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Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning Customer Guide 2024

By Victor /

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Updated 12.13.2023

People more often think about buying a reverse cycle air conditioner in the summer. During the hot season, it is easy to forget about heating in the winter months. Nevertheless, it is better to take this nuance into account in advance. Air conditioning with heating function is the most profitable solution. 
Most regions of Australia have seasonal temperature fluctuations. Even living in a mild climate, people face night frosts. In some areas, increased humidity is added to temperature differences, in others, too dry air is a problem. Excessive dust leads to additional stress on the lungs. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Reverse cycle air conditioners provide both heating and cooling from a single system by reversing the refrigeration cycle. This makes them more efficient than separate AC and heater units.
  • They extract heat from outside air even at low temps like -15C, providing effective heating at higher efficiency than electric heaters.
  • Benefits include lower energy use, fewer emissions, quiet operation, and flexibility to switch between heating and cooling modes.
  • Split systems have an indoor unit on the wall for one room. Ducted systems connect to ductwork to distribute air.
  • Look for energy efficiency ratings like EER and SEER when choosing a unit. Smart controls and modes also impact efficiency.
  • Leading brands for reverse cycle systems include Daikin, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Toshiba and Hitachi. Prices range from affordable to premium.
  • Regular maintenance like cleaning filters, condenser coils and fans helps keep these systems running efficiently. Leave complex internal maintenance to professionals.
  • Consult installation experts to ensure your unit is correctly sized and configured for optimal comfort and efficiency in your home.

What is a reverse cycle air conditioner? Externally, these climatic devices do not differ much from each other. Outward connection of completing knots is also standard for these devices. And about the work it is possible to note the same. But the split-system of the reverse cycle kind is considered a more modern device with constant work. In order to be convinced, whether it is not an advertising trick, it is necessary to analyze all the functions of these reverse cycle devices.

About reverse cycle air conditioner 

The basis of any air conditioner is a compressor, as it has to be responsible for promotion of the refrigerant along the main pipes and appliances. To understand what has changed with the appearance of reverse cycle conditioners it is necessary to compare the principle of work of a compressor of each of these systems.

How standard split-system works

When the air conditioner without a reverse cycle is on, the sensor of the internal module controls the temperature in the room. As soon as it reaches the parameters set by you, a relay is triggered and gives a command to switch on the compressor.

The unit, in turn, begins to work at full power, quickly bringing coolness. When it reaches a certain reading on the thermometer, it shuts off.

When the temperature rises to the desired value on the thermometer, the sensor activates again, giving the command to the relay, which turns on the compressor motor and the cycle repeats again.

How reverse cycle air conditioner works

Let's consider how a reverse cycle air conditioner works? When the split-system is on, the sensor of the indoor unit also controls the temperature in the room and “compares" it with the set parameters. When the set temperature is reached, the temperature sensor triggers, transmits a command to the relay and to the compressor motor.

The unit also begins to work at 100% load, quickly cools the air in the room, but then does not turn off completely. A climate control unit with a reverse cycle does not need to cool the entire volume of air in the room again each time, it only blows out a certain amount to create the desired temperature.

Of course, this ability of the air-handling unit is an advantage, since energy costs are reduced, drafts disappear, and the noise level is reduced many times over. The undoubted advantage of reverse cycle air conditioners is that the compressor continues to work continuously in the set temperature range at 10-95% of its capacity.

Advantage of reverse cycle split systems 

When choosing a reverse cycle or conventional air conditioner, you need to fully understand the difference between them.

The motor of the reverse cycle air conditioner adjusts to the pulse of temperature change in the room and automatically selects the optimal power range with the lowest power consumption. Besides, revolutions of the impeller of the fan are changed, which noticeably decreases noise level and creates more comfortable operation of the device.

To define which conditioner is better, a reverse cycle or a usual one, you should understand that absence of frequent starts of the engine at compressor prolongs the term of this appliance exploitation. On the average it is able to serve for 15-18 years, when similar inverterless units work according to statistics 6-8 years.

These reverse cycle air conditioners have distinctions for minimum, medium and high capacity. Unlike non-reverse cycle units, the marginal capacity is some margin of power, usually, this is around 20%. Accordingly, due to this, the air conditioner will manage to reach the set mode of cooling or heating in the room faster.

Influence of reverse cycle on the noise level and power consumption

reverse cycle split-systems have different structure in comparison with standard air-conditioners. In it the compressor works from a DC motor. Control module in split-systems converts direct current into alternating current of specified frequency. This process is called inversion.

Such transformation allows changing the speed of the compressor motor in a wide range, and accordingly, the creation of coolness and heat. The power of the motor is regulated simply by changing the voltage: more voltage – the rotation of the motor shaft increases.

Accordingly, the movement of refrigerant from the compressor is accelerated. And vice versa, the voltage decreases – motor speed decreases and the speed of freon on pipes decreases. In the standard device, however, a compressor with an AC motor is used, and its power is regulated only by switching the motor on or off.

It turns out that the reverse cycle device is designed to change the standard frequency of the electric network. There is an integrated control board in the device, which regulates the operation of the unit. It is located in the outdoor module and regulates a number of switching of the device.

Consequently, conditioners with inverters have a compressor that moves the refrigerant always when the split-system is switched on in a cooling mode (at that its speed is sometimes more and sometimes less). This has three important advantages:

  • No motor starting torque.
  • Possibility of smooth regulation of cool air movement.
  • the reverse cycle air conditioner in an apartment works in the created mode.

As a result of the first advantage, a split-system consumes about 20-25% less energy than a classical climatic device. The second point indicates that the compressor of the reverse cycle air conditioner works in the range of 0,5-1˚C (and the range of standard split-systems is 1-5˚C).

The third advantage is a quieter operation of the air conditioner. Thanks to this mode, the air conditioner works quietly and it is often used in sleeping rooms at night. At the same time it switches to economical mode with slow rotation of the fan impeller. reverse cycle wall-mounted conditioners of Hitachi especially correspond to this setting.

Advantage and disadvantages of reverse cycle split-systems in comparison with usual ones

Of course, such climatic equipment has its advantages and disadvantages. The basic distinctive advantage of reverse cycle conditioners is the fact that they have no limitations in the process of their work. Traditional devices are produced by the producers for not more than 8 hours a day.

Besides this, conditioner with an reverse cycle has the following advantages:

  • Smooth operation of the unit. During the use of this device there will not be overloads in the power grid. After all, as you know, at the moment of starting the motor, a peak load is created for the whole network in the house. Accordingly, their absence gives energy savings of up to 40%, so the climatic device is considered an economical device
  • Small range of temperature indexes. Conditioner of this type precisely maintains the set temperature. Comfortable blowing by air stream: during work a soft air stream is coming out strictly in the set temperature range. It limits much the probability of colds (as it happens at use of the usual analogue).
  • The minimum noise level (18-22 dB) permits the use of this apparatus even at night time (the noise level of usual apparatus is 30-33 dB).
  • Long term of operation.
  • Heating of the premises in a cold season. Possibility for a reverse cycle air conditioner to heat a room at a street temperature going down to 25 degrees.

There are also disadvantages of reverse cycle air conditioners:

  • The electronic circuits of these units respond to voltage fluctuations and can burn out if there are sudden spikes.
  • Soft thermoregulation is not suitable for all rooms. They are good for bedrooms and children's rooms, but not suitable for hotels, offices, where doors are constantly open. And since this changes the air exchange, the air conditioner is simply not able to regulate in the right mode all the time.
  • High cost. Perhaps, the most powerful counter-argument. Not every average person can afford such a purchase.

How to choose reverse cycle air conditioning

Split-system is a perfect variant to get rid of summer heat and to form a comfortable microclimate in the house in any season. On the market of climatic equipment is established sale of reverse cycle air conditioners from different manufacturers.

In order not to make a mistake when choosing this expensive air conditioner, you should know the parameters of these devices. First of all, you need to pay attention, of course, to the power and quietness of the unit.

Noiselessness. In the passport to the device, as a rule, this parameter is indicated for the indoor and outdoor unit. Of course, the noise index of the first unit is more significant, since it is located in the room. Thus noiselessness is expressed in decibels and should be shown on a plate of a conditioner at the level of 22-24 dB.

This noise is almost invisible during the daytime. Split-system by definition makes less noise than any other system consisting of two units. At night time there are less extraneous noises and noise from the running air conditioner is more noticeable.

Therefore, it is recommended when choosing a model in the bedroom to choose it with a “night mode". This function gives an opportunity to reduce noise in some split-systems up to 18-21dB.

Power. There is a peculiarity of these devices when choosing the capacity. Let's say the unit has 2 kW power, but you should not take this figure as a valid one. The desired capacity and the power consumption are different characteristics.

Usually, the power to create coolness is about three times the power consumed. This means that if the calculations yielded a capacity of 2 kW, the power consumption will be about 700 watts. Excessive capacity is also undesirable, as it will lead to unnecessary energy consumption and financial costs.

Location. While choosing which reverse cycle split-system or monoblock to choose, the peculiarities of the premise are very important. The outdoor unit can be mounted on the wall, roof or foundation. And the indoor unit is placed on the floor, wall and even behind suspended ceilings. Where it is impossible to install a wall-mounted unit, your choice can be made on a mobile (floor-mounted) reverse cycle air conditioner.

Installation. Installing such expensive reverse cycle models of air conditioners, you should pay due attention to the choice of installers. It is recommended to apply to the same company (if it is possible) where you bought this unit, because they are fully responsible for installation and work of this conditioner.

Additional features of reverse cycle systems

Efficiency is greatly influenced by many additional modes, which present reverse cycle devices are equipped with:

  • Apartment heating during the off-season.
  • Air purification.
  • Air ionization.
  • Room ventilation.

Choosing a split-system by modes, you need to understand what this or that function gives you. Keep in mind that the more appliances that have all sorts of additional modes, the more expensive it will be.

Preventive maintenance of reverse cycle air conditioning

If you use the air conditioner for a long time, dust and grease will accumulate on its elements. This applies to the radiator, filters, fans and other parts inside the case. As a consequence, harmful to human health microorganisms are formed in these places, which are carried along with the air.

Deposition of dirt has a negative effect on the operation of all equipment, which requires cleaning of accessories and making elementary preventive repairs of the machine. If this is not done, then after a while the air exchange will noticeably deteriorate, the load on the device and the electrical network will increase.

In addition, on the casing of the outdoor unit, located in the street, fluff, leaves, which change the work of the heat exchanger, and deteriorates the procedure of transformation of the refrigerant. Thus, independently, when servicing such climate control equipment, you can clean or change dirty filters, the condenser (heat exchanger) from dust and fluff, the fan from deposits of a greasy layer.

All these works are prescribed in the manual of this unit. The rest of the preventive maintenance should be left to specialists from the service center. In order to fully perform the scope of work, it is necessary to have experience in maintenance, as well as – special tools and equipment.

To avoid incorrect maintenance and possible health hazards, the best option is to entrust the process to professionals. It will save you energy, time and danger.

Choosing the Best reverse cycle air conditioning

Many buyers are interested in the question of which split system to choose. The constantly increasing demand for precise and economical air conditioners has led to the wide assortment of these devices from the producers of the climatic equipment. The variety of trade brands complicates the choice for buyers, so you need to characterize such models in more detail.

Daikin. This popular company makes the technique worthy of trust. Although the devices of this firm have a laconic design, at the same time they have a variety of modes and this is their main advantage.

Mitsubishi. The Mitsubishi goods do not need advertisement – split-systems with reverse cycle of this producer will be a perfect choice for the buyers. They possess a stylish design and perfect build quality.

Panasonic. Devices of this firm show the quality of premium equipment. With a wide range of features, ultra-reliable devices will be suitable for a variety of customer categories.

Toshiba. This firm was the first to develop and introduce the production of modern air conditioners, which apply the principle of inversion, and that means that these products deserve special treatment from the consumers.

Hitachi. Another firm, which is well-known to consumers. It produces both the household products and the powerful devices for the production.

More efficiency with reverse cycle air conditioning

The reverse cycle air conditioning system allows you to change modes with the touch of a button on the remote control. This solution saves space. People do not need to install two types of equipment.

Reverse cycle air conditioners are also more energy-efficient compared to standard heaters. Read about all the benefits later in this article.

Winter heating with reverse cycle air conditioning

A conventional electric or gas heater generates thermal energy from scratch. It takes a lot of time. A large amount of natural resources is also consumed. In addition to not very high efficiency, users of this type of equipment are forced to agree to high operating costs.

A reverse cycle air conditioner operates in a completely different way. The system collects heat from the outside air and pumps it into the room. Air undergoes additional filtration. It does not mean that heating is possible only at a favorable temperature outside. The mechanism works like this:

  • The refrigerant passes through an external coil and absorbs heat from the outside air
  • The same refrigerant is pumped through the compressor into the fan coil inside the house
  • Heat is generated in the room

Modern models can effectively heat homes at -15 ֯ C outdoor temperature.

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Reverse cycle air conditioning: kill two birds with one stone

When it comes to choosing home appliances, it is always preferable to buy a machine that can perform several functions. The term reverse cycle implies that one piece of equipment can carry out two opposite operations. In other words, it can cool the indoor air in summertime and warm it up in winter. So you get cooling and heating equipment by installing just one electric device. It is a great option for our climate zone where summer is hot and long, but winter is short and mild.

How can one system perform two different functions?

A reverse cycle air conditioning is deliberately designed to operate in two modes. Besides standard cooling function, it can carry out a reverse operation by heating the surrounding air. By inverting the refrigeration cycle, this device provides both types of air conditioning. Altering the cooling process into heating is performed by a built-in inventor. That is why they use such labels as inventor or non-inventor, the latter meaning that the unit performs cooling operation only. When used in heating mode, the inventor reverses the cycle in both components of the system:

  • the indoor evaporator coil performs as a condenser coil and emits heat,
  • the outdoor condenser functions as the evaporator and releases cold air outward.

Moreover, reverse cycle systems have several advantages besides standard cooling and heating options.

Pros of implementing reverse cycle system

Reverse cycle air conditioning efficiency

When choosing an air conditioner, the primary criterion that comes to mind is its energy consumption. With long and hot summers in our region, cooling the air inside the premises can considerably affect electricity bills. Reverse cycle system provides efficient use of electricity by producing three kW of desired effect consuming only one kW of energy regardless of which mode is used. Furthermore, modern models have many useful settings that allow noticeably reduce energy consumption whenever it is possible.

Reverse cycle air conditioning adaptability and flexibility

Thanks to a built-in thermostat and smart technology, you can customize indoor air conditions as needed. A whole range of settings allows choosing not only the temperature and the fan's speed but also gives control over energy usage and the indoor air humidity. The system can dehumidify the air with dry function and decrease energy usage with economy function. The latter can either regulate the thermostat by a few degrees or using a built-in sensor to detect the presence of people in the room and reduce the production of cool or heat accordingly.

Air purifying function provides a healthy environment

Some split type systems have air filters that efficiently trap undesired particles, thus reducing dust in the air. The more advanced models can even eliminate unpleasant odors by decomposing them and absorb harmful particles such as bacteria and viruses. These features provide comfortable air conditions for those who suffer from various allergies and asthma.

Reverse cycle air conditioning noiselessness

Another factor that deserves consideration while choosing an air condition system is how much noise it produces when in use. Keeping that in mind, some manufactures of reverse cycle systems employ advanced technologies that significantly decrease humming sound across the system components.


There are two advantages to utilizing a reverse cycle system as a means of heating. Though electric heaters are inexpensive, they are not efficient from the energy consumption point of view. So, in the long run, they become expensive to operate. Using an air conditioner as a heater, on the contrary, considerably saves energy. The second benefit of implementing a reverse cycle system is the lessened amount of greenhouse gas emitted into the air. It yields only one-third of harmful emissions produced by a typical electric heater.

What is the difference between split and ducted systems?

The only distinction between these two types of reverse cycle system is your intention. If you intend to set up a climate control in one room, the split type air conditioner is a reasonable option. In this case, the indoor component of the system is placed on one of the walls, which in turn, will discharge hot or cold air inside that room only. If you intend to equip the entire house or several zones of the building with climate control, then duct type system is preferable. In that case, the indoor component is installed in the roof space, which in turn, will pump the desired type of air into several vents located in the ceiling duct across the house.

Need help or advice?

If you wish to stay comfortably cool in summer and enjoy pleasant heat in winter, it is recommended to consult with specialists before buying and installing such equipment. Professional assistance ensures that all your expectations and desires are fulfilled. Picking up the right air conditioning system can be challenging.

Reach out, and our experts will offer a solution that won’t cost you a fortune and at the same time will cover all your needs for comfort and optimal energy consumption.


What is reverse cycle?

Air conditioner with heating and cooling function, allows you to switch modes with one button. In heater mode, the reverse cycle extracts heat from the outside air and draws it into the room.

What's the difference between split system and reverse cycle?

The reverse cycle is an air conditioner with a heating function. A split system is a type of air conditioner. Split systems can be either with a reverse cycle or without it.

How does reverse cycle work?

A reverse cycle air conditioner draws in heat from the outside air to heat the air inside. This approach is more energy efficient than traditional heaters.

Is reverse cycle heating efficient?

A split system with a reverse cycle has an efficiency of 300–600%. Ducted systems are not as efficient as wall units because a larger fan is used and energy is lost through the ducts.

How does a reverse cycle air conditioner work?

A reverse cycle air conditioner works by using a refrigeration cycle to cool or heat air. It uses a compressor, a condenser, and an evaporator to cycle refrigerant between gaseous and liquid states. In cooling mode, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the inside air and expels it outside, thereby cooling the room. In heating mode, the process is reversed: the unit absorbs heat from the outside air and releases it inside the room, even in relatively cold outside temperatures. The ability to reverse the cycle is what gives the unit its name.

What does reverse cycle mean?

“Reverse cycle" refers to the ability of an air conditioning unit to reverse its refrigeration cycle. This enables it to provide both cooling and heating from the same unit. In the cooling mode, the unit absorbs heat from the room and expels it outside. In the heating mode, it absorbs heat from the outside air and releases it inside, effectively heating the room.

What is a reverse cycle air conditioner?

A reverse cycle air conditioner is an air conditioning unit that has the ability to both cool and heat a room. It does this by reversing its refrigeration cycle. During summer months, it can be used to cool your home by removing heat from inside and expelling it outside. During winter, the process is reversed, allowing the unit to absorb heat from the outside air and release it inside your home.

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    Air Conditioning certified specialist in Sydney, Australia. Victor is a highly skilled and certified air conditioning specialist based in Sydney, Australia. With over 15 years of experience in the HVAC industry, John has become an expert in the installation, maintenance, and repair of various air conditioning systems, including split systems, ducted systems, and multi-head units. John began his journey in the HVAC field after completing a comprehensive apprenticeship program and obtaining his trade certificate. He then worked with several reputable air conditioning companies in Sydney, honing his skills and gaining valuable insights into the industry. In 2010, Victor received his Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Council (ARC) certification, further solidifying his status as a trusted professional in the field.