Reverse cycle air conditioner

What is a reverse cycle air conditioner?

Reverse cycle air conditioning systems are units that can provide both cooling air conditioning and heating. 

How do reverse cycle air conditioners work?

Heating your house or office
Most electric heaters create heat directly by using heating elements that generate heat when an electric current is passed through them. These ‘direct element’ heaters include systems such as portable heaters, panel convectors and off-peak storage heaters. 

Reverse cycle air conditioners extract the heat from the air outside, even on cold winter nights and transfer it inside.  This is achieved by passing a refrigerant through a coil that goes outside.  The heat is absorbed into the refrigerant, which is then pumped through a compressor into a condenser inside the home.  The stored heat is released into the room.

Cooling your house or office
The refrigerant is simply pumped the opposite direction so the heat is taken out of the home resulting in efficient refrigerative cooling in summer.

Where can I buy a reverse cycle air conditioner?

You can buy cheap new units on Ebay.  Check out the bargains here.

What are the advantages of reverse cycle air conditioners?

› One of the most economical forms of heating

› Able to provide both heating and cooling

› Remain cool to touch at all times

› Have no exposed elements or flames

› Lifetime of up to 20 years

› Filter and dehumidify air

What types of reverse cycle air conditioner are there?

Portable air conditioner units
Portable air conditioner units can obviously be moved from room to room or even house to house. Most of these air conditioner units consist of a separate indoor and outdoor unit connected by flexible refrigerant lines. They are then connected to standard power points. External units can be hung outside an open window.

Portable units are particularly useful when you want to cool or heat several smaller rooms at different times. They are also good for people who rent their house, move home frequently, or in situations where permanent installation is not possible. They are suitable for rooms up to 35 m2.

Window/wall units
Window/wall units have all the air conditioner components in one unit, which you permanently mount through an external wall or window. They are the cheapest type of reverse cycle air conditioner available. Some models can even be connected to standard power points. However as the motor is contained in the same unit as the internal fan, window/wall units can be noisy and you will have to cut a large hole in the wall, or remove a pane of glass from a window. Curtains must be left open during operation if installed in a window. They are suitable for rooms up to 70 m2.

Ducted systems
Ducted systems are designed to centrally heat and cool a large number of rooms or an entire home. They can be suitable if you have an open-plan house, and/or prefer heating and cooling in all or most rooms of your house simultaneously.

Floor-mounted units have slightly decreased cooling effectiveness. This should not usually be a concern, as heating is generally required more often than cooling. Alternatively, consider purchasing a wall unit with adjustable louvres, and mounting it approximately 1.5–2 m above the floor.

They are more expensive to purchase and run than other types of air conditioners, as they heat and cool larger areas.

A single ducted unit can heat areas up to 200 m2. It is also possible to install a single duct outlet as part of a split system installation. The vent can be mounted in the ceiling or wall, and is capable of conditioning open areas up to 80 m2.

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