How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
What is a PTAC unit?
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Typical Hotel Room Air Conditioner
PTAC is an acronym that stands for Package Terminal Air Conditioner. It is the type commonly found in a hotel or motel room under the window, like in the photo above. They are a larger, sturdier version of a residential window air conditioner, and nowadays are usually heat pumps. One significant difference between an PTAC unit and a home window air conditioner is that drain piping is not necessary for the condensate water, because it is sucked onto the warm condenser (exterior) coil by a fan, and evaporates into the outside air. We see this type of system only rarely in a residence, and it is usually for a back porch enclosure or sunroom addition.
“Package” air conditioners contain everything inside of one box. They differ from “split systems,” which have both an outdoor unit (condenser) and indoor unit (air handler). Split systems are the most popular type of residential air conditioner.
There are also two other air conditioners that are similar to a PTAC:
- Package Unit - Most mobile homes have a package unit heat pump mounted on a pad on the ground next to the home. Two large ducts run under the home in the crawl space to connect it to the return air and supply air ducts inside.
- Wall Mount Package Unit - These are often used for medium-size retail stores and portable modular buildings. The entire system hangs on the outside wall, with openings in the wall for a supply and return air register. Several of them are necessary for an average building. Bard is the leading manufacturer, and wall mount package units are sometimes referred to as a “Bard unit” by contractors .
All three types of package units have a common advantage that they can be quickly switched out when they fail.
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To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:
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Field Guide for Home Inspectors, a quick reference for finding the age of 154 brands of HVAC systems, water heaters, and electrical panels, plus 210 code standards for site-built and manufactured homes, and the life expectancy rating of 195 home components. Available at amazon.com for $19.95.
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