Who would want an old wall unit air conditioner / heater (PTAC)?
October 23, 2016 2:44 PM   Subscribe

I live in a condo that is heated and cooled by PTAC's - 100+ pound electric air conditioner / heater wall units such as are common in hotel rooms. Except that two of mine are 15+ years old and don't work well, such that I need to replace them. I want to find someone to take my old PTAC's away and ideally help me put the new ones in place too. I figure I'd just put a posting up on Craigslist with that offer (no charge for the units, but I don't pay anything either), but before I do, I'm curious: are there really people out there who would be interested in this? If so, why? For the scrap metal? For the bit of life left in the things? Are they worth more than I thought, should I charge something? More info on them below.

One PTAC still cools and heats, but its sensors are messed up so that its fan is on 100% of the time, even if it's turned off - so I have to leave it unplugged most of the time. The other PTAC heats fine, but its AC no longer works. They are Zonelines by GE, original cost around $1000 each in today's dollars.
posted by Mechitar to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
If you are in the US, see if you have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:51 PM on October 23, 2016

If nobody wants them for their intended function, there are still lots of scrappers who will enthusiastically haul those away and bust them up for the copper inside.
posted by jordemort at 3:00 PM on October 23, 2016

They're probably so energy-inefficient that nobody would want them except for scrap. I assume you're going to pay someone to put in new units? They can probably take care of disposing of the old ones.
posted by mareli at 3:02 PM on October 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: These should go to someone who can properly pull the refrigerant. Venting the Freon to the atmosphere is illegal and pretty bad for the environment but that is what most "scrappers" are going to do. The environmentally friendly course of action would be to pay an appliance or HVAC repair place to pull them for you.
posted by Mitheral at 3:19 PM on October 23, 2016 [6 favorites]

If you hire professionals to replace the units, they will haul away and recycle the old ones as part of the job.
posted by monotreme at 6:10 PM on October 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

On a side note, the HVAC contractor I have worked with recommends replacing these with Mitsubishi mini-split systems, saying even the best PTACs are inefficient and noisy by comparison. As a condo owner, you may have restrictions that force you to stick with the PTACs, but it seemed worth bringing up a possible alternative.
posted by musicinmybrain at 5:11 AM on October 24, 2016

If you're replacing the unit as a DIY project, there are scrapyards which are certified to recover the freon. They might pay you for the broken unit but you'll probably have to haul it to them and you'll get about $0.02-0.05/lbs for the unit. At worst, even if you haul it to the licensed freon recovery scrapyard and they don't pay you, the freon is recovered by an expert.

The scrapyard that I used for the disposal of my broken dehumidier doesn't advertise on their website that they're a licensed freon recovery facility. I was in there dropping off some pop cans and asked the foreman. YMMV.
posted by dlwr300 at 6:24 AM on October 24, 2016

musicinmybeain is on point here. Your best course of action is to hire a licensed HVAC professional to swap your PTAC out for a mini-split, which is a much better system for the kinds of applications that PTACs are found in. Said licensed professional will also get rid of the old PTAC—they will make sure the refrigerant is disposed of properly, and will then either scrap it themselves or sell it to a scrapper buddy they know. Part of the job.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:07 AM on October 24, 2016

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