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Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning | How It Works

Reverse cycle air conditioning is a popular choice for people battling the humid summers and mild winters of Brisbane and South East Queensland. But how does it stack up against electric heaters? How do each of these systems work? Can an electric heater achieve the same result as a reverse cycle air conditioner? This article will explore what reverse cycle air conditioning is, how it works, its benefits and why you might want to install one if you live in the sunshine state.

What Is Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning?

Simply put, reverse cycle describes an air conditioner that is capable of both heating and cooling. More specifically, a reverse cycle air conditioner allows the refrigeration cycle to be reversed, to provide heat as well as cooling. A reverse cycle air conditioner is typically much more energy-efficient than an electrical heater.

Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning: How It Works

Reverse cycle air conditioning uses a refrigeration cycle to cool the inside of your home, and a reverse refrigeration cycle to warm it up.

How does this work? To warm up your home:

  1. A cold liquid called a refrigerant passes through an external coil, absorbing heat from the air outside.
  2. The refrigerant is pumped by a compressor, down through chambers and into a condenser.
  3. As the refrigerant is compressed, it warms up, creating hot air.
  4. This hot air is pushed into the room by a fan, to warm the area.
    To cool down your home, the reverse cycle air conditioner simply reverses the flow of the refrigerant.

How Do Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners Compare To Electric Heaters?

An electric heater ‘creates’ heat energy, while a reverse cycle air conditioner ‘absorbs’ heat from outside air to warm the air inside. This is ultimately much more energy efficient.

Let’s take a closer look:

Electric heaters have a very different design to reverse cycle air conditioning. It can only heat a room, not cool it.

An electric heater generates heat by allowing an electric current to pass through the heating coils in the unit. As this current moves through the resistor, the electrical energy is turned into heat, which is pushed out into the room with an electric fan.

What Are The Advantages of Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning?

#1 Cost-effective

Reverse cycle air conditioning is one of the most budget-friendly ways to heat and cool your home. These air conditioners are equally skilled at performing two functions: filtering and dehumidifying air, and keeping you toasty warm in winter.

Although electric heaters are a good way to warm a space quickly, the running costs can be up to two thirds higher than reverse cycle air conditioner, and you will need to spend extra money on a unit to cool your home in summer.

#2 Safe

Reverse cycle air conditioners remain cool to touch at all times and have no exposed elements or flames, making them a safe way to generate heat.

#3 Long-lasting

Reverse cycle air conditioners have a typical lifespan of up to 20 years.

#4 Energy efficient

A reverse cycle air conditioner is efficient for both heating and cooling, and it is becoming even more efficient over time in terms of energy consumption and cost. For example, one kilowatt of electricity consumed will typically generate three or more kilowatts of heating or cooling energy.

If you are seeking to buy a reverse cycle air conditioner, remember to check the energy rating. The more stars your air conditioner has, the more energy-efficient it is compared to other appliances in its size range.

#5 Adaptable and flexible

Many reverse cycle air conditioners come equipped with thermostats or advanced inverter technology, making them ideal for adapting to the temperature and condition of the room.

#6 Purifying

Some split system reverse cycle air conditioners will purify the air as they heal or cool your home. These systems feature an inbuilt air-purifying filter, designed to trap airborne particles, decompose odours, and absorb and deactivate bacteria and viruses. Since Australia has high rates of asthma and hayfever, these health benefits can give reverse cycle air conditioners an edge over traditional electric heaters.

#7 Eco-friendly

Reverse cycle air conditioners produce only one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions of electric heaters. In fact, Daikin’s 7-star energy rated US7 split system produces less than one-fifth of that amount.

#8 Professional installation

A reverse cycle air conditioner will require professional installation. To install your air conditioner, an air conditioning specialist will assess your unique situation and provide useful advice on how to ensure your reverse cycle air conditioner operates effectively and efficiently.

Are Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners Expensive To Run?

On average, a reverse cycle air conditioner costs approximately $0.13-$0.36 per hour to run for heating purposes, compared to $0.36-$0.43 per hour for an electric heater.

The average reverse cycle air conditioning unit will cost about $0.25 – $0.35 per hour for cooling purposes.

Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning: Final Thoughts

If you live in Brisbane or South East Queensland, reverse cycle air conditioning might be the perfect solution for you. Aside from offering adaptability and flexibility with the changing of the seasons, reverse cycle air conditioners are designed to help ease your electricity bills in both winter and summer. They can purify the air of your home, cost less to run, and produce a much lower level of greenhouse gases than their electric heater counterparts.

Keen to start saving money with reverse cycle air conditioning? Contact Crown Power today on 0427 175 654 (Brisbane & Sunshine Coast) or on 0409 678 803 (Gold Coast).