People searching for air conditioners without an outdoor unit are on the rise – probably because they’re worried about not having enough space for the outdoor condensing unit, or aren’t permitted to add anything to the outside of their property. But what they might not know is that air conditioning units that don’t have an outdoor unit won’t be as effective as full air conditioning systems, and could even be dangerous. So, should you consider air con that just works through the wall? We’ll try to explain here.

How do air conditioners without outdoor units work?

Standard air conditioning units are made up of an internal unit, an external unit and pipes that connect the units and coils together. In a normal air conditioning system, the pipes will carry refrigerant between the indoor and outdoor units. The refrigerant transfers heat in and out of the air. When air passes over the coils that have been in contact with the refrigerant, the air will be cooled down as the refrigerant will absorb the heat.

A compressor within the system also keeps the refrigerant moving around the pipes, and fans keep air moving over the coils. The outside unit, often called a condenser, is responsible for releasing the heat to the air outside. You can find out more about how air conditioning works in our blog.

But how do internal-only air conditioning units work? A lot of air conditioners without an outdoor unit are marketed as ‘DIY’ units. These units don’t have an outdoor unit, making installation easier. Usually, air is pumped through ducts at the back of the unit, so the unit needs to be installed against an outside-facing wall. You’ll be supplied with grilles for the wall and a condensate drainpipe.

Essentially, the ducts are used to draw air into the unit and pass over the coils rather than an outside condenser unit with pipes that move the heat in and out of your property.

We’ve discussed the problems with DIY air conditioning units in our blog, and why here at D-Air we won’t install them because it’s illegal for air conditioning to be sold to end-users.

So are these types of units worth it?

bedroom install with outdoor air conditioning unit

We can come up with a solution for your outdoor unit

In our eyes, we don’t think it’s worth getting an air conditioner with no outdoor unit. Because they don’t have the power of the condenser, they won’t be able to cool large spaces efficiently, so you might not ever get a room as cool as you want it and it might cost you a lot in electricity bills.

We’ve also talked about this before in our post about why we don’t do install-only jobs: it’s illegal for businesses to sell air conditioning to end-users. Air conditioners use refrigerants which are extremely harmful to the environment if not handled correctly and end up being released into the atmosphere, so air conditioning units are only supposed to be sold to those with the correct qualifications.

If you’ve been able to buy an air conditioner with no outdoor unit yourself, the chances are it’s not gone through the rigorous testing that’s required to ensure that the system is safe to use. We’d recommend steering clear of them and asking a reputable air conditioning installer to give you a quote for a full split or multi-split system.

So while it can seem tempting to get an air conditioning unit with no condenser, our answer is that they’re not worth it. If you’re worried about not having enough space for an outdoor unit, speak to us – there are lots of ways that we can utilise even small areas to add a condenser, so having a full air conditioning system could still be a possibility.

And if you’re worried about price, we offer competitive rates and provide you with quotes for a range of products from standard to premium ranges, so you can find an air conditioning system that suits your budget.