Ptac air conditioners, or packaged terminal air-conditioners, are efficient because they heat or cool only the room they occupy. HVAC systems can sometimes waste energy cooling unoccupied bathrooms, hallways, empty rooms, etc. With a ptac, this isn't a problem.
What to look for when buying a ptac air conditioner?
PTAC stands for Package Terminal Air Conditioner. They're used a lot in the hospitality industry - you've probably stayed in a hotel that had them. A PTAC is a self-contained air conditioning unit that is installed through an outside wall rather than through a window. While PTAC units can be installed through windows, most units are 42 inches wide, so it would have to be a big window. One unit goes in each room, and each unit is controlled independently. Some PTAC units are made for both heating and air conditioning.
A few "green" reasons to consider ptac air conditioners
In some cases, PTAC air conditioning units can be more energy efficient (and hence more "green") than traditional window unit air conditioners or central units. Here are 10 eco-friendly reasons you should consider a PTAC unit.
- Many models have electronic temperature limits. You can set separate heating and cooling ranges to prevent the cost of extreme use.
- If you're in the hospitality industry, you can order desk ready controls that allow you to turn units on when guests arrive, and then turn them off after they leave.
- You can get PTAC units with energy efficiency ratios (EERs) of up to 12.2. This will help you save on electricity.
- Custom controls can be added for institutional uses (offices, schools, etc.) such as start / stop control that provides heating or A/C from a specified time in the morning to a specified time in the evening. This kind of control is connected to a central energy management system.
- Morning warm-up control can be used in offices and schools to pre-warm rooms before peak demand electricity rates kick in. Pre-warming offices or classrooms ensures that when workers and / or students arrive, they aren't turning their units on at the same time during peak demand periods.
- A "day reset" button can be used in conjunction with systems that are set to run during set hours, say 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. If anyone is around after the units shut off for the day, they can press a "day reset" button on their unit to continue having heat or A/C. This feature can also be programmed for weekend use.
- Heating element lock-out is the cold weather counterpart to compressor lock-out. For example, on a cool (but not cold) winter day, heating elements on the south side of a building could have the elements locked out for a certain period of time while the heating elements on the north side of a building would continue to have operational heating elements due to their colder conditions.
- Using a remote temperature sensor with a PTAC air conditioner allows temperature sensing on an internal wall for better temperature control than an on-unit sensor.
- Cleanable, reusable filters keep dirt and lint off the coil. They can be easily removed, cleaned, and reinserted, making it easy for users to maximize the energy efficiency of their PTAC unit.
There are a lot of manufacturers to choose from. Take a look at our pages on each manufacturer to start your search, then consult your local HVAC expert before making a purchase. Take into consideration the different warranties, parts availability and maintenance options before purchasing. You might want to hunt down another business using the unit you are considering purchasing and ask how the unit is performing.
Amana PTAC units are some of the most popular currently. They have a good warranty, parts are easy to get and the units are fairly trouble free. GE units are generally well-regarded but warranty issues must be handled by a factory authorized service tech. LG, Friedrich, Trane, McQuay and others are also worth considering.
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- LG PTAC units claim "ultra quiet" operation and EER scores up to 12.5. Digital controls on most models.
- GE PTAC units, specifically the Zoneline 4100 and 6100 claim to offer higher efficiency and quieter operation.
- Friedrich PTAC Units were redesigned in 2006 to be more quiet.
- The Trane PTACs also claim efficiency and a less noisy operation. EER ratings of 9.6 to 12.5.
- Installing a PTAC is fairly straightforward, but you might want to keep these PTAC installation tips in mind when performing an install.