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Wall-Mounted Air Conditioners: How They Work

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Roger in Iowa’s feeling the summer heat. How can we help you keep cool?

    ROGER: Well, I have a house that was built in the late 70s and it’s got electric heat in it. And we’ve tried some window air conditioners but they just don’t work very well. And I wonder what’s out there. I’ve heard of some units that go on the wall, perhaps, but what can I do with a house that doesn’t have any duct work?

    TOM: Well, yeah, you’re probably talking about a split system. I have, actually, one of those in my office. It’s called a – it’s a Fujitsu split system. And basically the air handler is mounted on the wall inside the house. And it’s a large, flat kind of a panel. Looks like the front of an air conditioner. And then there’s a refrigerant line that goes from there through the wall and out to the compressor. Those are going to be more expensive, if you have to put a bunch of them in, than putting in a central system. But that’s one way to cool a fairly large area of your house. Is that what you’re thinking of?

    ROGER: Well again, is there something where they have a unit outside and then you could add these different units in different rooms as you need them?

    TOM: No.

    ROGER: Is that …

    TOM: Because every one of these units has to have its own compressor.

    ROGER: I see.

    TOM: It’s a small compressor compared to a standard system but it is a compressor.

    ROGER: Ah, OK. So there’s nothing that I can go with some sort of outdoor unit and then just handling units in the house then.

    TOM: No, because they have to be – they have to be connected via a refrigerant line to the compressor. Because what happens is the – you know, the refrigerant line changes from a gas state to a liquid state and that’s how the cooling process happens. It runs through a coil outside and inside.

    ROGER: OK.

    TOM: And inside it condenses. Outside it expands. And that’s why it has to, basically, have its own compressor.

    ROGER: Any idea of what one of those units costs?

    TOM: Probably somewhere in the $3,000 to $4,000 range installed.

    ROGER: OK. I guess that’s what I need to know.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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