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It would be best if you had the perfect heating and cooling solution to be more comfortable during the hot and humid summer and cold winter months. Reverse-cycle air conditioners are designed to meet this need.

It can provide warm air to get your home heated or cooled air for cooling your home. This may make you want to know how a reverse-cycle air conditioner works. This post will discuss reverse-cycle air conditioning and how reverse-cycle air conditioners work.

You can discover more about their advantages and disadvantages and the differences between ducted reverse cycle and split system air conditioners. This post also looks at the features to consider when buying air conditioners. Read on to learn more!

Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning Explained

Reverse cycle air conditioners function as heat pumps that provide cooling and heating all year round. Unlike traditional heating and cooling systems like electric heaters, reverse cycle air conditioners do not offer climate control by creating heat energy. In other words, they do not use electricity as a source to generate heating and cooling effects.

Instead, they can absorb air from outside homes. Thereafter, the refrigerant gas component cools or heats the air, and then it is pumped inside the house. Simply put, reverse cycle systems absorb heat from outside air and transfer it to indoor air in a heat exchange process that warms your home. On the other hand, the system draws heat from your indoor air and releases it outside to cool your home.

This is understandably a climate control process that is more energy-efficient. You may be wondering: “Are all air conditioners reverse cycle?” The answer is no. Some systems only have a cooling mode. With them, you need to get a heating solution for the cold winter months.

Advantages of reverse cycle air conditioning systems

  • The heating and cooling system is eco-friendly and energy-efficient compared to electric heaters.
  • Reverse cycle systems are known for their adaptability and flexibility. This is due to the presence of advanced inverter technology and sensors.
  • You can use one system to heat and cool your whole house.
  • It provides better safety compared to stand-alone heaters.
  • The air purifying process of some reverse cycle air cons benefits those who suffer from asthma and allergies.
  • With reverse cycle air conditioning installed in your home, you do not need to install multiple appliances such as fans and gas or electric heaters.

Disadvantages of reverse cycle air conditioning systems

  • It is associated with an increased electricity cost.
  • You lose the heating and cooling effects when you lose power.

How Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners Work

Reverse-cycle air conditioners provide reverse-cycle air conditioning by filtering and dehumidifying the surrounding air. This air is then used for heating or cooling purposes. Let us now consider the heating and cooling functions.

Heating function of reverse cycle systems

Running your reverse cycle system during winter absorbs heat from the outside air and takes it inside your home. Reverse-cycle air conditioners with automatic defrost cycles can heat your home even with low outdoor temperatures.

Here are the particular details of how reverse cycle systems function on heating modes:

  • When it is on heating settings, your reverse cycle system passes refrigerant gas through an external coil and absorbs heat from outside air. 
  • After that, a compressor pumps the air into a condenser coil even while it warms up. Ultimately, a fan pumps out the hot air into your room.
  • Following this, the refrigerant flows through an expansion valve and onto an evaporator to cool down and be pumped back into the condenser. Subsequently, a new cycle repeats.

Cooling function of reverse cycle systems

The above process of reverse cycle air conditioners is reversed when it operates in cooling mode. The evaporator coil will absorb heat energy from the air inside your house.

Your home starts to get cooler as the system’s fan pumps cold air inside your home.

Meanwhile, reverse-cycle air conditioners can cool your home even in really high temperatures.

Reverse Cycle Vs. Split System Air Conditioners

The available forms of reverse-cycle air conditioners are split systems and ducted systems. Both ducted and split system air conditioners can use reverse cycle technology to cool and heat your home. However, they both have their differences. Let us consider some of these differences:

Ducted air conditioners

Ducted reverse-cycle air conditioners can be expensive since they have to use ducts and vents to provide heating or cooling functions. The installation requirements of ducted reverse cycle systems are also more complex. However, a single ducted air conditioning system can heat or cool your entire home.

Split system air conditioners

Split-system air conditioning systems have both outdoor and indoor units. The outdoor unit typically has a compressor, and the outdoor unit has a condenser and an evaporator.

There is also piping that moves refrigerant gas and connects both units. One advantage of reverse cycle split systems is the ease of installation. In addition, split-system air conditioners have more affordable installation costs.

How Your Heat Pump Functions

You already know that your heat pump plays an essential role in the functioning of reverse-cycle air conditioning systems. Essentially, your heat pump uses refrigeration cycles to both cool down and warm up internal environments.

Here’s how:

  • First, the heat pump transfers heat as it circulates the refrigerant. 
  • This refrigerant is a chemical fluid that transfers heat energy as it converts from gas to liquid state and vice versa.
  • Therefore, the heat pump moves the refrigerant around, and the changing stares result in heat energy being absorbed or released. 
  • This, in turn, leads to heat transfer from one place to another.

Factors to consider when choosing cooling or heating solutions

  • With ducted units, you get a more seamless aesthetic look. This is because the vents are discreet, and the ductwork is concealed.
  • Split systems are prominently displayed in rooms.
  • You must get multiple split systems to heat or cool multiple rooms. You could also use multiple splits with one outdoor unit powering numerous indoor units.
  • Ducted systems can last up to 10 years, whereas ducted units can last up to 15 years.
  • Note that evaporative coolers may provide excellent evaporative cooling for low-humidity areas. Ducted evaporative coolers use only half the energy consumption compared to air conditioners of similar capacity. However, they are only ideal for some regions.
  • Gas heaters can provide ducted gas heating that can be zoned to certain rooms. However, they consume a significant amount of gas and electricity.
  • After a few months, you will need to take maintenance measures such as cleaning the filters of reverse cycle air conditioning units.
  • This will reduce dirt clogs and improve system efficiency. Likewise, you will need a professional air conditioning service at least twice yearly.

Features to consider when buying air conditioners

  • Prioritise getting an energy-efficient model and use installers with Australian Refrigeration Council licences.
  • You may look for features such as heat, cool, dry, and eco mode features and features that help purify the air. 
  • Other features to look out for include the thermostat, auto, and sleep mode features. 
  • Go for reliable and reputable models such as Mitsubishi Electric. This way, you can be sure it effectively heats your home and cools it when needed.

Get Help from Air Conditioning Contractors

After reading this article, you know more about how a reverse cycle air conditioner works. You have also read up on how heat pumps work and the factors to consider when choosing cooling and heating solutions.

It would help if you made sure of a worthy investment when installing a heating solution. A reputable plumbing contractor can provide wall-split or ducted reverse-cycle air conditioning systems to suit your needs.

Moreover, you can depend on them for other heating and cooling solutions, such as space heaters, hydronic heating, and cassette air conditioner solutions. A reputable plumbing contractor can help assess your needs, provide expert advice, and install the most suitable air conditioning system for your requirements.