Installing a PTAC unit in your home, office, or hotel is a great way to set up for effective climate control without the need for complicated ductwork.
However, installation can still be a bit tricky. Here’s how to go about installing a PTAC unit without the headaches.
1. Gauge the location.
No matter where you’re installing a PTAC unit, each location can have its own unique challenges. If you’re replacing an existing unit, just measure the previous system to find a model that will fit. If you’re installing a PTAC unit for the first time, select a spot on the wall that will allow the best possible appliance operation.
Always allow 6 to 8 inches of clearance around the unit for proper circulation and airflow.
But the inside isn’t all that matters. Once you think you’ve found the right spot for installing a PTAC unit, make sure the outside of the wall isn’t too close to trees, bushes, or any other objects that could obstruct ventilation.
Remember: regardless of where you’re installing a PTAC unit, make sure it has the correct Btu output for the size of the intended space. An overpowered conditioner can cause serious problems when you’re heating and cooling—and brief bursts of cooling won’t completely dehumidify a room.
For new installations, you’ll have to cut a precise opening in the drywall for your PTAC unit to fit. Most PTACs are around 42 inches wide at a minimum, but check the product manual for exact specifications.
2. Secure the installation.
When installing a PTAC unit, an anchored, stable installation will improve performance and increase longevity. It’s a good idea to frame the PTAC unit with substantial, secure wood studs. Install a lintel over the PTAC unit to ensure the weight of the wall or window isn’t putting undue stress on the unit.
And don’t forget: it’s extremely important to make sure that the unit is completely level. If it’s even slightly angled, excess water could damage the wall.
Likewise, if you’re screwing the PTAC unit into a wall sleeve, be careful not to puncture the base pan. The base pan collects condensation, and springing a leak could cause costly water damage.
When you’re installing a PTAC unit, insulate the perimeter to give yourself the highest energy efficiency while preventing cold drafts from affecting the room’s climate.
3. Check the outlets and power levels.
If you are replacing an existing PTAC unit, changing the power might be as simple unplugging the previous unit and plugging the new one in.
But if you’re installing a PTAC unit in a new location, verify that the outlet and wiring can handle the system’s required voltage. If you aren’t an expert yourself, don’t hesitate to contact a professional electrician to handle the wiring safely and efficiently. Even if it costs you more up front, reducing the risk of fire hazards and other electrical conditions will be more than worth it.
4. Weatherproof the PTAC unit.
Because the part of the PTAC unit that sticks outside will be exposed to the weather, it’s crucial to make sure the exterior components are thoroughly sealed. In most cases, a specialized caulking will create a sufficiently airtight seal around the casing of the unit.
However, you should double check the product owner’s manual or manufacturer recommendations to see if they offer any further advice for weather sealing the appliance. Right from the start, bothering to read the instructions can save you a lot of headaches.
5. Make sure you didn’t miss anything.
When installing a PTAC unit, it’s always worth ensuring that everything was done correctly.
- Make sure the PTAC unit is secure.
- Make sure that it’s totally level.
- Verify that you haven’t damaged the unit during installation.
- Check that the vents aren’t restricted by a frame, trim, curtains, furniture, or anything else. A PTAC unit with restricted airflow will be less efficient.
6. Consider enlisting a little help.
Maybe you can do all this yourself, no problem. But having seasoned professionals give you a hand with PTAC installation could save you time, trouble, and maybe even money in the long run. It can also lower the chances of damaging your property or the PTAC unit itself.
From choosing the correct PTACs and the right spots for them to installing them securely and efficiently, it can make a world of difference to have a team of experts at your back.
However, since PTAC brands are different, a professional may have experience with one style but not another. Find someone who knows how to install the particular brand and model of PTAC that you’re dealing with.
If you could use some expert advice on all things PTAC, give us a call at (888) 458-7822.
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