PTACs are ductless air conditioners, so the good news is that an installer doesn't have to worry about installing ducting into every room of an office, hotel, hospital or home. The PTAC sits in a hole in the wall; half outside, half inside the room. So the most difficult part of installing a ptac is actually cutting the hole in the wall.
PTAC Unit Installation Tips
Each air packaged terminal air conditioner manufacturer, whether it be GE, Amana, Trane, LG or another brand, will have documentation detailing the correct way to install their specific unit. Here are a few general guidelines for installing a ptac regardless of manufacturer.
Who should install the PTAC?
There are no qualifications necessary to install a PTAC. PTACs are sealed systems and basically just slide into the wall. Ideally though, an HVAC pro or experienced maintenance person should install your PTAC. Most manufacturers suggest professional installation. If the unit is not properly installed and the botched installation is found to be the problem associated with the unit, the warranty may not cover the cost of repair; so when in doubt, call your local HVAC expert or someone with ptac install experience.
Correct Sizing Is Critical
How much ptac do I need? A good rule of thumb is 30 BTUs per square foot. So if you've got a 10 x 20 room, you'll need a (10x20x30 =) 6000 BTU capacity ptac. For more info check out our PTAC size and capacity page.
There is a lot of work involved in the installation of a packaged air conditioner system and in many cases, there are a lot of parts involved (typically depends on the manufacturer of the unit being installed, as well as the model of the unit being installed) in the installation and this is another reason why a professional installer is recommended. For some makes and models of packaged air conditioners, there are up to nine different installation kits. A layman might get into trouble here. Even though most manufacturers offer detailed instructions for installation, the purchaser is far better off to leave this job to an HVAC expert. In the end, it will save time and money.
The most difficult part: Through the wall
Heat pump air conditioners are typically installed through the wall; meaning that the unit is both visible from the outside of the building and on the inside of the building. So you'll need to cut a hole in the wall. Most PTACs are 42" across. Precise measurements and cuts must be made for the unit to fit snugly and properly. It's best to make the cuts when the building is being constructed instead of after the fact; however, a packaged air conditioner unit can always be installed at a future date and time, but it will require more work for the installer.
Framing in the sleeve is one of the most difficult parts of the job. Here, you might want to consider hiring a carpenter to frame in the sleeve. If the unit doesn't fit snugly, cool (or warm) air may escape, or outside air might enter, resulting in a less efficient unit.
How much wall sleeve should show on the inside
The wall sleeve houses the ptac chassis. Pay attention to how much of the sleeve shows on the inside of the room. If you've got more than a few inches showing then you need to install a sub-base. The sub-base sits under the unit on the room side supporting the weight and keeping the unit level. The PTAC case must be level. If the unit extends too far into the room and is not level, the wall could fail or you might get condensate water drainage into the room.
Here are a few more PTAC install tips:
- Make sure the unit is level. If the unit isn't level it might damage the wall. Also, if the unit is leaning in toward the room, condensate water may leak onto the floor.
- Make sure the vents are not restricted by the frame or trim. If airflow is restricted, the unit won't operate as efficiently.
- Compare the different brands and models available on the market and make sure that the manufacturer that you choose either has an installation technician available or that they can recommend a professional installer.
- Since brands and models are different, an installer may be experienced with one but not another. Before choosing an a/c pro, find out if they have experience with the particular brand of packaged air conditioner system that you have purchased.
- Have the install technician come to assess the job prior to the installation date. This way potential problems can be avoided. Many times, when problems are known they can be overcome easily and less expensively than if the job has already started. For example, installation of a unit where no power outlet is within reach of the power cord. If known prior to the installation process, a ptac accessory kit can be ordered to either extend the power cord or an outlet can be installed.
- If you have any questions or concerns about the installation of the packaged air conditioner unit, make sure to talk with the manufacturer prior to purchase. They will be able to address your concerns and if a problem is foreseen, they will be able to point you in the right direction. For example, maybe your building is not equipped with the right power supply to handle a unit or units that you need; a quick call to the manufacturer again could save time and money.