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Australia is one of the places blessed with the best climates in the world. In this country, you can enjoy long summers and many people look forward to the comparatively mild winters each year.

Although people use different air conditioners in Australia, reverse cycle air conditioners appear purpose-built for Australian conditions. These air conditioners can effectively keep your home cool in summer and warm during winter.

It is such an energy-efficient unit that you will notice a remarkable difference in energy consumption by using one in your home or office. If it has ever interested you to discover how reverse cycle air conditioning works, this is a must-read post for you. Read on!

What is Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning?

Reverse cycle air conditioning systems, also commonly known as heat pumps, are dual-purpose appliances because they can be used for cooling and heating your home. Many refer to them as the ultimate year-round climate systems. While conventional heating and cooling systems ‘create’ energy, reverse-cycle air conditioners absorb outdoor air.

The air that is so absorbed is cooled or heated by refrigerant gas before it is pumped inside. Essentially, this has proven to be a more energy-efficient climate control approach.

How Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning Works

When a reverse-cycle air conditioner absorbs air, it filters and dehumidifies it. This air is used for heating your home during winter and cooling it during summer. The entire process can be summarised into the following stages to show how the appliance works.


During the cold months of winter, the reverse cycle system absorbs heat from the air outside your home. Interestingly, it doesn’t have to be warm outside before the unit can do this conveniently. If a reverse-cycle air conditioner has an automatic defrost cycle, it can heat your home effectively.

This is even possible when the temperature outside gets as low as 15 degrees Celsius.

If you set your reverse cycle system to ‘heat’, its refrigerant gas will pass through an external coil and absorb heat from the outside air. After that, the air is pumped by a compressor into a condenser.

The refrigerant warms up when it is compressed, and the hot air gets pumped by a fan into the room. When this process is completed, the refrigerant will flow through another evaporator to cool it down before it gets pumped back into the condenser. The cycle is re-initiated and continues as long as the appliance remains switched on.


It doesn’t take more than a flick of a switch for a reverse-cycle air conditioner to start operating in cool mode. As the process is reversed, the unit begins to absorb heat directly from the air inside your home.

When this air is pumped out of your home, it makes it cooler. With modern reverse-cycle air conditioners, homes with temperatures as high as 46 degrees Celsius can be cooled down rapidly.

Ducted Reverse Cycle Vs Split Systems

Ducted and split system air conditioners use reverse cycle technology to create that year-round comfort we all need in our homes. The main things you must consider before deciding whether to buy a split or ducted reverse-cycle air conditioner include your aesthetic preferences and the installation cost.

However, there are some more clear differences between these two air conditioners that are also worthy of consideration.

Ducted air conditioners

One good point to remember, especially if you are making air conditioning plans on a budget, is that ducted air conditioners are known for their high costs and are the most expensive reverse cycle systems.

Part of the reason for this higher cost is that they need ducting and vents connected to all the rooms where you want to be cooled or heated. However, it is possible to have a whole-home cooling system in one system. With each vent, you can conveniently heat a room with an area of 80m2.

Split system

Split system air conditioners are made of indoor and outdoor units. The indoor split system unit contains the condenser and evaporator, while the outdoor unit houses the compressor. These two units stay connected through the piping that carries the refrigerant gas.

In case you are interested in using the air conditioner only as a heater, installing the outdoor unit closer to the floor is better as this makes a more efficient operation possible.

However, if you would like to use the system for cooling and heating, it will be necessary to have the outdoor unit installed higher up the wall. Split systems can be used to provide cooling and heating in a room up to 100m2.

Features in Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning

Reverse cycle air conditioners effectively ensure comfortable temperatures throughout the year and are extremely efficient appliances at home or in the office. Apart from these, many models offer more features for users, such as purifying the air quality and other ones as listed below:


With this feature, the space where the air conditioner is installed can be kept cool. The appliance works to remove the heat indoors by transferring it outdoors.


The dry feature keeps the indoor space cool, although not exactly like it does while in the cooling mode. When in this mode, the appliance dehumidifies the indoor air.


Most air conditioner owners will attest that these appliances increase their electricity bills. However, when you use reverse-cycle air conditioners, you can get a reasonable reduction in your electricity bills.


This feature is meant for heating the room. The appliance can provide hot air inside a room when the outdoor unit works with the indoor unit.


The thermostat feature allows you to set the room temperature according to your preference. When this feature is used, it adjusts the appliance’s output accordingly.


You can use this feature to select the correct mode to maintain the temperature in a room automatically.

Sleep mode

With this feature, you can adjust the temperature even while you sleep. The appliance achieves this in steps and is an excellent feature that keeps you comfortable throughout the night.

Pros and Cons of Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning

You can enjoy the advantages and benefits when using reverse-cycle air conditioning. However, there are disadvantages to using this air conditioning system too, but since the advantages far outweigh them, buying one could be an intelligent decision. This is one of the reasons most people in Australia prefer reverse-cycle air conditioners.


  • They are environmentally friendly appliances and very energy-efficient compared to other air conditioning systems.
  • Since they have a range of configurations and features, they are adaptable systems that can suit the needs of your home or office.
  • You can use a single reverse-cycle air conditioner unit to cool or heat your entire home.
  • They are safer to use than stand-alone heaters.
  • They are very durable, and if properly maintained, they can last for several years.
  • You are not hot to touch even when used, as they have no exposed flames or elements.
  • They can run quietly and produce minimal noise, making them suitable for areas such as study rooms where tranquillity is needed.


  • Buying one of these appliances for your home or office means you will be recording an increasing cost of electricity.    
  • If there is a power outage where you have installed the appliance, there will also be a loss of cooling and heating.

Consult with an HVAC Expert

Since there are different air conditioning system options in the market, you can quickly get confused and end up with one that does not fit your needs. Even if you have decided to buy a reverse cycle air conditioner, the best approach is to talk with a professional HVAC first.

These people can help you determine the correct size of air conditioner for your home or office, the best energy-efficient brands, and help you with the air conditioning installation process.

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