PTAC filters should be cleaned at least once per month, as buildup can eventually damage a unit’s compressor.
Hotel PTACs should be removed from the wall at least once annually for a thorough cleaning for optimal performance, but hoteliers often gloss over the importance of frequent filter replacements.
Barry Bookout, national sales manager, lodging & specialty markets for Friedrich Air Conditioning, suggests cleaning PTAC filters once per month using re-usable plastic mesh filters that are washable and replaceable, but in periods of high occupancy, cleaning should take place even more often.
“High occupancy means lots of contaminants and longer PTAC runtimes,” Bookout said. “Some hotels keep several replacement filters on hand to switch out with used filters while cleaning a room in high occupancy to keep the process moving.”
William Fizer, president of Lodging Technology, a developer of infrared sensor-based energy conservation systems for PTACs and other devices, cites clogged filters as the largest cause of room odors and PTAC failure in guestrooms. This form of PTAC failure can be silent, and clogged filters will cause a PTAC unit to run for longer periods of time without satisfying a guestroom thermostat.
According to Douglas Mackemer, national director, parts, supplies and special equipment for HVAC distributor Carrier Enterprise, the most dangerous environment for a PTAC to be operating in is a property that is currently undergoing a renovation. Mackemer directs hotels to extract PTAC units from walls and put them in storage during renovations, as drywall dust bypasses PTAC filters and is capable of plugging the compressor coils.
“That is not a warranty-friendly environment,” Mackemer said. “If the units are stuck in place, cover them in a large plastic bag and keep them off. They have a way of turning themselves on near contractors, and can take significant damage if left on during construction.”
Drywall dust particles are not the only dangers to PTACs in renovation environments. According to Fizer, trash and even an uneaten sandwich have been found inside PTAC units after completed construction projects, all of which can be debilitating to the operation of the device.
“The cleanliness of coils is the primary enemy of PTACs,” Fizer said. “Energy management is important to reduce runtime, which keeps them cleaner longer.”