PTAC stands for Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner, a cooling system design that includes all the necessary components in the same housing. When installing a PTAC, there is no need to connect external piping or air ducts, since the unit is simply inserted into a wall slot like a window air conditioner. A PTAC heat pump uses the same physical design while being capable of reversible operation to deliver both heating and cooling.
When in cooling mode, a heat pump works just like a normal air conditioner. An air conditioner extracts heat from indoor air by condensing and evaporating a refrigerant repeatedly. This allows the heat to be released outdoors, even when the indoor temperature is lower. In heating mode, a heat pump can be described as an air conditioner in reverse, which releases the heat inside.
Since a PTAC heat pump has all the necessary components in one piece of equipment, it is an excellent option for dwellings or offices that require independent heating and cooling. The following are some examples:
- Apartment buildings
- Small offices used by freelance professionals
Normally, an indoor space requires separate equipment for air conditioning and space heating. By combining both devices, a heat pump saves on material and installation costs. These savings add up in buildings that use many individual heat pumps, such as the examples above.
Advantages of PTAC Heat Pumps
The main advantage of a PTAC heat pump is its versatility, since it offers heating and cooling with a single piece of equipment. Heat pumps can match the most efficient air conditioners in cooling mode, and they are much more efficient than a resistance heater when in heating mode.
A resistance heater converts one watt of electricity into one watt of heating, but an efficient heat pump can deliver 3-4 watts of heat per watt of electricity. For a given heating output, a heat pump consumes 66-75% less electricity than a resistance heater.
Heat pumps start losing their efficiency when the weather reaches freezing temperatures, but this can be compensated by adding a resistance heater as backup. The heat pump runs like an inverse air conditioner while the weather is suitable, and it activates resistance heating when temperatures are too low for heat pump mode alone.
Compared with furnaces, heat pumps offer an environmental benefit because they heat indoor spaces without burning oil or gas. In other words, they reduce the carbon emissions of buildings directly. A heat pump still produces indirect emissions if the local power grid uses fossil fuels, but it becomes a clean heating solution in a grid that uses renewable energy. By eliminating the need for combustion devices, heat pumps can also make buildings safer.
Using a PTAC Heat Pump with High Energy Efficiency
In general, heat pumps provide an efficient solution for both heating and cooling. However, not all products are the same, and there can be major differences in terms of energy efficiency. However, the MDL Verano PTAC Heat Pump exceeds the efficiency requirements of AHRI standards (Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute).
For example, the 7,000 BTU/hour heat pump from MDL Solutions offers an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 13 in cooling mode, and a Coefficient of Performance (COP) of 3.55 in heating mode. For comparison, the AHRI Standard 310/380 requires an EER of 11.9 and a COP of 3.3 for a PTAC heat pump of this capacity.
To provide reliable heating under all weather conditions, the MDL heat pump includes a resistance heater as backup. The unit runs efficiently in heat pump mode most of the time, but it activates the resistance heater under two conditions:
- When outdoor temperatures are too low for the heat pump mode by itself.
- When a room requires rapid heating.
In the case of rapid heating, the resistance heater is switched off after reaching the desired temperature. Only the heat pump mode operates at this point, keeping a suitable temperature while conserving energy. The unit also has an optimized fan design that reduces noise, avoiding distraction and making indoor spaces more comfortable.
MDL Solutions offers a wide selection of heating and cooling systems, including high-efficiency heat pumps. Contact us to learn more about our products and their benefits, and our experts can help you select the best solution for your needs.