PTAC Air Conditioner Review


As air conditioning challenges continue to evolve and develop as a real concern to stakeholders of various industries—from hospitality establishments to healthcare facilities, and even residential buildings—the quest to find the most effective cooling and heating system becomes more significant than ever. At the core of these basic concerns rest the need for a powerful, energy-efficient, and operationally flexible air conditioning system that ensures the best level of comfort and the highest amount of savings.

Across many industries, you can’t overemphasize the significance of this endeavor. For hospitality businesses, for example, like hotels and lodgings of various sizes, it’s all about providing the maximum comfort for guests. For business offices, it’s about creating a perfectly conducive environment that can help spike productivity. For residential buildings, such as dorms, apartments, and condominiums, it’s about maximizing utilities while ensuring comfort for tenants. And for healthcare establishments, for instance, such as hospitals, clinics, and assisted living facilities, it’s about ensuring better patient care. For ordinary homeowners, it’s not just about comfort but about having complete control over that comfort as well.

Indeed, air conditioning has long transitioned from being a luxurious tool into a type of equipment that essentially has far-reaching significance to our day-to-day life. Undoubtedly, there are many types of air conditioning systems, and each one seems to have been technologically upgraded over the years, effectively facilitating the introduction of better cooling and heating solutions for various sectors and industries. But despite this, there remains some situations when these systems—even the most commonly used and popular—can hardly keep up in terms of flexibility, performance, and efficiency to meet the needs in unique applications and environments.

But there are always some exceptions. And when it comes to the need for proper and effective air conditioning in hospitality establishments, healthcare facilities, and residential buildings, this exception comes in the form of an excellent, powerful, and highly energy-efficient cooling and heating solution—the PTAC.

What is PTAC?

PTAC stands for Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner. It is a self-contained or unitary heating and cooling system where its main components—the compressor, condenser, evaporator, and expansion valve, among others—are housed in a single casing.

Where are PTACs Used?

PTACs are commercial-grade systems, which means they are best for commercial use, although they can work as well in residential applications. As a system, you will find PTACs being used in many commercial establishments, institutional facilities, and even residential properties.

How Does PTAC Work?

During cooling operation, the refrigerant pumped by the compressor helps cool the coils. This allows the unit to absorb the heat and humidity from the room and exhaust them outside. When used for heating, the process is reversed. This time, the refrigerant helps heat the coils. The heat warms the air which is subsequently blown inside the room. Remember that for heating, PTACs either use a heat pump or an electric heat.

What Does a PTAC Unit Look Like?

PTAC’s vary in sizes, but it has a standard width of 42 inches and are typically bigger than the normal through-the-wall air conditioner.

How is PTAC Installed?

PTACs are installed through a wall. During setup, the side of the unit where the conditioned air passes through is faced inside the room, while the other side where the ventilation happens and the exhaust air is released is faced outside.

To install a PTAC unit, you need to cut a hole in the wall with the exact dimension needed to attach an external sleeve with an exterior grille. These will serve as support for the PTAC unit when you finally put the system into place.

To place the PTAC unit, simply slide it through the hole where the sleeve is already fixed. Normally, the sleeve and the grille are sold separately from the unit, so you’d have to consider this fact when calculating your possible expenses. If you can’t do the installation yourself, you can always ask for a professional help from a licensed HVAC contractor.

Also, take not that the place where you will install a PTAC unit should have a power outlet nearby for electrical connection.

What Makes PTAC Very Easy to Install?

Unlike ducted systems like central air, a PTAC system does not require ductwork. And compared with ductless systems, a PTAC unit has no need for refrigerant lines.

What are the Other Accessories Needed for the PTAC Unit Installation?

PTAC system installation also requires you to purchase and prepare other materials, such as wiring cables for the connection, drain kit, and remote controllers or thermostats if they are not included in the system package.

How Can You Know that PTAC is Your Best Option?

When it comes to air conditioning an average-sized room, you have a luxury of having too many choices. But as it happens, not every system is ideal for certain environments and conditions. There will be situations when most of the available and commonly used systems will very difficult to install, impractical to use, or just plain impossible to be applied to your specific space and situation. When this is the case, PTAC, as a cooling system for single rooms, will always be a good option.

Upgrade Your PTAC Choice with Gree ETAC

You will find that there are many brands that offer a PTAC solution. Certainly, each one of these systems has unique capabilities that make it stand out from the rest. And one of these best choices comes from Gree—the Engineered Terminal Air Conditioner (ETAC).

Gree ETAC is an excellent, powerful variant of Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner (PTAC). Basically, it is an enhanced PTAC; a better version.

Aside from having higher capacity and efficiency, ETAC also packs with highly advanced features that make it a notch higher than most typical PTAC systems in terms of performance and cost-savings. Some of these features include the following:

  • Interchangeable and washable air filters that can help you avoid spending extra money on air filter replacements.
  • Chassis that you can easily remove by just sliding it out of the sleeve.
  • Excellent level of outdoor air ventilation; thanks to a unique vent system that can provide you with up to 75 CFM of fresh outside air inside the room.
  • An irreversible, polycarbonate-made grille that lets the air flow upward at a 40-degree angle but something that you can easily adjust to an 80-degree angle to the floor.
  • Adjustable system configuration that can help room occupants set the unit according to their own personal needs or preference.
  • Digital touch pad control that enables precise temperature adjustment, continuous temperature sensing, heat/cool/fan modes, and electronic temperature limiting.
  • Stay dry dehumidification function that helps reduce the humidity inside the room.
  • Sleep mode function that allows the unit to be set between 0.5 to 24 hours and make it stop on the desired time.
  • An adjustable set point range which allows you to set the temperature beyond the default range of 65˚ to 78˚ depending on your needs or preference.
  • A wired wall thermostat interface with a standard connecting block and removable terminal connector.
  • A standard, easy-to-install energy management interface.
  • Leak-current detection and interruption (LCDI) plugs that help prevent electrical fire.
  • A deep base pan that can hold up to 1-3/4 gallons (6.6 liters) of water without spilling and serves as protection against water accumulation.
  • A temperature-activated drain valve that helps prevent water from freezing in the base pan.
  • A condensate (water) disposal system that helps ensure the efficiency of the system.
  • A silencer system that ensures quiet operation of the unit.
  • Smart fan comfort control that features programmable constant fan operation and quiet fan start-up and stops.

What are the Benefits of Using a Gree ETAC?

As an advanced PTAC system, the Gree ETAC is specifically engineered to help architects, engineers, contractors, building managers, and homeowners meet their specific cooling and heating demands.

Always remember that ETAC is a workable system, regardless of building orientation. For the technical people like the architects, engineers, and contractors that have a particular stake on the effectivity of the system, Gree ETAC provides the necessary flexibility, owing to the absence of requirement for ductwork; structures like separate equipment room and additional cooling equipment; and compatibility with a variety of HVAC components.

For the building managers, these provide financial flexibility as well. The savings would be enormous especially if you imagine that costs that are normally incurred with the needed additional HVAC system components, equipment room, or maintenance and engineering personnel. Additionally, there will be no more worries about the seasonal changeover that is typical of other systems.

For the homeowners, ETAC provides the exact level of comfort and energy-savings, mainly due to the system’s high level of performance and high degree of energy-efficiency.

How Much Does a PTAC Unit Cost?

Like any other air conditioning systems, the costs of PTAC depends on several factors: brand or manufacturer, size of the unit, energy-efficiency, built-in technologies, and features and capabilities. On the average though, PTAC systems are priced between $600.00 to $1300.00. The separate costs on additional accessories and installation will also add up to complete your overall expenses for a PTAC installation project.

To give you a better idea, let’s take a Gree ETAC unit as an example and its actual price based on the current price points from ComfortUp. Currently, the ETAC system available at ComfortUp with the lowest price is the GREE ETAC-07HC265V20B-A model which is a PTAC system that comes with a 3 kilowatt electric resistance heat, available with 12 EER, has a cooling capacity of 7,700 Btu, and a heating capacity of 10,200 Btu. This system is originally priced at $694.23 but is now being offered at $624.98, which in effect gives you a money-saving worth $69.25.

With a size of 42-inch x 16-inch, this particular system will fit into almost any type of wall sleeves. But of course, you will have to buy these components, including the additional accessories such as the wiring cable, drain kit, remote controller, and thermostat, among others.

For this particular Gree ETAC unit, the recommended accessories include the standard, polymer-insulated wall sleeve, aluminum architectural grille, non-electrical subbase, subbase disconnect switch module, universal condensate drain kit, sound muzzler, and air deflector. For these accessories, you can choose the First America brand.

At ComfortUp all of these are bundled at a price of $384.98. If you wish to buy each accessory separately or just want to know how much each one costs, then check out the following cost breakdown.

With regard to the installation, the average cost of a single PTAC unit would be around $850.00 up to $13,000.00, depending on the costs of labor, set price, or level of complexity of installation.

When we consider the minimum costs for system, accessories, and installation, we can come up with the following overall expenses:

Using our sample costs, we came up with a total expense of $1,859.96. Although this is just a ballpark figure, we can fairly say that, at the minimum, the installation of one PTAC unit for a single room application will cost you more or less a couple of thousand bucks. This costs will still vary, of course, depending on many factors.

PTAC Application, Choosing the Right Size

Choosing the right size of the PTAC unit is very important to make sure that you will have an effective and efficient system for your home, business space, or institutional facility. To avoid undersizing or oversizing the unit which will result to inadequate level of temperature comfort and wasted energy, you can ask an HVAC contractor to evaluate your home and required application.

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