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Packaged terminal heat pumps

user-1105327 | Posted in General Questions on

I hear lots of talk about ductless minisplits but not much about packaged terminal heat pumps. Why not?

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  1. homedesign | | #1

    PTAC ... I used a GE Zoneline in my home office a few years ago.
    I thought it was very noisy... poorly insulated... and not airtight at all.
    I would never use one again
    in my opinion PTAC = POS

  2. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #2

    The comfort and noise level issues would be worth the extra coupla grand for many people. When the PTAC comes on during the heating season it'll be while you're trying to sleep! I personally wouldn't want to live a house heated & cooled with a PTAC. YMMV. (What I'll put up with for a night or two is different from how I want to LIVE.) A compromise might be going with a lower-cost Chinese or LG mini-split rather than a Mitsubishi or Daikin.

    Hotels don't sweat the efficiency issue as much because the PTAC is only turned up/on when there's a paying customer in the room. In private dwellings the occupancy rate is nearly 100%, whereas it's highly variable for the hotel/motel biz.

  3. BobHr | | #3

    I think one of the reasons they are used by hotels it that the maintenance man can take the cover off and pull out the unit to the inside and slide in a replacement. All without disturbing the housing or electrical. Doesnt need to be trained in HVAC.

    The unit can be serviced at a later date and returned to service. I saw a retirement community that had several in the storage room. Just the inards and not the shell

  4. kevin_in_denver | | #4

    John Brooks has summed up all the cons pretty well. The efficiency ratings on minisplits are generally higher as well.

    However, if the efficiency were worth the extra investment, then every hotel room would have a minisplit instead of a PTHP, but they don't.

    The first cost difference is about $3k vs. $1k. I feel that this is another item that helps you "tunnel through the cost barrier".

    I am putting one in my next low energy spec house and believe it will be successful because:

    1. In a low energy home it rarely comes on.
    2. I'll use some of the cost savings to seal and insulate it better than a standard installation.

  5. kevin_in_denver | | #5

    Reply to Dana,

    The PTHP (or the minisplit unit) shouldn't be in the bedroom.

    If I were the CFO of Holiday Inn, I would absolutely sweat the efficiency issue, and install whatever has the lowest life cycle cost.

    Robert Hronek makes a good point about replaceability. When more efficient PTHPs are developed, you can install your own in 30 minutes for $500-$800.

  6. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #6

    For more information on installing a packaged terminal heat pump in a home, see this article: Heating Options for a Small Home.

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