The ebb and flow of PTAC replacements

This is part two in a series on PTAC and HVAC maintenance. Click here to see part one: Here's how you can breathe new life into ailing PTACs.

Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating is installing a variable refrigerant flow system into hotel properties that allows one outdoor rooftop unit to manage the cooling of up to 50 rooms, all through the use of new or existing ductwork or piping. Kevin Miskewicz, senior manager, commercial marketing, with Mitsubishi, said the system allows for simultaneous cooling and heating independent of room configurations by redirecting refrigerant.

“By taking rejected heat and re-circulating it, there is an efficiency gain,” Miskewicz said. “No one is messing with the individual units.”

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Systems like this are designed with new builds and renovations in mind, but can also be installed in existing properties through added piping. These systems are also attractive due to their low maintenance, which can be contrasted against the maintenance required in many modern PTACs. 

According to Don Wojcik, national manager of LG’s PTAC division, hotels often wait for their existing PTAC units to burn out before replacing them. There is good news for hotels that have been holding on to their 15-year-old antique air conditioners: Wall sleeves have remained a standardized size, meaning the only thing a hotel will be buying is the machine itself.

“Typically, once a wall sleeve is installed, most units fit into the 16-by-42-inch opening,” Wojcik said. “The only time hotels will replace the wall sleeve is in the event that it becomes damaged, much like the PTAC.”

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