ptac units

Welcome to the PTAC Units FAQ. These are the questions we hear over and over again. If you have a question that isn't covered, would like to add to an answer, or you feel we've simply gotten it wrong, please add a comment below. We'd love to hear from you! Contact --Dave


PTAC Units FAQ

1. What is a PTAC unit?
A PTAC is a 42" wide ductless air conditioner that usually sits on the floor and is installed through a wall. One side of the unit faces the room, the other faces the outside. You've seen them in hotels and hospitals. PTAC stands for "packaged terminal air conditioner", which means it is a unitary (all in one) air conditioner.

2. What does PTAC stand for?
Packaged terminal air conditioner.

3. What is a heat pump, or PTHP?
A heat pump is an air conditioning unit that can also be used as a heater. When used to cool the air, the heat pump moves heat to the outside and blows cool air into your living space. When used to heat, the cycle is reversed and warm air is blown into the living space. For more info check out our heat pump page.

4. What is the best PTAC unit?
Amana ptac units are generally considered to be one of the better PTACs made. Parts are easy to come by and they hold up well.

5. Would a PTAC be a good solution for...(insert your specific needs here)?
The answer here is a resounding "it depends". PTACs are at their best heating and cooling single rooms, like hotels, and hospital rooms, but are also great for offices, etc. Some people use PTACs in their homes in added-on rooms where there is no central a/c ducting. They also work well in garages or other areas where installing ducting is too much trouble.

6. How much does a PTAC cost?
Ptacs will vary slightly in price depending on the manufacturer, but the main factor which determines price is the size of the unit. A 7000 BTU unit will cost around $550, but a 1400 BTU unit will cost in the $1200 range. Please note that cooling only units will be slightly cheaper than pthp (with heat pump) models. Models with heat strips will also be slightly more.

7. How long should a PTAC last?
A well-maintained ptac in a hotel setting where the room is usually occupied will last up to 5 years. (I spoke with an hvac tech who said he'd seen many a ptac unit die not from abuse or improper maintenance, but from people in hotels urinating on them. The acid eats the coils. Urine proofing addon in the works? --Dave)

8. What size (in BTUs) PTAC should I buy?
Buy a ptac that will easily cool (and heat) your room without stressing the unit. The size of the unit should be determined by the size of your room. A 100-150 sq. ft. room will need a 5000 BTU unit. A 550-700 sq. ft. room will need a 14000 BTU unit. See our ptac size and capacity page for more info.

9. What maintenance do I need to do on a PTAC?
Change or clean the filters regularly and clean the indoor and outdoor coils twice a year. See our 10 ptac unit maintenance tips for more info.

10. In what situation is a PTAC a bad idea?
Attempting to cool and/or heat a multi-room residential or office space wouldn't be the most efficient usage. A single unit can cool two rooms if it is big enough and fans are used between rooms to move cool/warm air into the second room. Anything beyond that will stress the unit and leave some room occupants too hot or cold depending on the season.



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