To most people, an air conditioner is a unit that keeps the house cool during summer. But you will be surprised to learn that you can also use the same unit to warm your home during the cold of the winter. In fact, the system is extremely efficient and will warm your house within minutes of switching it on. But how does that work? Well, read this guide.
Contrary to what most people may be thinking, it is not complicate set up. In fact, you might not distinguish the unit from the traditional air con. But to know how an air conditioner can be a practical and efficient heating appliance, it is essential that we first understand that the unit work.
How an Air Conditioner Work
A typical air conditioner helps to cool the indoor air during the hot summer. The system is designed with two main heat exchanges: the evaporator and the condenser. Both exchanges are made for several turns of copper tubing covered with fins to enhance heat transfer. The air conditioner evaporator is located inside the room/house while the condenser is located outside.
During the summer season, the evaporator becomes the cooling coil. So we have the air flows over the evaporator, get cooled, and is thrown into the room to produce a cooling effect. The heat absorbed from the air in the room goes to the external atmosphere through the condenser. That is how a typical air conditioner works. So how do you convert the unit into a heating appliance?
How an Air Conditioner Works As A Heater
To convert your air con into a heater or heat pump, you just need to turn it around or reverse the cycle. All you need is to have condenser inside the room and the evaporator outsider. In the modern air conditioning machines, this feature is referred to as the reverse-cycle technology. The technology enables you to switch from an air conditioner to heater. It is important to note that even in the cold season, there is some heat in the air. It is this heat that this air con heater harnesses to warm room instead of converting electricity to heat.
By reversing the cycle, it simply means that the direction of the refrigerant is changed by switching the valve. The condenser automatically becomes the evaporator and vice versa. Once the cycles are reversed, the refrigerant inside the evaporator (located outside the room), absorbs heat from the outdoor air. The heat is deposited inside the room via the condenser. So with the reverse-cycle technology, the coil that was producing a cooling effect during the summer season will produce a heating effect in the winter.
With the advanced technology, you can now buy an air conditioning unit fully equipped with reverse-cycle technology. All you need is to engage the ‘heating mode’ for the system to automatically start heating the house.
Is An Air Conditioner A Practical And Efficient Use For Heating?
The answer is yes. However, it is important to note that not every aircon in the market can help you warm the room automatically. You need to invest in a reverse cycle air conditioning unit. These are units that are specially designed to cool in the summer and warm during the winters automatically. So with this system, you don’t have to worry about the chilly months in Australia anymore.
This kind of air conditioner is super-efficient when it comes to finding ways on how to reduce energy consumption. Unlike the typical heater, it does not produce heat but harnesses heat from the outdoor air. Therefore, the amount of energy you need to keep the room warm is significantly reduced. With this heating unit, you will be spending just a fraction of what you could have used to keep the room warm using a heater.
Why Air Conditioner As A Heat Pump?
Compared to the conventional heater, there are many benefits that are making most Aussies go for the reverse cycle air conditioning unit. Here are 4 main reasons:
1. Cheap in the Long run
These units are economically viable in that they will save you a lot of money in terms of energy bills in the long run. Unlike the conventional heater, these heat pumps do not produce heat but harness natural heat from the outdoor air. Therefore, they consume less energy to heat the house hence cutting electric bills by a huge percentage. Although the initial installation is high, the cost of running the machine, in the long run, is very low.
2. Environmentally Friendly
The second benefit of air conditioners as a heat pump is that they are eco-friendly. They produce a very small amount of greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional heaters. In fact, these units have been found to produce only one-third heat-trapping gases of the standard electric heaters. If you look at some of the reputable brands, they have above a 5-star energy rating.
3. More efficient than plug-in Heaters
Compared to the typical plug-in portable electric heaters which are common to most homes, air conditioning unit heater is much more efficient. The fact that there is no heat produced by the machine is what makes the system more efficient. With this system, you can warm the entire house. That is not the same with a portable heater which warms a single room or a small space.
4. Saves Space and Cost
With a reverse cycle air conditioning unit, you two system in one- cooling and heating system. So by investing in this unit, you will be saving the space that could have been used for a heating system. You also only pay ones for both cooling and warming system hence saving the cost.
So an air conditioner is a practical and efficient way of heating your home during winter. But you should invest in an air conditioning unit equipped with reverse-cycle technology to enjoy both cooling and heating feature from the same unit. Additionally, invest in a quality unit and have it installed by an HVAC specialist.