Absolute Airflow Heating and Cooling

What Is Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning and How Does It Work?

Jun 05, 2023 Reverse Cycle Heating and Cooling Concept: Hot sun on one side, cold tree on other side. AC wall controller in the middle

Reverse cycle air conditioners are one of the most prevalent forms of heating and cooling in Australia. Despite this, many people still struggle to identify the difference between reverse cycle and other forms of air conditioning. 

Throughout this article, we will break down the fundamentals of reverse cycle technology, explain a few key features and most importantly, explore its many benefits. 

Whether you’re looking for versatile heating and cooling in Coburg or Kew, we’re here to break down the ins and outs of reverse cycle air conditioning. Let’s get started.

Breaking Down Reverse Cycle Technology

Reverse cycle systems offer both heating and cooling. Through a central heat pump, reverse cycle systems draw in air from outside and distribute it indoors at your preferred temperature. This technology is available in the form of split systems or a series of ducts and vents.  

The heat pump is the most important component of any reverse cycle unit. Once activated, this pump moves the refrigerant to create the ideal temperature. In the heating and cooling world, a refrigerant refers to a special chemical that can transfer liquid to gas and vice versa. 

A heat pump kicks into action by moving the refrigerant around and changing its direction. A change in direction determines whether the system is heating or cooling the air. Thanks to an in-built reversing valve, this process is completed with remarkable speed.

Adaptive Heating

Reverse cycle heating works by absorbing the natural heating energy present in the air outdoors. This process occurs when an external fan coil connects with a refrigerant to absorb heat from the air extracted. From here, the refrigerant passes through a compressor and fan unit to distribute warmth through mounted units or a series of vents. 

How does this differ to other HVAC units? Other systems, such as walled electric heaters, use electricity to generate heating and cooling out of thin air. This artificial process is generally energy intensive and can take longer to take effect. Another major difference is that reverse cycle systems both produce heat in the winter and keep your home cool in the summer.

Rather than investing in separate heating and cooling devices, you can fit out your property with an all-in-one unit that will adapt to any situation. 

Consistent Cooling

The ability to seamlessly “reverse” back and forth between heating and cooling modes is one of the main reasons these systems are so popular. Even in the height of summer, both mounted and ducted units deliver a consistent flow of cool air. Evaporative coolers, on the other hand, tend to struggle when the temperature crosses a certain threshold. In addition, the majority of reverse cycle systems are quiet and non-invasive. 

If you live in Melbourne, you’ll know all too well how unpredictable the climate can be. A cool morning quickly turns to a warm afternoon before you know it. With a reverse cycle air conditioner on hand, temperature control is easier than ever. 

Whether you’re controlling a split system with a remote, adjusting a walled thermostat or managing it all on a smartphone app, you can create a cool and comfortable indoor environment in any weather conditions. 

Answering Common Questions

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s jump into a few of the common questions you may have about reverse cycle air conditioning units. 

Should I Invest in Split Systems or Ducted?

Young Woman Switching On Split System Air Conditioner While Sitting On A Sofa

Reverse cycle technology is available in two major forms – split systems and ducted. Ultimately, the system you need will depend on the size of your property. For example, a split system offers the perfect level of coverage for a small apartment, unit or flat. 

If you own a larger home, an office space, or an industrial warehouse, ducted heating and cooling is a natural choice. Put simply, split systems won’t be able to cover the same amount of zones or create the consistent temperature required. However, there is also the option to invest in multiple split systems. 

Lifespan is another important aspect to consider. Across the board, split systems typically perform at peak capacity for up to 10 years, while ducted systems last around 15 years. As with any product, this will also depend on the brand, make and model you choose. 

Whether you opt for split or ducted, reverse cycle systems consistently offer first-class efficiency. There are also government rebates available for a select list of makes and models to ease the financial burden.

My Home is Always Cold. Should I Invest in a Ducted Reverse Cycle System?

Do you live in a home that’s consistently cold? A ducted reverse cycle system could be the answer. 

As reported by the ABC, a significant amount of Victorian homes have an average temperature well below the recommended guidelines. In turn, this leaves many at risk of health issues and hefty power bills caused by running multiple heating units simultaneously.

Due to their first-class energy efficiency, reverse cycle systems can effectively warm up your entire home without leading to expensive power bills. Thanks to Australia’s star index rating system, gauging the efficiency of each unit is also simple and straightforward. Typically, any model with a rating of 4 and above is a safe bet. 

If you want the ultimate in energy efficiency, there are even newer systems that have achieved remarkable 7-star ratings. While these will come with a larger upfront cost, they also represent excellent value for money in the long haul.

Once a ducted system is installed and ready to go, you can say goodbye to inconsistent temperatures and unbearably cold nights. 

What are the Installation Requirements?

AC technician working on a split system indoor unit

Whether you’re after reverse cycle air conditioning in Mount Waverley, Mitcham or Greenvale, it is important to pick an HVAC system that is compatible with your home or business. Remember, not all properties have the requisite ceiling or floor space to accommodate a network of ducts. You must also have a suitable space for an outdoor unit/condenser. 

Ducted reverse cycle systems are most suitable for new builds and homes or businesses that are currently being renovated. In both instances, HVAC technicians have greater access to the inner workings of the building, making the process much more straightforward.

If you’re unsure and don’t quite know where to start, we recommend contacting a professional as soon as possible. Once on-site, an HVAC technician will assess the property to identify the most appropriate site for installation. From here, you’ll receive a free quote outlining all the costs involved. 

Any reverse cycle installation must be handled by a company with the necessary licenses, training and accreditation. This is not only a requirement in Victoria, but also a wise decision on the part of the buyer. 

What Additional Features Will I Receive?

If this is your first AC investment for some time, you’ll be surprised at just how far heating and cooling technology has come. Modern reverse cycle air conditioning units come with an array of innovative and intuitive features. Here are a few:

    • Quiet Modes: Gone are the days of loud and disruptive heating and cooling systems.
    • Smart Connectivity: Control the temperatures and other features with ease via connected smart devices.
    • Economy Modes: Save money and only use the required features when they are most needed.
    • Advanced Air Purifying: Keep the air fresh, whether you’re heating or cooling the area.

    These are only a snapshot of the many incredible features available today. 

    Speak with a Heating and Cooling Expert

    With so many types of air conditioners available, it can be hard to narrow it down and make a final decision. If everything you’ve read to this point sounds good, the next step is to connect with a reputable heating and cooling company.

    The Absolute Airflow team has over 20 years of experience and remains up-to-date with the latest industry standards. Whether you need reverse cycle air conditioning in Northcote or versatile heating and cooling in Reservoir, our team have the skills to complete a seamless on-site installation.

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