Reverse cycle air conditioners extract heat from the outdoor and transfer it inside. This happens even on the cold winter nights. A refrigerant is passed through an external coil and in this process it absorbs heat from the outside air. This refrigerant is then pumped through a compressor into a fan coil unit that is also called a condenser. This unit is situated in the house and it releases its heat into the inside area.
This is different from most electric heaters which create heat directly using elements which heat up when an electric current passes through them. These so called direct element heaters that include portable heaters, panel converters and off-peak storage heaters have maximum efficiency of 100%. This means that all the electricity is converted to heat and delivered to the room.
Reverse cycle air conditioning units can transfer around 3 units of heat for every unit of electricity that is used to run reverse cycle systems. This means that these are 3 times more efficient that all direct element heaters making them 3 times more efficient to run reducing your energy consumption. As the name suggest, these reverse cycle air conditioners also provide efficient cooling in summer by reversing the flow of this refrigerant.
The advantage of reverse cycle a/c systems becomes clearer and include following points:
– provide both cooling and heating
– are safe as they remain cool to touch at all times and have not exposed elements or flames
– are most economical forms of heating
– have a lifetime of up to 20 years
– filters and dehumidifies the air
A quick run-down of different types of air conditioners reveal following main types of a/c units:
Portable units – as the name suggests, these can be moved from room to room or between different residences. These units are plugged into a normal mains power points and also have a conduit protruding out that is hung outside the open window.
Window or wall units have all their components together in one unit that is permanently mounted through the window or a wall. These are the most affordable types of reverse cycle air conditioners that you can buy.
Split system air conditioners – just like window/wall units, these are also permanently mounted systems, however the compressor unit is located externally and the condenser is placed inside the house.
Ducted air conditioning – this are the most comprehensive means of air conditioning and are designed to provide central heating and cooling to multiple rooms of a house.