What Is & How to Choose the Best PTAC Unit?

What is a ptac unit

What is a PTAC unit, and how do I choose the right one? Whether you are looking for HVAC solutions for residential or commercial needs, a PTAC unit may be the solution you need to maintain the comfort of your room or home addition. Read on to learn about what PTAC units are and how they can help provide heating and cooling options to your small space effectively and efficiently.

What is a PTAC Unit?

What is PTAC unit? This may be a question you ask yourself if you are looking for a new HVAC system. A packaged terminal air conditioner, or PTAC, is a self-contained HVAC unit designed to heat and cool smaller areas. The system is ductless and is commonly seen in commercial buildings with separate rooms, such as motels, hospitals, apartments, and residential living centers. They also can be a good option for additional spaces, such as three-season rooms and sunrooms.

To understand what is a PTAC unit, you will also need to understand the available options. You can choose from electric heat or reverse cycle heat pump options. They come in different sizes and cooling capacities so that you can properly control the temperatures in various room sizes. Both options can provide efficient heating and cooling in areas with moderate temperature fluctuations.

How are PTAC Units Different than a Mini Split or Traditional AC

To truly understand what is a PTAC unit, it is best to compare them with more common types of cooling systems, such as mini split AC systems and traditional air conditioning systems. Traditional AC units, used for motel rooms and other small room settings, such as portable AC units, use a refrigerant that will be warmed by the inside air and then vented outside to be cooled down. These units are compact as well and fit easily in smaller spaces.

PTAC units also work well in small places but can heat the space by transferring air over a heating element. In some cases, they function as heat pumps with a reversible flow. In other instances, they utilize an electric heating element to provide heating and cooling. PTAC units also don’t require ductwork or an area to vent air out of, making them a great option when the room's design is restricted. They also tend to be more efficient for cooling smaller spaces than traditional portable or window AC units.

Mini split air conditioners do not require ductwork either, but they need two components for their operation. The indoor unit is the air handler that delivers cooled air into the room. The connecting unit is usually on the other side of a wall outside and handles the system’s ventilation. The two units will be connected through a hole in the wall to accommodate a few small lines.

Choosing Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner Units and Heat Pumps

Now that you know the basics of what is a PTAC unit, you next need to determine how to choose between a PTAC and a packaged terminal heat pump option. The first thing to take into consideration is each system’s specifications. To help find the best unit for your situation, you will need to consider the following:

  • The Cooling Capacity: PTAC units will have varying BTUs ranging from 8,000 to 20,000. To determine which BTU range is needed for your space, you will need to calculate how much cooling you will need for the amount of sq. ft. in the space. You can expect to need 20 BTU per square foot of space. That means a 500 sq. ft. space will require around 10,000 BTU.
  • The Heating Capacity: Along with the cooling capacity, you will need to determine the heating capacity as well. The typical calculation is roughly 25 BTU per sq. ft. of space. So for a 500 sq. ft. space, you will need approximately 12,500 BTU heating capacity.
  • The Type of Heat Source: PTAC units can be heat pumps with a reverse refrigeration cycle and electric heaters. Heat pump versions tend to be more efficient, but the units can be more costly upfront.
choosing packaged terminal air conditioner units and heat pumps

Benefits of PTAC

PTAC AC units have many benefits, making them an excellent option for smaller space heating. Some of the reasons many people choose PTAC units to include the following:

  • They Provide Year-round Cooling and Heating: Before the advent of mini splits, PTAC units were the only HVAC system available that delivered heating and cooling, providing temperature comfort all year round.
  • They Are Affordable to Buy and Run: PTAC units cost significantly less than central air conditioning units. They also can be highly cost-effective and efficient to run if you choose an option with an EER or Energy Efficiency ratio of 10 or higher.
  • They Are Easy to Install: These systems do not require ductwork or a hole in the wall to bring through refrigeration and communication lines like a ductless mini split. This makes these systems easy and affordable to install.

Disadvantages of PTAC

While there are many benefits to choosing a PTAC unit to heat and cool your small space, there are some drawbacks that you need to consider before making your decision. Some of the cons of choosing a PTAC unit include the following:

  • They Are Less Efficient Than Mini Split Systems: While PTAC units can be quite efficient, they can not reach the 20-plus SEER rating that Energy Star-rated mini splits can.
  • They Don’t Have the Option to Zone Control: Mini split systems can consist of multiple air handlers, which remote controls can individually control. A PTAC is one unit that can only provide for one setting.
  • They Don’t Have the Latest Tech: Since PTAC systems are considered an older form of HVAC technology, they don’t come equipped with the latest tech, such as WiFi connectivity. Many units are fairly basic, without the bells and whistles that other HVAC systems may have.
  • They Have Output Limitations: Most PTAC Units are limited to outputs around 15,000 to 20,000BTU, which only makes them ideal for smaller spaces. To heat and cool a larger area, you will need an option where more BTUs are available.
  • They Can Have a Number of Problems: PTAC units may face many potential problems that other cooling options don’t. These include indoor unit leaking, extreme temperature fluctuations, and difficulty diagnosing repair needs.

PTAC Units for Commercial HVAC

Understanding what a PTAC unit is also requires understanding situations where they are best used for. While these types of units can be great for add-on rooms in your home, they are most often used for commercial spaces where individual rooms will need their own controlled heating and cooling. When determining what the best PTAC units are for commercial HVAC use, there are a few considerations to make.


Most PTAC units will start around $700 and move up to about $1,500 per unit, depending on the size and BTU output. While the brand you choose will affect the price, in general, the higher the BTU output, the more expensive the unit will be.

Heating Capability

When looking at PTAC units for commercial use, you will most likely want to find a system that provides heating and cooling. You will either need to choose an option that is a heat pump or one that has an electric heating element.

ptac units for commercial hvac


Since energy bills can be a high expense in the commercial setting, the unit's energy efficiency is also critical to consider. If used in a hotel or residential rooms, guests and residents will likely crank up the system when the temperatures outside increase. This means there may be wide fluctuations in energy use, so finding an energy-efficient PTAC unit can help you keep your utility bills under control.


The noise level of a PTAC unit is essential when used in a commercial setting. Guests and residents will not only expect comfort from their cooling system but also want the noise level to be minimal. Noisy systems can lead to poor sleep with guests and often result in customer complaints.


If PTAC units are used in a commercial setting, there are likely multiple units that will need to be monitored, maintained, and repaired. Since unit maintenance will be essential to maximize the comfort, efficiency, and longevity of your systems, it is essential to find units that will require minimal maintenance. Otherwise, you may have to waste significant time and resources to keep your units functioning properly.

Amana PTAC Units

Amana has been a popular and reliable name in HVAC for decades, and their PTAC units are one of the most commonly chosen options for residential and commercial settings. From a robust warranty to features that will improve comfort and efficiency, Amana is the perfect option for PTAC units in any setting.

Why We choose an Amana PTAC unit

The reason we recommended Amana PTAC units is simple. For years, they have focused on providing customers with high-quality, reliable, and durable HVAC products. Their PTAC systems were designed to last, and they focus on every aspect of their product, from function to aesthetics.

Amana PTAC Features

Another reason we recommend Amana PTAC units to our customers is the various features they offer, which help their systems stand out among the competition. While the features of Amana PTAC units will vary by model, some of the features you can enjoy include the following:

  • A unique and versatile design that can fit into any room aesthetic.
  • Easy-to-read and understand LED diagnostic panel.
  • Remote temperature sensing to allow for maximum guest climate control.
  • Zero floor clearance, allowing the unit to be flush with the floor maximizing room space.
  • A quiet operation, making it perfect for rooms in close proximity to others.
  • A constant fan mode option to provide consistent air circulation in the room or space.
  • Washable and easy-to-remove filters that help make maintenance a breeze.
  • The available wireless DigiSmart thermostat option allows for more efficient control of the temperature.
  • A slim and shallow silhouette that saves space and fits in with any room décor, minimizing its impact on the room's overall aesthetics.
  • Heat pump settings that allow function when temperatures outside drop as low as 24 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Removable condenser housing, allowing for quick and easy cleaning of the system’s coils.
  • Touch pad control screen for guests that allows them to customize temperature settings but works to maintain the system's efficiency.
  • A room freeze protection system that will activate the unit when the temperature in the room drops below 40 degrees.


  • To understand what a PTAC unit is, you will need to know how they function and the different components that make them up.
  • PTAC units are one of the most popular heating and cooling options for hotel rooms, hospital rooms, and residential living centers.
  • PTAC units can also be used in homes for additions, such as sunrooms or three-season rooms.
  • PTAC units differ from mini-splits because they provide heating and cooling in one unit instead of requiring indoor and outdoor units that are connected.
  • While PTAC units can be extremely effective and affordable, they are less efficient than newer HVAC technology and have fewer higher-end technology features.
  • When choosing a PTAC unit for commercial use, you will need to consider the cooling and heating capacity, the maintenance, the price, and the efficiency.
  • Amana is one of the best options for PTAC units for both commercial and residential use due to their reliability and many features.

Let Superior Home Supply Help Find the PTAC Unit for Your Needs

Now that you understand what is a PTAC unit, it is time to find the right one for your needs. Whether you are looking for a PTAC for your sunroom addition, or one for a commercial building, Superior Home Supplies has the models and features you are looking for. We carry the top brand in HVAC, such as Amana, so that you can find a reliable system for the right price. Check out our available inventory or contact one of our knowledgeable staff today to find the solutions for your HVAC needs.

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