What’s the Difference Between Heat Pump and Electric Heat PTACs?

While all PTACs cool a room the same way, there are two different types of PTACs and they heat rooms in two distinct ways:

1) Via Resistance (Electric) Heat 
2) Via Heat Pump

How do Heat Pump and Electric Heat PTACs work?

Heat Pump – Heat pumps work in a similar manner to an air conditioner, except they reverse the cooling process to circulate warm air instead of cold air.

Resistance (Electric) Heat – In contrast to heat pump PTACs, resistance (electric) heat units work by passing an electric current through wires to heat them.

Which units are more cost effective: Heat Pump or Electric Heat PTACs?

The answer depends on where you are and what the climate is like where you are located. There are several factors to consider vis-a-vis initial investment and energy use over time.

Resistance heat units require a smaller initial investment, but can result in higher energy costs when used for prolonged periods of time.

Heat pumps use less energy than resistance heat models, but require a larger initial investment.

All packaged terminal heat pumps also incorporate resistance heat technology that can help maintain room temperature when the outside temperature drops below the minimum operating threshold for a heat pump. This is an important factor to consider when choosing between heat pump and electric heat PTACs for your business as a hospitality establishment or for personal use at home.

Regardless of the intention of your purchase, heat pumps are suggested for cooler climates where the need for heat is greater; you should see a return on the initial higher investment of a heat pump PTAC unit in about a year. All climate zones within the U.S. will realize some energy cost savings by choosing a heat pump model, but the payback will vary by location (as shown by the map below).

Looking for the best options of hotel PTACs / ACs? Check out our list of the Best Hotel PTACs / ACs 2021.


Michael CastnerWhat’s the Difference Between Heat Pump and Electric Heat PTACs?