Charlie: Gaye in Willowbrook says, “I’m renovating a 150 year old farm house. I’m trying to stay very simple with the HVAC system.” It’s a little background for you here, Tom. It’s pier and beam, two bedroom. Main room has a 14 foot ceiling with two lofts. It’s about 1,000 square feet overall. He says the prices being quoted for central air our out of his budget, and he’s looked at split systems, but those cost even more. He wants your opinion of a PTAC unit with a heat pump.
Tom: Well, first off, to confirm what he said, people think these ductless systems are cheap, and they’re not. And so they’re very good, but they’re not. He’s looking at about two tons of cooling which is, if he’s going to get into window units or anything like that, 12,000 BTU is one ton, so he’s going to need two of them. He’s going to need 24,000 BTU to cool that place with that high ceiling.
And as far as that goes, I’m not sure what else to tell him, but air conditioning is air conditioning, and you have to have a decent unit in this part of the country to really cool your home, especially an older home like that because of the load on it, and without the insulating qualities that we have in newer homes.
Charlie: Sure. How many tons of air is he going to get? Two and a half tons?
Tom: At least two, minimum. And even if you go … You know, they sell window units. People will say, “I’ll just get a window unit and cool it off,” and it works. I lived with one in Florida for years, but one ton, and they sell them in BTUs. That’s British Thermal Units as opposed to tonnage, but 12,000 BTUs is approximately one ton of cooling.
Charlie: Okay. And what is a PTAC unit he’s asking about?
Tom: I’m not really sure about that particular unit, but I have a feeling there’s not many choices past a central, a ductless, and then window type units, so I have a feeling he’s running all the way down to the Frederick’s. I don’t know if y’all remember those. It was a long time ago. But window type units, which is just an all-in-one unit you stick in a hole in the wall.
Charlie: Yeah, I wonder if those aren’t the kind you have in the hotel, where you’ve got that unit sitting under the window.
Tom: And that’s not that cheap either.
Tom: And you’ve got to cut a big ol’ giant hole in your house to have half of it outside, half of it inside. The problem with the ones that you talk about with the hotels … Or actually they’re not even hotels. They’re motels, like the old days, remember? You drive up to your door?
Charlie: Yeah, yeah.
Tom: They don’t dehumidify, so have you ever noticed how moldy those rooms always smelled when you get the $29 a night hotel room?
Charlie: Is that the odor?
Tom: That’s the odor, and a lot of other things, but it won’t dehumidify.
Charlie: All right.