I bought my eichler around two years ago with an old GE wall AC unit installed in one of the bedrooms. I think it's about time I replaced it with a new unit that doesn't have a broken panel and is quieter. The current one measures 26" long x 18" high.
I looked around Sears and couldn't find one that was around the same size. So if I put in a new smaller unit, I'm wondering how big the project will be or whether I should hire a carpenter to do the work. I imagine that I will need to build a new frame, studs, patch the drywall, and patch the siding on the outside. Has anyone completed a similar project and can give me some advice?
I see no responses from the audience, so offer these from someone who is a novice DIY (after 20 years of city apartment living).
First, I estimate a handyman type would charge $300 to install (no extra's) - 3-4 hours @ $80-$100. Do you want to save the moeny and try DIY.
Removing the old AC unit and doing the new trim work are the hardest parts. Removing the old AC is hard because you don't know where the secured points (screws or nails) are without demolishing the existing frame & surroundings -- it is possible there are few secure points and you can push/pull it right out. You will have to figure it out.
AC - - I think you should stick with a wall unit and avoid the window units which are now available everywhere for the season - - this is because wall units presumably have specific mounting instructions while you have to make it up for securing a window unit through the wall. From briefly surfing the web, wall units appear tend to bigger capacity (8,000 btu & above), physically larger , more expensive than window units and you have to look harder for higher EER units. So a window unit is tempting.
Installation -- I expect that your current unit slides through a wood "box" framed by 2x4 studs. When you remove the old unit, you should be able to see the frame. I would align the new AC towards 1 side so you need only to re-frame the top & 1 side -- the ideal situation is that you can work in another 2x4 (to the left or right) and another 2x4 (above the new AC) and leave the existing frame alone (again, probably framed by 2x4).
Follow the AC installation instructions to secure the new AC. Yes, you will have to patch the interior drywall and built a trim frame to cover the gaps around the AC and wall. On the outside and as you said, you will have to patch the exterior with siding pieces. You don't need a trim frame unless the gaps are large but need to weatherproof the outside.
This looks like at least a half-day project.