Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning is one of the most popular climate control solutions in use in Australia. These units, which are more commonly known as heat pumps, offer versatility in that they can both heat and cool a home. Low maintenance and long lasting, a heat pump could make your home comfortable all year round.
How do Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners Work?
Traditional consumer air-conditioners were predominantly focused on cooling air. While this is perfect for the summer months when temperatures can exceed 30 degrees, it means that conventional forms of heating would still be required on chilly winter nights.
A reverse cycle air conditioner uses the cooling mechanism that’s already in place, but instead of extracting the hot air inside the home, a unit will take the heat from outside air. It uses the same refrigerant gasses, compressor unit and fan that is used for cooling, to then pump that warmth back in to your home.
This means that you could install a single unit that can cool your home like any other air conditioner, it will also produce heat by reversing its normal process.
Types of Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners
There are three types of heat pumps available for home use. The most popular are the split-type units, followed by window/wall units, and then portable units.
- Split type units separate the compressor and the condenser systems. A typical installation will feature a wall mounted unit inside your home, with the larger compressor assembly outside. The biggest advantages to these units are that they’re low profile and quiet. Because the compressor is outside, installation only requires a small cavity to connect the copper piping and wiring loom between the indoor and outdoor units.
- Window/wall units are all in one machines that can either be permanently, or semi-permanently mounted. While they can provide similar cooling and heating as a split-type, they’re noisy in comparison, and are considered an eye-sore inside homes.
- Portable units are similar to window units, except they’re mounted on wheels and can be moved around the home. These units feature an exhaust duct that needs to be channeled to an outside environment through a window or other port. By nature they are the least efficient solution, but may be necessary where a traditional installation is not possible.
Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning
In addition to the above systems, it’s also possible to install a ducted system for full home coverage. These systems feature an all in one unit located outdoors or in your roof space. Ducting is then used to distribute cool or warm air around your home. These systems are more costly to install, but provide a number of advantages.
- These units have the smallest footprint inside the home. Low profile vents can be located on ceilings, walls, or floors to condition any room.
- Installations can be divided in to zones, meaning that there is individual control for kitchen and dining, living areas, and bedrooms.
- An installation using insulated ducting and zoning could mean a single unit is able to heat and cool a 200m² home.
Installing, Maintaining, and Repairing a Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner
Ducted systems, split type units, and window/wall units all require professional installation. This will ensure that electrical installation is completed safely and to relevant Australian regulations.
A professional aircon installation will also ensure that your heat pump is adequately sized for your home, and proper placement will allow for the most efficient operation. This will save on energy costs over the lifetime of your unit.
Perhaps one of the biggest strengths of a reverse cycle air conditioner is durability. High quality air conditioners sold in Australia have an average minimum operating cycle of 20 years. That means with regular maintenance, you could cool your home for two decades. This means that even a more costly aircon installation using ducting would pay itself off with energy savings over time.
It’s important to employ a registered air conditioning technician at least once per year to clean the filter, fan, and general assembly of any air conditioning unit that you own. Not only will this ensure that they are cooling and heating efficiently, but this kind of preventative maintenance will maximize the life of the unit. Likewise, aircon repairs should only be carried out by a professional, as this will ensure only quality parts are used
Air Conditioning is No Longer a Luxury
Air conditioners were once a luxury appliance. Today, even a fully ducted reverse cycle air conditioner is within reach of the average family. Installing a heat pump will reduce energy consumption over the winter, and will even provide you with a healthier and dryer home. With a number of options available to suit any household, cooling and heating your home in Perth, Brisbane, or wherever you are in Australia is simple and cost effective.