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.

Similar Types

    There are also two other air conditioners that are similar to a PTAC:

  1. 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.

  2. 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:

How can I find out the SEER of my air conditioner? 

My air conditioner won't turn on. What's wrong? 

How can I find out the size of my air conditioner? 

How can I tell whether the condenser (outdoor unit) is an air conditioner or heat pump? 

Where is the air filter for my central air conditioner and furnace? I can’t find it? 

Does an old air conditioner use more electricity as it ages? 

How did homes stay cool in Florida before air conditioning? 

What is wrong with an air conditioner when the air flow out of the vents is low?

Why has the thermostat screen gone blank? 

Why does it take so long to cool a house when an air conditioner has been off for a while? 

Why is my air conditioner not cooling enough? 

What are the most common problems with wall/window air conditioners?  

Will closing doors reduce my heating and cooling costs? 

   Visit our HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 

Photo at top of page - Amana Corp.

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