From Texas to Toronto, packaged terminal air conditioners are a preferred option for climate control in hotels, hospitals and assisted living facilities.

This might make you wonder: Why aren’t they just as useful in homes?

They are. There are many reasons why hoteliers use PTAC units — and they all apply to homeowners.

What is a PTAC?

PTACs use electricity to push refrigerant through the unit while drawing heat and humidity out through a vent. Most PTAC units also come with a heating system, either resistive electric or a heat pump.

They’re usually set inside a window or close to a concrete wall. However, if you install a metal sleeve first, you can set them directly into a wall. Either way, they’re ideal for rooms that can be closed off from the rest of the building. That’s because they aren’t meant for heating or cooling large areas.

Since PTAC units are self-contained, they don’t need any drain piping or ductwork. A built-in condenser fan directs all condensate water to the surface of the condenser coil. Then, the condensate water evaporates.

It’s effective, convenient and significantly reduces installation costs.

Chances are, you’ve used at least one PTAC. They’re the most common type of air conditioner you’ll find in hotels, motels, dormitories, apartment buildings and hospitals.

They’re a common alternative to central air — and for a good reason.

Why Would Homeowners Have PTACs?

We mentioned that packaged terminal air conditioners are common choices in the hospitality industry. But even if you aren’t a hotelier or a hospital manager, PTACs can still be a great choice.

Plenty of homeowners have already discovered the lower costs and greater convenience PTACs bring — especially for those without central air.

Homeowners who have PTACs love them for the space they save while still offering powerful climate control. Another reason they’re so popular is their all-around convenience and energy-efficiency.

Here’s how they help with climate control:
●Installing a PTAC unit usually only requires a wall sleeve to slide the PTAC unit into. You won’t need any ductwork, making the installation process simpler and reducing costs up front.
●To maintain a PTAC, you usually only need to give it the occasional cleaning. Better still, most models are designed to make cleaning as easy as possible.
●They work. If you have a PTAC with the correct BTU for the space, you’re bound to be pleased with how it cools (or sometimes heats) the space.
●PTACs are fine-tuned for maximum energy efficiency. Most PTAC users find that they save big on their electric bills.
●PTACs often last up to 10 years or longer. That means you can cut out the costs of frequent replacements.
●Comfort shouldn’t have to be noisy. PTACs are generally quieter than other options, reducing disturbances in your home.
●And because most PTACs have a heating system, there’s no reason to invest in a separate heater when winter rolls around.
So, if you’re renovating a home, replacing an existing air conditioner, or outfitting a guest room for family and friends, consider PTACs for providing your space with long-term comfort.

There are a wide range of PTAC units on the market, both new and refurbished. And, if budget is a concern, you can buy refurbished PTACs with a warranty for much less than a new unit.

Do you have a packaged terminal air conditioner? If so, what do you think about it?

Share your experiences in the comments!

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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