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When to Trade Out Your PTACs

How long do PTACs really last? The average lifespan of a PTAC unit is about seven years—ten years if it is maintained well. Unfortunately, most hotel owners wait longer than that to trade out their PTACs, especially if their old units still seem to get the job done.

Operating outdated PTAC units can cause problems, not to mention lead to more maintenance headaches and higher utility bills. Even though there’s no definitive guideline for replacing PTAC units, your old units will begin to show three tell-tale signs as they near the end of their life cycle.

Sign #1: The unit is not as efficient as it once was.

Newer PTAC models are known for their energy efficiency, and they can be retrofitted to replace older models. That’s why buying an updated model is usually a more energy-efficient choice than buying the old, identical model.

Pay close attention to the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER rating). The EER rating measures how efficiently the unit converts electricity into output energy. This article from Green Lodging News compares the EER ratings of a new unit and a ten-year-old unit. When new, the unit’s EER rating hovers around 5.0, but as the years go by, it’s typical for the EER rating to drop to 3.0.

If the EER of your PTAC units has dropped, then it’s time to invest in newer units with an EER of 10 or higher. Because they use less energy, new units offer the double benefit of being an eco-friendly choice and saving hotel owners on utility bills. They eventually pay for themselves!

Sign #2: The unit is not EPA compliant.

The majority of units do well by EPA standards. But if yours is ancient or hasn’t been properly maintained with environmentally friendly coolant, there’s a chance you may be in danger of no longer being compliant or of harming the environment.

Currently, R-22 coolant, commonly known as freon, is being phased out of production. There is no need for concern, however. There is enough freon already produced to supply running PTACs for decades to come, and PTACs that use freon can use an alternative eco-friendly coolant instead.

However, it’s always a good idea to be as environmentally friendly as possible. We can make sure all previous coolant is properly disposed of for you and that your new or refurbished PTACs are earth friendly.

Sign #3: The unit makes excessive noise.

Some PTAC units are noisier than others, but older units can be especially prone to squeaks, whistles, and rattles. And what’s the number one thing that guests seem to complain about? Loud, malfunctioning air conditioners.

By investing in a quieter unit, perhaps with a dual fan system, you can accommodate sensitive guests, receive fewer complaints, and lose less revenue to refund requests.

Hoteliers often don’t realize they have loud units until a guest complains or leaves a negative review on TripAdvisor. If you are receiving repeated complaints of temperature extremes, of poor air circulation or quality, or of broken, noisy, or inefficient air conditioners, then replacing your PTACs is a reliable way to keep guests happy. After all, PTAC units are an essential part of a positive, comfortable experience.

If you have any questions about the quietest, most energy-efficient, or most reliable PTACs, email us at or call (888) 458-PTAC. We sell all the major brands and can offer unbiased advice.