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5 Factors to Consider Before Shopping for PTACs

Not all PTACs are created equal. Not all are suited for every use, either.

You don’t want to invest in a PTAC unit that ends up being a poor fit for your situation. That’s why it’s always a good idea to find out exactly what you need before you go looking for it.

So what do you need? Well, a variety of factors can make any PTAC the right or wrong choice for you.

Here are some things to take into consideration before you go hunting for the perfect PTAC.

1. Budget

Before anything else, you’ll need to know what your budget is. That will filter your possibilities down considerably. By knowing up front what’s out of your price range and what isn’t, you can save yourself plenty of time.

First things first: how much are you willing to spend on a PTAC (or multiple PTACs)? That’s the sort of thing no one can really decide for you. The answer could range anywhere based on how much money you have to spare and how important it is to you to get a high-end model.

So, what’ll that budget limit be for you? It’s your call to make. (But you do have to make it.)

2. Climate

Your region’s climate is going to have a major impact on what PTAC works best for you.

For example:

  • If you live somewhere that gets especially cold in the winter, you might want a PTAC with electric heat since they’re much more efficient for heating than heat pump alternatives.
  • On the other hand, if your region has mild winters or stays warm year round, there isn’t really any reason a heat pump model won’t suffice.
  • An especially cold climate will also make optional features like an anti-freezing system important, while a hot climate will mean you’d want a dehumidification feature.
  • Other factors such as the average snowfall and propensity for harsh weathers (and what kinds your region is vulnerable to) will also affect the decision.

Take the specifics of your region and look into which types of PTACs are designed to meet the unique needs of your geographic region and the associated climate.

3. Room Size

By and large, PTACs are only meant to heat or cool one room at a time. It’s one of the advantages of using PTACs in the first place, but it also means you’ll need to get a PTAC that’s right for the size of the room in question.

The power of a PTAC is measured in Btu, or British thermal units. (Don’t let the name steer you wrong: it’s the system used for American products.)

Here’s a handy chart to give you a rough idea of what Btu range is best for different spaces:

  • 100–150 sq. feet: 5,000 Btu
  • 150–250 sq. feet: 6,000 Btu
  • 250–300 sq. feet: 7,000 Btu
  • 300–350 sq. feet: 8,000 Btu
  • 350–400 sq. feet: 9,000 Btu
  • 400–450 sq. feet: 10,000 Btu
  • 450–550 sq. feet: 12,000 Btu
  • 550–700 sq. feet: 15,000 Btu
  • 700–1,000 sq. feet: 18,000 Btu
  • 1,000–1,200 sq. feet: 21,000 Btu
  • 1,200–1,400 sq. feet: 23,000 Btu
  • 1,400–1,600 sq. feet: 25,000 Btu
  • 1,600–1,900 sq. feet: 28,000 Btu
  • 1,900–2,700 sq. feet: 36,000 Btu

Now, there are other factors that matter other than just the size of the room. These include:

  • Where is the building located? For example, is it in the desert or the mountains?
  • How many people typically occupy the room?
  • Are there any heat-producing appliances in the room, such as ovens?
  • How high are the ceilings?
  • How heavily is the room insulated?
  • How many windows does the room have?
  • What directions do the windows face? Does it get morning or afternoon sun? How much sunlight will be coming in?
  • Is the room on an interior or exterior corridor?

4. Energy Efficiency

How important is it to you to conserve energy? Obviously, saving money on your monthly electricity bill is a major plus, but there can be other motivations for wanting to reduce the amount of energy you’re using.

For PTACs, energy efficiency is measured using the EER (energy efficiency ratio). The higher the rating, the more energy efficient the unit is going to be.

Most units with higher energy efficiency are going to cost more up front, but they’ll also probably end up saving you big bucks on your energy bills in the long run.

5. Preferred Noise Level

PTACs can be the quietest climate control option, but that doesn’t make them all equally quiet.

PTAC units come with either a one-fan or two-fan system. Two-fan systems have one fan on the condenser side of the unit and one on the evaporator side. These are usually much quieter. The two-fan system is often the only way to get an especially quiet system, as most major brands all have roughly the same noise levels otherwise. While different PTAC brands do research their noise levels, they all use different standards for testing, so there isn’t any continuity.

So if it’s important that it be very quiet—for example, if you’re managing a hotel and you want your guests to be able to rest without any distracting buzzing from their room’s PTAC—then you’ll probably want to invest in a two-fan PTAC system.

So what’s best for you?

I can’t give you all the right answers, but hopefully now you have a better idea of the right questions.

Happy hunting!

Oh, and if you could use even more free help…

We’d love to help you take the guesswork out of picking the right PTAC for your situation. That’s why we’re offering this helpful PDF resource for free. It has clear graphics and a handy table of Btu ranges—because a picture is always worth a thousand words, especially when it comes to things like plugin types.

With this free booklet, you’ll be well on your way to making the right call.

So click Free Download to take a major step in the right direction.

And if you’d like a little personalized expert advice on picking the right PTACs for your property, give us a call at (888) 458-7822.

Or, you can fill out this contact form, and we’ll follow up with you.

Why You Should Use a PTAC

Is a PTAC right for you? Well, that depends on exactly what you need.

Because of their design, PTACs work best for conditioning single rooms. Trying to control the climate of too much space will probably leave you with air distributed unevenly. Worse, it adds stress to the unit, shortening its life expectancy.

PTACs are most common in places like hotels, inns, motels, senior living centers, and hospitals. That’s because they give owners and managers greater control over heating and cooling costs, controlling the climate on a room-by-room basis rather than for the whole building. This provides guests with much more convenience, letting them choose their own ideal atmosphere without affecting their neighbors’ environments.

But even if you aren’t managing a hotel or hospital, PTACs can still be a great option. Plenty of homeowners opt for the lower costs and greater convenience afforded by PTACs, especially those without central air.

They’re easy to install and maintain, they save space, they’re energy-efficient, and they can last for up to 10 years—sometimes even longer.

What makes PTACs so great?

Well, just for starters:

  • Typically, installation takes nothing more than a wall sleeve to slide the PTAC unit into. No ductwork is required; this makes installation all the more simple and reduces costs up front.
  • Maintenance is usually as simple as an occasional cleaning. Most models are designed to make cleaning as convenient as possible, and some even make it a very rare task.
  • They work. Provided you have a PTAC with the correct Btu for the space, they’re bound to do a fantastic job of cooling (or sometimes heating) it.
  • The energy efficiency relative to alternative methods is worth taking note of. Many PTAC users find that they save significant sums in their electric bills because of the fine-tuned efficiency of most PTAC units.
  • PTACs often have good life spans, cutting out the potential costs of frequent replacements.
  • They also have a tendency to be quieter than most alternatives, reducing any potential disturbances.
  • Most PTACs have heating options as well, so there’s no need to invest in a separate heater when winter rolls around.

In short: PTACs are easy to install, they’re easy to maintain, they’re quiet, and most importantly, they do their job well. They’re the complete package for convenient, energy-efficient, user-friendly climate control.

If you’re renovating a home, replacing an existing model, outfitting a guest room for family and friends, or managing a hotel or other business in the hospitality industry, PTACs are the perfect answer for providing your space with long-term comfort.

How about some further help tailored personally to you?

If you’d like some expert advice on picking the right PTACs for your property, give us a call at (888) 458-7822.

Or, you can fill out this contact form, and we’ll follow up with you.

Which type of PTAC is right for you?

Which type of PTAC is right for you?

PTACs, (packaged terminal air conditioners) come in one of two types, each using a different technology to heat and cool a space.

Neither is obviously superior to the other in all cases; both have their own pros and cons.

Deciding which is right for you will depend on what exactly you need it for and where you live.

Here are some pointers to help out.

PTACs with Heat Pumps

The first type of packaged terminal air conditioner is the heat pump variety. These typically have a four-way valve that reverses the refrigerant’s flow and cooling cycle.

PTACs with heat pumps generally cost more up front—something like $60–$70 extra in most cases. Fortunately, that higher bill at the start will pay off through energy efficiency in the long run. You can expect to save a bundle in electric bills over the life of the unit.

However, PTACs with heat pumps aren’t going to be nearly as effective as electric heat when it comes to heating a room.

If your primary purpose for a unit is to cool your space in the summer or you have mild winters, a heat pump model is probably going to work just fine.

If, however, you’re planning to use the PTAC as a main source of heat, a heat pump probably won’t suffice—especially if you live somewhere that gets extremely cold in the winter months.

So, if you intend to use your unit mostly for cooling in a temperate climate, PTACs with heat pumps might be the best option for you. They’ve even become increasingly popular recently because of their reputation for energy efficiency.

But what if you need a little more heating power?

PTACs with Electric Heat

The second type of PTAC is the electric heat model. These have an additional heating element near the vents.

Units with electric heat cost less at the start, but due to their lower energy efficiency, you’ll likely end up spending more on your electricity bill in the long run.

On the other hand, electric heat packaged terminal air conditioners often last longer than their heat pump counterparts. They also operate at quieter levels.

But the real reason you should consider an electric heat packaged terminal air conditioner isn’t because of the up-front savings, the longer lifespan, or the quiet operation. It’s because it will be vastly superior as a heater.

If you want a PTAC that will get the job done when that next blizzard rolls around, an electric heat model is probably your best bet. It’ll keep on working even at the lowest temperatures.

When you’re snowed in and the wind is howling outside through a frigid night, having electric heat will go a long way toward real comfort and peace of mind.

It’s your call…mostly.

Unfortunately, we can’t tell you whether a packaged terminal air conditioner with electric heat or a heat pump is right for you. That depends on where you are and what you need.

But we can help. If you’d like a little expert advice on picking the right PTACs for your property, give us a call at (888) 458-7822.

Or, you can fill out this contact form, and we’ll follow up with you.

Why You Have to Recycle PTACs Properly (and How to Do It)

Why You Have to Recycle PTACs Properly (and How to Do It)

Under ideal circumstances, a good PTAC unit should last up to 15 years. But even the best PTACs still need to be replaced eventually—and when less-than-ideal circumstances hit, it can come a lot sooner than you would have liked.

When it’s time to dispose of old or damaged PTACs, some homeowners and hoteliers just throw their old units away.

Take note: never ever do that.

Why not? Well, for one thing, because it’s illegal. And we’re not talking about a little slap on the wrist, either. If you get caught discarding your old PTAC units like any other piece of garbage, you could be facing a fine of up to $37,500 per day for any violation.

No, that isn’t a typo. $37,500. Per day.

But don’t panic! We’re here to tell you how you can get rid of your old or damaged PTACs without risking any loss.

First Things First: Why it’s Illegal to Throw Your PTACs Away.

PTAC units use a cooling refrigerant that can contain chemicals harmful to the environment if left sitting in a landfill.

Most PTACs use one of two types of refrigerants:

  • R-22 refrigerant, usually found in older PTAC models, and
  • R-410A refrigerant, usually found in more recent PTAC models.

R-22 refrigerant are made with ozone-depleting chemicals. That’s why manufacturers have switched to R-410A refrigerant to reduce environmental damage and increase general efficiency.

However, R-410A refrigerant still emit greenhouse gasses. They can harm the environment if not disposed of properly.

That’s why it’s essential to recycle your old PTAC units properly. Otherwise, you could damage the environment—not to mention incur a hefty fine.

There’s a good chance the EPA would catch you, too. They often perform random inspections and respond to tips. And there’s a good reason they get those tips: the EPA may give a reward of up to $10,000 to anyone who reports a violation.

It really is worth covering the bases. Better safe than sorry, right? Right.

So what’s next?

How to Recycle a PTAC

If your PTAC unit is beyond repair, you can recycle it. It’s essential to remove the refrigerant first, however, if you want to avoid the wrath of the EPA. You should never attempt to do that yourself. A licensed, EPA-certified professional technician will have to remove the refrigerant in order to ensure it’s done safely and in accordance with specific regulations.

There are a number of companies that do this. These include:

  • scrap yards
  • recycling and sanitation companies, and
  • private businesses.

But what if your PTAC still has some life left in it?

How to Sell or Donate a PTAC

If you don’t think your PTACs are ready to be recycled quite yet, you can donate or sell them, potentially through a buyback program.

But before you set to work offloading your old PTACs, make sure they were manufactured after January 1, 2010. It’s only legal to sell or donate a PTAC with the newer, more efficient R-410A refrigerant. Any units built before January 1, 2010, will almost certainly have the older R-22 refrigerant.

The EPA is working to remove all units using R-22 from the electrical grid. So even if you have a fully functioning PTAC, if it contains R-22, it’s unfit for resale.

Not sure where to turn? We can help.

If you have any doubts about how to handle recycling or selling your old PTACs, we’d love to help.

Both our recycling and refurbishment processes are entirely eco-friendly and cost-effective. We strive to keep the number of old units in the landfills as low possible. Even if you already bought PTACs from another company, we can remove and recycle your old models!

Our buyback program makes it convenient and rewarding to sell your old PTAC units for us to refurbish.

No matter what you need, PTAC Crew can help.

So contact us to let us know what you have! We’re looking forward to doing business.

How Do PTACs Work?

When the weather takes a turn for high heat or bitter cold, there isn’t much you can do about it. But it’s nice to at least have some control over the climate inside.

A lot of people turn to central air for help, but that’s a major investment—and it means dealing with ductwork, which raises installation costs all the more.

Fortunately, there’s a much simpler solution: PTAC units.

PTACs are packaged terminal air conditioners. If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel or motel, you’ve almost certainly come into contact with one. They’re typically used throughout the hospitality industry or in homes, dormitories, apartment buildings, and other housing without central air-conditioning.

But how do they actually work?

How PTACs Work

PTACs are a type of self-contained heating and air-conditioning system. They use electricity to push a refrigerant through the unit and take heat and humidity out through a vent.

Typically, they’re set inside a window or close to a concrete wall. However, with a metal shield also installed, they can be built directly into a wall. Either way, they should be installed in rooms that can be closed off from the rest of the building, as they aren’t designed for heating or cooling large areas.

Since PTAC units are self-contained, there’s no need for any drain piping. How can that be?

Well, a handy condenser fan directs all condensate water pulled from the air to the surface of the condenser coil. The condensate water then evaporates. It’s convenient, effective, and reduces installation costs by a broad margin.

Why PTACs Are Such a Popular Choice

PTACs provide energy-efficient heating and cooling solutions without the need for ductwork. Because they’re completely ductless, they make installation much simpler than it would be with central air, greatly reducing your costs up front.

Homeowners and business owners alike love PTACs for the space they save as well as their powerful climate control. They’re also popular for their convenience and energy-efficiency—heating or cooling a single room at a time rather than wasting energy throughout an entire building.

For example, hotel guests can use them to set their ideal temperature in their own room without affecting anyone else’s environment.

Whether you’re renovating a home, replacing an existing AC unit, outfitting a guest room for family and friends, or managing a hotel or other business, PTACs are the perfect way to provide any space with lasting, energy-efficient, user-friendly comfort.

Plus, most PTACs have heating options as well, so you won’t have to buy a separate heater when winter rolls around.

A New Level of Energy Efficiency

Some newer PTAC systems even come equipped with what’s known as a desiccant wheel. Those do two things:

  • improve energy efficiency and
  • promote better indoor air quality.

Needless to say, both of those are a major plus.

When these newer PTAC systems have been tested against traditional systems (with weather conditions factored in), they’ve been shown to produce cost savings of up to 35%. Desiccant wheels also reduce thermal cooling power by as much as 52%.

Such systems are likely to cost more up front, but users get a return on their investment within approximately 5 years.

Whether or not you get your hands on a system with a desiccant wheel, the basics of PTACs remain the same. They’re the perfect solution for convenient, energy-efficient, user-friendly climate control.

How about a little help finding exactly what you need?

If you’d like a little expert advice on picking the right PTACs for your property, give us a call at (888) 458-7822.

Or you can fill out this contact form, and we’ll follow up with you.

11 Mistakes People Make When Installing New PTACs

11 Mistakes People Make When Installing New PTACs

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.