PTACs and Mini-Splits Frequently Asked Questions


What is a PTAC?

A PTAC (Package Terminal Air Conditioner) is a through the wall Hotel type Heating and Cooling unit.

They are available in Cooling only, Cooling with electric heat and Heat Pump with electric heat.  The units are all electric and some units can be operated on 115 volts while most are 240 volt. All new installations require the use of a Wall Sleeve, Aluminum Grille and a Drain Kit.

Is a PTAC right for you?

PTAC units can be used for small additions, sunrooms, attic and or garage conversions. They have to be installed through an outside wall and power needs to be near the unit in the form of an outlet. There is no ductwork required to use a PTAC unit although there are duct pieces that can be special ordered through the manufacturer. They are very DIY friendly as there are no refrigerant connections to be done.

Sizing a PTAC?

PTAC units will generally cover a maximum of 500 square feet. The type of area being heated and cooled can make sizing a little more difficult. For example a sunroom would typically require a larger unit than an addition because of the construction materials and insulation. The only way to truly size any heating and cooling system is to do a heat load calculation. We can provide a sizing chart to use for reference only.

What’s the difference between a Heat Pump w/ electric heat and A/C w/ electric heat?

A heat pump is basically an air conditioner that runs in a reverse cycle. So instead of absorbing heat from inside the home and releasing it to the outside like a standard A/C unit would do, the heat pump absorbs heat from outside and releases it to the inside of the home. This is done by way of a four way reversing valve and piping in the unit. The heat pump unit has to go through a defrost cycle because the “condenser” coil will frost up under normal operation. The electric heat is mainly a back up to the heat pump. When temperatures are too low for the heat pump to keep up the electric heat will take over and satisfy the heating demand.

What is a mini split?

A mini split system is really just what the name implies, a miniature split system. There is an outside condenser and an inside unit that typically hangs on the wall. There is no ductwork needed for these types of system installations. The thermostat is in the form of a remote control that can be put anywhere in the room. The mini split systems are good for additions and open areas where ductwork would not be cost effective to install. These systems do require a EPA certified HVAC technician to make refrigerant connections, pull vacuum and open base valve to release refrigerant into the system.

Is a mini split right for you?

A mini split system is ideal for additions, attic & garage conversions or areas where running ductwork would be difficult or impossible to run. They come as A/C only or Heat Pump models. Some of the installation can be done by a home owner but you will need an EPA certified HVAC technician to make all refrigerant connections, pressure test with nitrogen, pull deep vacuum and open base valves to release refrigerant into the system.

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