How To Install A Wall Air Conditioner In Drywall

If you live in a small house, and you don't want to install central air, consider installing a wall air conditioner. A wall air conditioner is quiet, efficient, and it doesn't take up the whole window. You don't need advanced HVAC skills to install a wall air conditioner, but it helps to have carpentry skills. Here are some tips to install a wall air conditioner in drywall.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • safety goggles
  • pencil
  • stud finder
  • level and tape measure
  • pry bar
  • drywall tape
  • two by four plywood
  • hammer and nails
  • caulk and caulk gun
  • utility knife or drywall saw
  • circular saw
  • cordless drill and drill bits
  • wall air conditioner

Choose a location to install the unit, preferably one to five feet above the floor. The location should not be close to electronics, utility lines, or electrical lines, since the condensation from the air conditioner may damage them. Try to place the air conditioner below a window, if possible, because the header can support the unit. Ensure the cord can reach the outlet.

Cut the Hole

Shut off power to the room. Use a stud finder to locate studs, and mark their locations using the pencil. Place the unit so you will only need to cut one stud. In an older home, you may need to cut two studs to hold the length of the unit.

Measure the length and width of the unit, and mark it on the interior wall. Check for evenness of the marks with the level. 

Knock out a small portion of drywall to check for wiring before you completely cut the hole. Use the utility knife or drywall saw to cut the hole to about a one-inch depth, and remove drywall with a pry bar. Salvage as much drywall as possible to patch holes later.

Drill a hole from the interior wall frame to exterior wall on each corner. Mark lines with a pencil using the holes as a guide. Cut the exterior wall with the circular saw.

Mount the Wall Air Conditioner

Measure the length of the interior vertical wall studs on the bottom holes, and cut the plywood to fit. Hammer it in place, checking for evenness with the level. Cut a board to fit the length of the top of the stud, and nail it in place.

Attach the bracket according to instructions. Slide the air conditioner in place with a slight tilt so the condensation goes outside. Replace drywall to cover holes, and install drywall tape on the seams. Caulk around the exterior edges to make a tight seal.

Restore power to the room, and test the air conditioner. If the unit doesn't work, or you don't trust your skill to install it, contact an HVAC service.

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