How Does a Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner Work?

Reverse cycle air conditioning is a popular choice among Australian homeowners looking for air conditioning solutions. There are many types of air conditioners on the market. When researching to find the best option for your home, you’re likely to meet terms like invertor, non-invertor, cooling only, split system, multi-split system, and duct systems.

Read on for an overview of reverse cycle air conditioning, how it works, and its benefits.

How Does Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning Work?

In a nutshell, reverse cycle refers to a type of air conditioner that has both heating and cooling functions. With a Reverse Cycle AC unit, the cooling cycle can be reversed to heat the air instead of cooling it.

When the unit is in cooling mode, it works like a normal air conditioner. However, when it is switched to heating mode, the outdoor condenser unit switches role to discharge air that is colder than the outside. At the same time, the indoor evaporator coil switches role to produce heat instead of cooling the air.

One of the benefits of reverse cycle units is that they can filter and dehumidify the air, making your environment clean and healthy.

Types of Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners

Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners
There are four main types of reverse cycle air conditioners. These are:

a)Ducted Air Conditioning Systems

These units are specially designed to control the climate of an environment. The systems are ideal for larger properties and when installed, distribute heating and cooling through the internal ducts in the ceiling. A centralized control of the unit is installed in one part of the property.

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b) Split Systems

Split systems are permanently installed onto walls and have an exterior condenser unit that is located outside the house. These units are quieter than wall-mounter or window systems. The air conditioners may also have adjustable louvers and are suitable for controlling the climate in rooms measuring up to 10 meters sq.

Some split reverse cycle units can work in different rooms at the same time.

c) Window and Wall Units

Like the name suggests, these units are usually attached to small home walls or units. The systems are typically mounted outside the window or wall that cools the inside air and pushes hot air out. To install these reverse cycle systems, a hole has to be cut into the wall where they will be placed.

Window and wall reverse cycle air conditioners are cheap. However, they are also quite noisy and, therefore, not popular with homeowners.

d) Portable Units

Portable units usually have wheels and are, therefore, easy to roll around a property to the room that requires heating or cooling. The systems have to be connected to a power source to work.
Portable reverse air conditioning units are popular with tenants living in houses where installing a wall-mounted unit is prohibited.

How to Choose the Best Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner for Your Home

When looking to buy a reverse cycle AC unit, there are two important things you should keep in mind:

  • Energy rating on the system
  • Size of the unit

Energy Rating of a System

Energy Rating of a System
Check the energy rating of the reverse cycle air conditioner that you want to buy. Ideally, the unit should have a high energy rating and be within your budget.

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All reverse cycle air conditioners, especially the single-phase types, should have an energy star rating of between 1 to 6. If you need a smaller system, for example, a wall system, check its sticker for information about its energy rating. Generally, the more stars a unit has, the more efficient it.

A system with more stars will operate optimally while consuming low energy. As a result, the unit will meet your heating and cooling requirements and still save you hundreds of dollars per year on energy bills.

Size of the Unit

Determine the size of the reverse air cycle unit that will be suitable for your property. For example, the kilowatt (kW) that would be sufficient for a residential home may not necessarily be enough for a commercial building.

To determine how much energy will be sufficient to power your home, consult a qualified technician. The technician can use your floor plan to determine the size of air conditioning that will sufficiently handle the heating and cooling needs of the building.

If you install a unit that is too small, it may not provide the heating or cooling power you need. On the other hand, if a unit that is too big, it will perform poorly. You can avoid these inconveniences by determining the correct size of your space to know the amount of kW you’ll need for a system.

The above is an overview of how a reverse cycle air conditioner works, its benefits, and what you should consider when looking to install a new unit.