What Is Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning & Should You Get One?

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Curious about what reverse cycle air conditioning is?

What is reverse cycle air conditioning? How do reverse cycle air conditioners work? Is it advisable to get one for my Sunshine Coast home? What kind of reverse cycle AC should I get?

Are you confused or overwhelmed or both? We know buying air conditioners can be a tedious process but fret not, your friendly Sunshine Coast electrician from Walt Electrical is here to help. Read on to learn everything you need to know about reverse cycle air conditioning.

Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning Explained

Simply put, reverse cycle air conditioners are AC units that have both heating and cooling capacities. Like a two-for-one deal, it functions as a typical aircon that cools during summer but can also heat during winter.

Wikipedia defines revese cycle air conditioners as aircon systems that can reverse the refrigeration cycle and act as heat pumps to warm an indoor area. Let’s take a closer look at how reverse cycle AC units work.


Like a traditional aircon unit, reverse cycle systems use a refrigeration cycle to cool an indoor area. The system extracts indoor heat, releases it outside, and pumps refrigerant gas to cool the air that is pumped indoors.


AC units’ heating capacity is basically reversing the refrigeration cycle, that’s how these aircon systems were called reverse cycle air conditioners. Similar with heat pumps, the system draws heat outdoors using a refrigerant, which will be compressed to create the hot air that will be released indoors.

Types of Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners

Now that you know what reverse cycle ACs are, let’s go to the most recommended air conditioners under this category. These are the split and ducted aircon systems.

Split Systems

Split system air conditioning comprise an indoor and outdoor component connected through a vent. It is best used to heat or cool just one room, with the indoor unit fitted on a wall.

Split system reverse cycle air conditioner from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Photo taken from https://mhiaa.com.au/

Ducted Systems

Ducted reverse cycle air conditioning also have indoor and outdoor units, but are best used for larger areas like an entire home or office. The indoor components of ducted ACs are usually placed on ceilings and are connected through ducts that serve as a passageway for conditioned air.

Components of a ducted reverse cycle air conditioner
Photo taken from https://www.mitsubishielectric.com.au/

Other AC Types

Types of Home AC Units

The reverse cycle system also comes in cassette, wall or window-mounted, and multi-head split system air conditioning systems. Check out our blog on the types of air conditioning units for more information on each.

Benefits of Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning

Reverse cycle systems are commonly used in Australia. They are particularly popular in areas like South East Queensland, including the Sunshine Coast, because of humid summers and mild winters. For obvious reasons, having both heating and cooling capacities in one appliance is a huge plus!

Apart from the question of what reverse cycle air conditioning is, you might be wondering what its advantages are so we listed some of it’s biggest benefits.

1. Energy Efficiency

The Australian Energy Foundation said reverse cycle air conditioners are energy efficient because of their heat pump technology, which uses ambient air. According to the foundation, moving ambient air does not require a lot of energy compared with using electric or gas heaters.

Gas and electric heaters use more energy because they produce heat through an internal component, while reverse cycle systems simply use existing heat from ambient air. Energy efficiency labels help buyers know and understand AC units’ energy consumption, but these labels are based on industry standards and not government regulated.

2. Environment Friendly

The Australian government’s Your Home website estimated that gas heaters and energy efficient reverse cycle air conditioners only produce one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions produced from the use of standard electric heaters. Certain brands and models with a 7-star energy rating produce even less than a fifth of standard electric heaters’ greenhouse gas emissions.

3. Cost Effective

Several consumers find buying and installing reverse cycle airconditioners cheaper than getting separate appliances for heating and cooling. It’s one of the most budget-friendly ways to heat and cool indoor spaces.

Apart from savings on purchase and installation costs, running costs related to reverse cycle ACs can also be lower, even for long-term use. Because of its energy efficiency, using aircon units for heating costs less than running an electric heater!

4. Air Purifying Function and Advanced Features

A built-in air purifying function is one of the biggest advantages of getting reverse cycle air conditioning. How it works is through an internal filter that traps airborne particles. Some of these filters can also break down unpleasant odours.

What is reverse cycle air conditioning if not a product of advancing technology? Because of this, AC systems’ features continue to develop. Certain air conditioners now have thermostats and inverter technology. Some even have “smart” technologies and can be integrated into your home automation system.

5. Sleek Design and Less Noise

Depending on the type of AC unit you pick, reverse cycle aircon can be aesthetically pleasing and more comfortable to use because of lower noise levels. Ducted and split system ACs, for example, are known to have these features.

6. Safe and Long-Lasting

Unlike heaters, aircon units remain cool to touch even while operating. They also don’t have exposed heating elements or flames. Generally speaking, reverse cycle ACs are safer to use for heating because of these features.

If used properly and well maintained, reverse cycle air conditioners can last up to 20 years! So if you’re having issues with your AC unit, don’t replace it yet! Check our blog on common electrical problems or contact your trusted local electrician from Walt Electrical for a quick inspection.

Tips in Buying a Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner

Here are some things to consider before buying a reverse cycle AC:

  • Insulate your property – Proper insulation is important to keep homes and workspaces comfortably warm during winter, even with heaters or reverse cycle air conditioning.
  • Know your requirements – Are you buying air conditioning system for one room or your entire house? Do you want an aircon with smart or inverter technology? List down your requirements to make sure you get the right kind and capacity of AC.
  • Research – Even if your already know what reverse cycle air conditioning is, it still helps to research and compare AC brands and models. Check the energy effieciency labels, warranties, and value-added services to make sure you get your money’s worth.

What is the best reverse cycle air conditioning brand?

We encourage customers to do their own research on aircon brands and models, but Walt Electrical highly recommends Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. 

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is a reliable brand in Australia’s aircon industry since 1968, with excellent warranty terms and quality designs built for Australia’s harsh conditions.

Riley Hurlock - Walt Electrical Sunshine Coast

Are you ready to get reverse cycle air conditioning?

Now that you know how reverse cycle air conditioners work, do you think it’s the right AC for you? 

If your answer is YES, call us for a free quotation on air conditioning installation services in the Sunshine Coast. If you remain unsure, call us anyway! Talk to us for any inquiry on air conditioning or if you need more information to fully understand what reverse cycle air conditioning is.

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06:03 03 Sep 20
Riley was fast and efficient. They arrived on time and did a very tidy installation. I would highly recommend him to... friends and family. Thanks heapsread more
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I needed an electrician to come out straight away as the power to my garage doors had stopped working. Riley got here... within 2 hours and fixed the problem really quickly.He was very profession, arrived on time and did great work. Would highly recommend him for any electrical work.read more
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Rhys Obrien
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Riley is very professional and happy to help with anything you put to him. He is very knowledgeable and gives great... advice on which products to use. Very happy with his services and would highly recommend.Rhysread more
Jo Kay
Jo Kay
21:53 28 Feb 20
Riley was very professional and polite. He gave an honest quote for our work and that was the exact price we paid.... There were no unexpected surprises and the quality of his work was excellent Definitely recommend!read more
costa panayi
costa panayi
01:21 21 Feb 20
Riley was an excellent tradesman and great pleasure to deal with. Friendly, professional and an expert on his trade. I... have used his services many times over the years. Had him recently install an air conditioner in my home. Prompt, realiable.hardworking. The installation went really well. He works fast and is tidy. Left my home like no one had been there working. Price wise is rather reasonable. Saved me money. Will be getting him back to. Install another system in the back of home soon. Highly recommended. Thank you riley, my family feel more comfortable now in this heat.read more
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Aeron Bandfield
07:25 30 Dec 19
Riley was amazing and so professional! I needed a 15 amp plug installed ASAP when i had my printer delivered. He... arrived soon after the quote was accepted and got the job done! Will defiantly be calling you again Riley!read more
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