the air conditioner uses fans to pull air in, and it then flows over the condenser coils, which draw out the heat and the moisture from the air. This collects in the draining tray and flows outside while the air flows back into the room.

The outside-facing side of the air conditioner works by drawing in fresh cold air using fans. This cool air flows into the room and cools the area.

You can learn more about how window air conditioners work here.

Can You Use A Window Air Conditioner Without A Window?

Window air conditioners are specially designed to be installed into a window. This makes it challenging to use them without a window because it requires somewhere to vent warm air to. Without this, you can end up with warm air circulating throughout the room, creating the opposite effect.

However, there are a few different ways you can install a window AC unit if you don’t have a window that will allow you to get the proper ventilation. This involves using your wall or ceiling so that there is some ventilation out of the room.

Through-The-Wall AC Unit

As the name suggests, through-the-wall AC units are installed directly into your walls. One side of the AC unit is exposed to the exterior space with cool air, and the other faces internally to direct the air into the room. Electric fans and cooling coils are used to extract the heat and moisture from the air as it enters your space so that it cools the room.

Through-the-wall AC units look and function very similarly to window AC units and are often installed above or below existing windows. They work well in homes with thinner walls, and you should bear in mind it’s more complex work to remove a portion of your wall to fit them.

Through-The-Wall AC Unit Diagram
Use Mini Split System

Mini split system ACs work in a similar way to window units but have two distinct parts. You have the AC unit itself, which pumps the cool air into the room, and a cooling unit outside, which pulls the cold air in. Pipes are used to connect these and run through the walls of your home.

These AC units are very popular and can be very effective in controlling the temperature in your home. They are more expensive, and the nature of the device and pipes needed means that you will likely need to pay a professional to fit it.

These methods effectively control the temperature and humidity of air in a room, but they are more costly than window air conditioning units. You’ll need to be prepared for a more challenging installation and be aware that you might not get the same effectiveness from these types of AC units.

Mini Split System in Living Room

Installing a Window Air Conditioner In A Wall

Installing a window air conditioner in a wall isn’t too difficult, but you’ll need to make sure you have the right equipment to do it correctly and safely. Make sure you have:

  • A mounting bracket (usually metal)
  • Saw
  • Hammer and nails
  • Measuring devices and a level
  • Wood/lumber
  • Caulking device/gun
  • Safety equipment including gloves and eye protection
1. Establish the location

Work out where you want your AC unit. This should typically be at least 1 foot from the floor but no more than 5. You want to pick a location that impacts as few wall studs (wooden wall supports) as possible. Use your stud finder and choose a place that your AC unit can fit between.

2. Turn off the electricity

You’ll need to use a wall with a power source so that the AC unit can function. You should completely shut off your electricity before you start work to prevent any risk of an electric shock.

3. Cut the hole in the wall

Use the metal brackets that came with the device to establish the dimensions you need to cut out on the wall and then measure an extra 2 inches. This will allow room for your supporting frame around the outside.

Draw lines where you need to cut and then use your saw to cut through the wall to create a hole the unit will fit into. You can also use a drywall knife if that’s easier. Ensure you use a level so that the drawn lines are straight, and use protective gear to remove any insulation from the wall.

At this point, you are only cutting to the outside wall, not creating the full hole all the way through.

4. Create your air conditioner frame

Measure and cut the lumber to the correct size so it will fit in the hole you’ve cut. Use your hammer and nails to secure it all together, and then once you fit it into the hole, make sure you screw it into the wooden studs.

5. Cut the exterior wall

Use a drill in each of the 4 corners on the inside wall so you can see them from the outside. Use these as a guide and draw completely level lines on the outside wall. Use your saw to slice through and remove this piece of the exterior wall. Remember to keep this level, or it will not look good.

6. Put in the AC unit

You should now be able to slide in the metal bracket into the frame and place the AC unit in afterward. Please make sure you place it the right way so the air flows correctly.

7. Seal the opening

Use drywall to seal the large gaps and then the caulking gun for the rest, so it’s completely sealed around the unit. You may want to repaint the wall around it, particularly on the outside.

8. Plug in and test

Turn your electricity back on, plug the unit in and make sure it’s all working.

It is fairly straightforward to use a window AC unit without a window, but make sure you follow these steps a take all precautions to avoid injury. A full guide can be found here.

Alternative AC Solutions for Rooms Without A Window

Portable Air Conditioner

Portable air conditioning units work very similarly to standard AC units by drawing the warm air in, cooling it, and letting it flow back out. They’re stand-alone, lightweight, and can be moved from room to room as needed.

Portable air conditioners are quiet, affordable, and flexible. You will need to periodically empty the moisture from them so it keeps working, but they’re a lot easier to set up than a fixed unit. These are the ideal solution for those who only need AC a few months a year.

Evaporative Air Cooler

Evaporative air coolers use a slightly different technique to cool the air. The work by using a fan, a thick pad, and a water reservoir. Heat from the room is used to evaporate the water in the reservoir, which causes the temperature within the air cooler to drop, sometimes by up to 20 degrees. This creates cool air, which is blown out by the fan.

Evaporative air coolers are really affordable and still effective. They don’t last as long as a traditional AC unit, but they’re a viable alternative for small rooms.

Spot cooler

Spot coolers are a little less well known than other AC units but are a great solution for small to medium-sized rooms. Spot coolers operate in the same way as other AC units by pulling warm air into a device.

The air is then blown over cold water, which cools it down, and then released back into the room using a fan. Spot coolers are portable, affordable, and compact, making them a useful alternative if you have no window.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Can you put a window air conditioner on a table?

No, this won’t work because the unit won’t drain properly. This can cause damage to the unit and means it won’t function as intended.

Do window air conditioners filter smoke?

Most air conditioning units have a filtration system to help remove smoke particles from the air, but given the nature of smoke, it can be hard to entirely clear it from the air.

How do you secure a window air conditioner?

Window air conditioners are secured using the metal bracket provided, the frame, and using the window itself. This is all done during the installation, and it should be completely secured before you use it.

Conclusion

Air conditioning units are vital if you want to control the temperature in your home. If you don’t have a window, it can be tricky, but this guide shows you how a window air conditioner can be used without a window and introduces some alternatives to consider.

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.

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