Is a PTAC Air Conditioner Right for my Home or Business?
Whether PTAC air conditioners are right for your home or business will depend on several factors including your home or business's size, layout, and the climate in which you are located. Some people purchase PTAC units for just part of their home, such as for an added-on conservatory or an over-garage apartment. Smaller log cabins with open plans may work well with PTAC units too.
PTAC units are becoming more energy efficient all the time, but they are still not as efficient as centralized units. However, sometimes the individual climate control you gain from having PTAC units in apartments, hotel rooms, classrooms, or offices are worth the trade-off.
If you think you want to consider PTAC units for your home or business, the first thing to do would be to measure the rooms in which you would want to put the units. Once you know the square footage you need heating and cooling for, you can look up on a chart like the one below to determine the BTU rating you need in a PTAC system. Measure the room's length and width, and multiply those numbers together to obtain the square footage.
- 100-150 sq. ft., 5000 BTUs
- 150-250 sq. ft., 6000 BTUs
- 250-300 sq. ft., 7000 BTUs
- 300-350 sq. ft., 8000 BTUs
- 350-400 sq. ft., 9000 BTUs
- 400-450 sq. ft., 10000 BTUs
- 450-550 sq. ft., 12000 BTUs
- 550-700 sq. ft., 14000 BTUs
- 700-1000 sq. ft., 18000 BTUs
- 1000-1400 sq. ft., 24000 BTUs
You also have to consider whether your home or business has an open floor plan, or whether there are individual bedrooms or offices with exterior walls, since that is where PTAC systems are installed. PTAC systems work better in places where there are many smaller rooms with doors than in places with open floor plans or very large rooms.
Climate is another factor influencing whether PTAC systems are right for your home or business. In general, PTAC units work best in climates where there aren't big extremes in climate - whether hot or cold. The more moderate the climate, the more efficiently PTAC units can work. Extremes can overtax the units, causing them to wear out quicker.
Another consideration is when the rooms are used and whether occupancy varies. With PTAC systems, if a classroom is only used on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, then the PTAC can only be turned on on those days. Newer PTAC installations sometimes offer extras such as daily thermostat controls and programmable operation that can take advantage of off-peak electricity hours to maximize your heating and cooling money.
If your home or office has an open floor plan with cubicles instead of offices, however, a centralized system may be a better choice. A centralized system may be better if your house is occupied around the clock too. Centralized systems, too, have become far more energy efficient in recent years, so with either PTAC or central systems, you'll get better energy efficiency than you would have a decade ago. As far as longevity, centralized systems and PTAC systems are roughly the same. You should get 10 to 15 years out of the systems if they are properly maintained. Even if the systems are not worn out after that time period, it may be best to invest in a new system anyway due to the pace of increase in energy efficiency. The old systems can be taken out and largely recycled.