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What is Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning?

When it comes to Queensland weather, we are lucky to have some of the best beautiful warm days and balmy evenings this side of the world has to offer. It can, however, get a little too warm around the edges come summertime and a little too cool for comfort come winter, so your home will likely need both cooling and heating at some point along the way. Enter reverse cycle air conditioning - a wonderful invention that allows you to either cool or heat your home from the same machine all year round. So, how does it all work?

How does reverse cycle air conditioning work?

In a nutshell, reverse cycle air conditioning can both heat and cool a room from the same unit - it is like a two-for-one kind of deal. If it is on the cooling option, a reverse cycle system functions just like a normal air conditioning unit. However, when you need a little heat instead, two things occur :

  1. The outdoor condenser unit switches it up and becomes the evaporator, therefore letting out cold air (i.e. air that is colder than the air outside)
  2. The indoor evaporator coil also switches, turning into the condenser coil and creating heat

In essence, what is happening is the refrigeration cycle of an air-conditioner is being reversed, hence the name ‘reverse cycle’ and the creation of an efficient and logical heating/cooling system.

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Are all air conditioners reverse cycle?

No. Some systems are cooling only, meaning they offer you a nice cool home in summer but can’t help when the temperature starts to drop come wintertime - you’ll need to invest in a heater as well if you have one of these!

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What are the benefits of a reverse cycle air conditioner?

A reverse cycle system can offer a lot of benefits to your home or office, including :

  • The ability to both cool and warm your home from the same device
  • The system used by a reverse cycle air con to heat an area is much more efficient than both gas and electric heaters, as it ‘soaks in’ the heat from the outside air to heat inside - this is compared to other heating options that have to ‘create’ heat energy
  • Another energy efficiency point - they are great across the board when it comes to energy usage. From being efficient energy users to being efficient in cost over time, they are just so effective
  • It can be used in all conditions - even if it’s below 0℃ outside, or above 40℃! A good reverse cycle system will likely have an inbuilt defrost cycle to allow heating even when it’s really chilly outside, offering great weather versatility
  • Cost effective installation, as you only have to pay for one set of installation costs for both a heating and cooling system
  • Some systems also purify the air as part of their process, meaning a huge bonus for allergy and asthma suffers
  • They are eco-friendly, as reverse cycle systems produce less greenhouse gas than electric heaters - up to two thirds less!
  • A lot of reverse cycle systems are quieter than most other options, meaning less operating noise and more comfort

What about ducted vs split reverse cycle air cons?

When you take a look at reverse cycle air conditioners, you may see words like ‘ducted’ and ‘split’ thrown around which can make things a little confusing. So, what do they mean?

  • Ducted air con systems are best used to heat or cool an entire home, or specified sections of the house - the indoor unit is placed in the roof and then connected to different vents placed in varying ceiling points throughout the house, and the outdoor unit is placed in an appropriate outside location
  • Split systems are best if only one room, such as a bedroom or lounge, require heating or cooling and no other areas - their inside unit is placed on the wall and the air is discharged directly into the room and the outdoor unit is placed in an appropriate outside location

It depends on your requirements as to whether a ducted or split reverse system is needed in your circumstances, and it is best to speak to your experienced air conditioning technician as they can provide specialist information regarding all aspects of both heating and cooling for your home or office.

If you have any questions regarding reverse cycle air cons, or would like to install or upgrade your system, give us a call on 1300 762 260 or complete a Book Online form and we can discuss all your available options.

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