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Everyone makes mistakes. Most of the time they’re little ones that don’t really matter. But when it comes to installing new PTACs, even a small mistake can mean big trouble for you.

Fortunately, plenty of other people have already made lots of mistakes installing their PTACs. Why is that fortunate? Well, because by learning from their bungles, you can skip them yourself.

Here are 11 mistakes people make when installing new PTACs.

1. Purchasing the Wrong Unit

You might scoff at this one, but believe me, it happens more than you think.

PTACs can be picky animals. It isn’t a “one size fits all” kind of product. Getting the wrong unit is a recipe for problems.

When you’re on the hunt for the perfect PTAC, you should always keep a few things in mind.

  • Size: Yes, when it comes to PTACs, size matters. Units that are too large for a space can create a humidity problem, which in turn causes mold to grow. Alternately, units that are too small for a space won’t have enough cooling or heating capacity to do the job effectively.
  • Voltage: PTACs can be 220v or 265v. You have to buy units with the right voltage for your situation.
  • Amperage: PTACs can come in 15, 20, or 30 amps. You’ll need to make sure you get units with the right amperage in order to match your breakers and existing receptacles.

2. Forgetting the Sleeve and Grille

It isn’t uncommon for people to forget to order a sleeve and a grille for their PTACs. Why is that such a problem? Here’s why: you can’t install a new unit without these two accessories.

However, when you’re replacing an older unit, you can reuse the existing sleeve and grille to save a little time and money.

3. Not Ordering a Power Cord

Some brands include power cords with every PTAC unit, but don’t take it for granted. Plenty of options, including GE, Carrier/Gree, and LG, don’t.

If the manufacturer you’re ordering from doesn’t supply a power cord, you’ll need to order one separately. You can’t run your PTAC without one!

4. Leaving the Internal Packing Materials Inside the Unit

Removing the packing materials seems like a no-brainer, right? But often, it’s the simplest things that can throw a real wrench in the whole project.

Remember to remove the internal packing materials from inside the PTAC units. The fans won’t turn until you do.

5. Installing the Sleeve Incorrectly

It’s very important to install the sleeve correctly. If you don’t tilt it outside, then condensate water will drip into the room.

No one wants a soggy floor!

6. Not Cleaning the Drains of an Existing Sleeve

If you install a replacement PTAC unit into an existing sleeve, you’ll have to remember to clean the drains. Otherwise, the drains may be blocked, and then guess what happens?

That’s right: once again, water will drip into the room. Nobody wants that.

7. Not Having the Right Sleeve or Exterior Grille

You’ll have to verify you get the correct sleeve depth and correct exterior grille.

If the sleeve is too shallow, the unit won’t slide all the way into the sleeve. (For example, older Friedrich or ClimateMaster brand units had shallow sleeves.)

And if the sleeve is too deep, you may need a baffle kit to ensure proper outdoor airflow and to keep the compressor from overheating.

And remember: units must snug up to the exterior grille.

Some non-OEM outdoor grilles also need an outdoor air deflector, so keep an eye out for that.

8. Not Fastening the Unit Securely to the Sleeve

It’s very important to make certain every unit is fastened securely to its sleeve.

The mounting holes on older sleeves can get stripped, and older sleeves are often missing screw clips as well. You may need to drill new mounting holes in the sleeve or install new clips to mount the PTAC properly.

Don’t forget: to eliminate air leaks, the unit must be snug. That’s very important.

9. Over-Tightening the Installation Screws

While the unit does have to be securely fastened, there is such a thing as too secure.

Over-tightening can cause a bind, which in turn causes interference issues between the fan blades and the fan shrouds. You can avoid the whole problem by being careful not to overdo it.

10. Having the Wrong Length of Curtains

When the curtains above the unit are too long, the unit blows them outward and upward into the room. This causes the unit to short cycle.

What’s short cycling? It’s when the cold or warm air being discharged gets trapped and re-directed right back into the unit.

Though short-cycling satisfies the thermostat and the unit “thinks” the room is cooled or heated properly, the reality is that only the area adjacent to the PTAC unit has been cooled or heated.

11. Keeping Furniture Too Close to the PTAC Unit

All your furniture needs to stay a certain distance from the unit.

Furniture positioned too closely can cause the same scenario as long curtains. For example, cold air bounces off the back of a couch and right back into the unit, causing the unit to short cycle.

You’ll run into the same problem: your furniture will trick the PTAC into thinking the whole room’s temperature is lower or higher than it really is.

It doesn’t have to be a struggle.

Installing new PTAC units shouldn’t be too much of a chore. Just take your time, learn from the mistakes of others, and you’ll be on your way to efficient climate control in no time.