Necessary cleaning: A PTAC update

Necessary cleaning: A PTAC update

Keeping your hotel’s PTAC and HVAC machines clean is crucial to their operation. By cleaning them properly, operators can extend the life of their machines and ensure they are in peak condition during use.

“Without consistent cleaning, there won’t be as much heat or cooling transfer going from your machine to the guestroom,” said Steve Santo, application engineer for GE. “Gently working a non-acidic cleaner on the inside and outside coils is the best way to be sure your machine is ready for proper use.”

Santo doesn’t recommend using compressed air in the cleaning process, as the air pressure actually forces dirt deeper into the machines. Timing the cleaning of PTAC equipment can be tricky, as cleaning too close to the winter months can result in water freezing inside the machines. Because of this, the prime time to get into cleaning operations would be just as the summer months are winding down.


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Though modern cleaners are less caustic than they used to be, it is still necessary to remove air conditioning units from panels in the guestroom wall for a proper cleaning. Some companies, such as Cintas, are able to clean the units on the guestroom floor rather than physically taking them outside the hotel, speeding up the process.

“Doing it this way gives us time to spray an EPA-registered disinfectant over the entire system, which kills anything that might be left from the cleaning procedure,” said Fred Wehby, senior director of deep clean services at Cintas. Cintas also places a quaternary strip into the machine that will dissolve over a six-month period. “When these machines are clean they run so efficiently that a lot of condensation will build up in the drain pan. That moisture dissolves the strip, killing any bacteria.”

Keeping a room clean using standard practices also goes a long way toward preserving air conditioning equipment. “Vacuuming the floor cleans the dirt out of the room and out of the machines,” said Douglas Mackemer, director of parts supplies and specialized equipment at Carrier Enterprise. “With a high occupancy though, housekeeping will really need to keep it up. Even so, they should be checking the air filters once a week.”

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