The Comprehensive Guide to Wall Mounted Air Conditioning Units

When it comes to deciding which form of air conditioning is right for you, there are a lot of options to choose from. Lots of people choose portable units, on account of their relatively low cost and quick installation process. However, portable units take up a lot of floor space which you may not have. They can also look out of place among certain styles of furniture – so what can you do?

One alternative is the wall mounted air conditioning unit.

Types of wall mounted air conditioning units

There are two main types of wall mounted units. The difference between them comes down to how cool air is dispersed throughout the house, as well as what kind of renovations must be made during the installation process.

When it comes to wall mounted air conditioning units, you have a choice between central A/C and split systems.

How do these types of air conditioning operate?

Both of these types of A/C units function on a similar two part system. In either case, there is an external unit installed, typically in the garden. There is also an internal unit (or series of units) mounted on walls inside the house.

In the case of central air conditioning, there is a singular indoors heat exchanger. It is a large machine that distributes cool or warm air throughout the entire house. Due to its size, ideal locations for this unit are often either in the loft or basement.

Connected to this is the outdoors component. For central air conditioning, this unit houses a compressor and condenser. If you find yourself asking “how does air conditioning work”, read the article linked here. In short though, these components operate by pushing refrigerant around the system in order to continually circulate cool air.

Unlike the strict 2 machine system described here, split systems consist of 1 external and between 1-5 internal units. In the event that there’s more than one internal unit, the split system is referred to as a multi-split system.

Otherwise, the internal and external parts work in much the same way. The only variation in function is that each internal unit is smaller as it isn’t designed to service the whole home. This means that you don’t have to find room for them in the loft, or a basement.

What is the difference between central air conditioning and split system?

In terms of how these options are installed, there is one key difference.

When split and multi-split systems are installed, a hole must be drilled next to the wall mounting. With a diameter of around 3 inches, the cables that connect the internal and external units are run through here.

By comparison, central air conditioning not only requires a way of feeding cables outside but also ducting and grilles. These components allow for additional ventilation throughout the home. As a result, there’s sometimes higher labour costs when this type of wall mounted air conditioning unit is installed.

Cost of wall mounted air conditioning units

Because of their increased output and stronger aesthetics, their price is higher than that of portable A/C. Below is a table that provides a snapshot comparison of the options available.

Type of air conditioning Average cost
Portable unit £400-£2,000
Split and multi-split system £1,500-£3,000
Central air conditioning £2,000-£6,000


As you can see, if you’re looking for the cheapest option then portable is best suited for you. However, it lacks many of the benefits of wall mounted air conditioning units.

Why do wall mounted systems cost more?

This varies slightly depending on the style in question, but they share many price-influencing factors.

The complexity of these units is far greater and as such there’s a lot more labour involved in their installation.

For split systems, an installer has to spend time figuring out where the ideal spots to mount the units are. Then, comes the actual installation process, which takes increasingly longer with each internal unit added. Don’t forget that next to each of these boxes a hole must be drilled for the wiring. Between all of these tasks, installation can often take a few hours, leading to higher labour costs.

Central air conditioning is similarly complex. A specialist will have to inspect your loft and basement (if you have one) to decide where is best to place the internal unit. From there, they have to install ducting and grilles so that airflow throughout the house is optimal. Not only does this take a long time, incurring cost there, but it requires additional materials.

It should be noted, however, that if your home already has these components then installation costs will be much lower.

Furthermore, the price of your wall mounted air conditioning is dependent on certain other factors, such as:

  • The manufacturer and brand of your chosen unit – renowned and reliable makes will have a premium attached to them
  • Your style of property – flats can cost more because of the accommodations that must be made for living higher up
  • The total system output – more powerful models of A/C will naturally cost more

Benefits of wall mounted air conditioning units

Beyond the range of options available, there are a variety of reasons that wall mounted air conditioning units might be right for you.


Air conditioning is a practically focused addition to the home, but even so, you want something that won’t disrupt your home’s visual style. This can be hard to achieve with an appliance of this kind. But wall mounted air conditioning units are better than most.

Rather than having a portable unit that has to blend in with the furniture, these units sit high up. Wall mounted fixtures are required to be installed at least 7 feet from the ground. Being higher than eye level, it’s not often that you’re likely to notice an internal unit like this. You can even hide it between shelves of similar features to have it better acclimate with the room’s design.


The last thing you want is to turn on the A/C to relax, only to be distracted by noise. Thankfully, wall mounted air conditioning units tend to be quieter than their competitors.

Typical portable units emit noise at an average range of 38-53 dBA. Compared to the average of 19-49 dBA for wall mounted fixtures and the difference is clear.