Our beautiful, balmy Brisbane mornings are fast becoming a distant memory as we head towards the chilly months of winter. If you’ve not already taken care of your home heating, chances are that the colder weather will have you thinking about getting one very soon. When you consider your heating options, air conditioning in winter probably doesn’t spring to mind. In fact, you might think that an air conditioning system that can warm and cool your home sounds too good to be true…and horribly expensive. However, if you’re a savvy home-owner who is mindful of energy efficiency, your first choice should be a reverse cycle air conditioner.

So, how’s it possible for an air conditioner to cool and heat your home?

It’s possible to both cool and warm your home if you get the right air conditioning system: A ‘reverse cycle’ air conditioner. It can also filter and dehumidify the air in your home. You might wonder how that’s possible. When an air conditioner is working to cool your home, warm air from your home is drawn into the unit and is passed over a refrigerant. This cools the air. The air is then pumped back into your home, effectively lowering the internal temperature. Meanwhile, refrigerant absorbs the heat from the air, warming it up to the point that it evaporates and becomes a high-pressure gas. The gas is pumped back outside the home allowing it to cool down and re-liquefy before flowing back inside, to start the whole process again.

Reverse cycle air conditioners allow for the reversing of this function so that the refrigerant can actually draw heat in from outside, even in winter, in order to warm the home.

The types of reverse cycle air conditioners on the market

You’ll find that many ducted and split system air conditioners boast a reverse cycle function nowadays.

What’s the difference between a ducted and a split system? Generally speaking, an air conditioner is made up of an external coil, a compressor and a fan coil unit (condenser). Whilst ducted and split air conditioners share these basic components, how the unit is set up differs quite dramatically. For example, with a ducted system, all of the component parts are generally housed together in the same unit in the roof space. Cooled air is circulated throughout the house via a series of ducts concealed in the roof space. Those ducts feed cooled air to the rooms in your home via vents or outlets in the ceiling.

In a split system, your air conditioner is split into two units, as the name suggests. One is situated outside, usually on an external wall, and the other is normally wall-mounted.

The advantages of having a reverse cycle air conditioner

There are a number of benefits of choosing a reverse cycle air conditioner. The biggest advantage of a reverse cycle air conditioner is that it’s an integrated two-in-one solution to all your heating and cooling problems. It can cool your home in summer and warm your home in winter. You avoid having to pay for two separate units and consequently halve your installation costs.

Ducted Reverse Cycle Systems

A reverse cycle ducted air conditioner means only one a system of ducts in your roof space. Otherwise, having a separate ducted heating system and a ducted air conditioner can make your roof space a tangled and impassable mess of ducts, making access very difficult. Also, with a reverse cycle ducted system, you’ll only have one set of vents or outlets in the ceilings instead of two. This makes for a more streamlined, less visually intrusive heating and cooling system.

Reverse Cycle Split Systems

If you choose a wall-mounted reverse cycle air conditioner such as a split system you’ll also find that it won’t take up as much wall space as having separate heating and cooling systems. Also, you avoid the safety hazards associated with other heater such as burns or the risk of a house fire.

Whilst you may find that a reverse cycle air conditioning unit has an initial higher purchase cost, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its lower running costs. You won’t find yourself having to pay for the servicing of two separate units, so your maintenance costs will also be lower. In addition, a reverse cycle unit, in particular, a ducted unit, can be extraordinarily efficient in terms of energy usage. The best way to assess an air conditioner’s energy efficiency is to check its energy star rating. To find out more about energy star ratings click here. A reverse cycle air conditioner, in heating mode, will run at its most energy efficient when the thermostat is set to 18°C.

Tips to get the best out of your reverse cycle air conditioner this winter

If you already have a reverse cycle air conditioner, you can improve its efficiency even more by taking simple steps such as ensuring that your home is adequately insulated and that you close doors and windows wherever possible so as to combat heat loss.

If you’re in the market for a heating system and are considering whether a reverse cycle air conditioner might suit your needs, contact us at Crown Power today on 1300 851 186 for a friendly chat and comprehensive advice about all of your heating and cooling options.