Why you should consider a reverse cycle air conditioning system
We’re blessed to live in the lucky country, where we enjoy one of the best climates in the world – long summers and comparatively mild winters. And if you’re like the majority of Aussies, there are still several months of the year when it is super-chilly, dare we say, even, freezing cold, especially at night. If you live in the southern states of Australia in particular, you know what it’s like to feel the cold in winter time and reach your winter woollies.
That’s why the words, ‘reverse cycle air conditioner’ should be music to your ears! So what is a reverse cycle air conditioning system and why should you consider installing one?
Basically, a reverse cycle air conditioner is used to cool your home in summer, AND warm your home in winter, all with one energy-efficient unit. It’s so brilliantly simple! Hands down, it’s one of the most efficient ways to heat your home using electricity.
There are so many advantages to using a reverse cycle air conditioning system for cooling and heating. Here are just a few:
They warm in winter
They certainly do, and it’s all about the heating technique! A reverse cycle air conditioner works very differently to conventional gas or portable electric heaters. Conventional heaters have to ‘create’ heat energy, while a reverse cycle system ‘absorbs’ heat from the outdoor air to warm the air inside, which is a more energy efficient technique.
When in heating mode, the unit works in the opposite way to cooling, in that it draws heat in from the air outside before distributing it around the room. To get a bit technical, a refrigerant is passed through an external coil, absorbing heat from the outside air. This refrigerant is then pumped through a compressor into a fan coil unit inside the home, releasing heat into the room. It doesn’t have to be warm outside for the unit to do this, as it can perform this function even in freezing conditions.
Built with cold conditions in mind, a good reverse cycle air conditioner will have an automatic defrost cycle for more effective operation. So even when the mercury drops as low as minus 15ºC, your reverse cycle air conditioner can still heat your home.
They cool in summer
With a flick of the switch, your reverse cycle air conditioner is now in cooling mode. Again, using a super-energy efficient system, the unit will absorb heat from the inside air and dissipate it outside, leaving your home cooler. Today’s modern technology means your air conditioning unit can cool your home in temperatures as high as 46 ºC. So forget cumbersome or bulky fans. This is the perfect cooling system made for our climate.
They’re extremely efficient
The one word you’ll hear over and over again when talking about reverse cycle systems is efficient… efficient in terms of energy use, efficient in cost over time, efficient in heating, efficient in cooling. They really do provide one of the most efficient means of heating a home available.
In fact, modern reverse cycle air conditioning systems are becoming more efficient over time, particularly in terms of energy consumption and cost, making them a very good investment in comfort and health. And as electricity prices continue to rise, air conditioner efficiency is becoming increasingly important. They’re efficient even in the most extreme conditions. For example, one kW of electricity consumed, will generate three or more kW of heating or cooling.
When comparing energy consumption for different air conditioners, remember there are different energy ratings, so ask a specialist to explain what the numbers mean. As with other appliances, the more stars your heating and cooling unit has, the more energy efficient it is.
They’re adaptable and flexible
As part of a push for energy efficiency, many modern reverse cycle air conditioning units come with thermostats and advanced inverter technology, which means they’re able to adapt to the temperature and condition of the room. Inverter technology helps to deliver one of the most energy efficient ways to heat and cool your home using electricity. Unlike a conventional air conditioner’s on/off operation, inverter technology works like the accelerator of a car, gently adjusting power to reach the desired temperature faster, then steadily maintaining it without fluctuations, for uninterrupted comfort and more efficient operation.
More efficient than portable heaters
Reverse cycle air conditioning units are usually much more efficient than plug-in portable electric heaters, which can sometimes be cheap to buy but costly to run. Also, consider the size of the space you wish to warm with your heating source. Many portable heaters are only designed to warm a very small area like the ground around your icicle-cold feet, for example, and the heat may not emanate to a wide enough area to truly warm your environment, or your body, unless you literally sit on top of it, which is neither safe nor practical!
You only pay once
A particular advantage of installing a reverse cycle system is that you only pay once for a unit that performs two functions. All you need to do is change the unit’s mode to switch between cooling for those summer months and heating to quickly warm your home in the chilly winter months. Some Aussies actually live in an environment where they could use the heater one day and the cooler the next. So having a reverse cycle system could help make your home’s heating and cooling expenses much more efficient.
They help purify the air
Dust and smoke be gone! Reverse cycle air conditioning systems don’t just heat or cool your home, some split systems can actually purify the air inside it. Many systems feature a built in air-purifying filter that traps fine airborne particles, helping you purify the air inside your home. Some even decompose odours, and absorb and deactivate bacteria and viruses. Considering Australia has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world, as well as high levels of hayfever and other allergies, this is an unexpected advantage of a reverse cycle system and can make it an important factor when considering your growing family’s needs, not just in terms of heating or cooling, but in terms of health.
Less noise equals greater comfort
When it comes to a heating or cooling system, perfect climate control is the key factor that can affect comfort in your home, but it’s not the only one. Operating noise levels can also have an impact on comfort levels. Some manufacturers of reverse cycle air conditioning systems are investing in, and developing technology to reduce operating noise across their units, maximising a family’s comfort at every level.
Better for the environment
Here’s another fantastic advantage to choosing a reverse cycle air conditioner. These systems tend to produce only one third the greenhouse gas emissions of standard electric heaters. Some reverse cycle units that are rated above a 5 star energy rating such as Daikin’s only 7 star energy rated split system* (US7) will actually produce less than one fifth of the emissions of conventional electric heaters.
More split systems today are using the new R32 refrigerant with 66% lower global warming potential factor than R410A which is the common refrigerant type.
Less greenhouse gas emissions means a happier planet.
*25 Class Model, as of 22/10/14 – visit www.energyrating.gov.au for details
They can be professionally installed
When purchasing and installing a reverse cycle air conditioning system, you’ll get specialist help on the optimal heating solution for your home which is a real value-add. Every home is different, so a specialist dealer can evaluate your needs and advise on the most appropriate solution, ensuring that you receive a top quality product that operates effectively and efficiently thanks to professional installation and support.
So there you have it. The advantages of reverse cycle air conditioning – heating, cooling, comfort, clean air and flexibility all year round. And of course, optimum energy efficiency.