Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners or Evaporative Ducted Systems: Which is Better?

11 September 2017
 Categories: , Blog

Reverse cycle air conditioners provide both heating for the winter and cooling for the summer. They are a popular choice for many home owners today due to their versatility, but also because of the lower initial cost of having an all-in-one heating and cooling system. Plus, with significant recent improvements in energy efficiency, reverse cycle air conditioners are ideal solutions for large floor spaces and multi-storey homes.

There are two types of reverse cycle air conditioning systems: ducted and split. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice will depend on the home's layout as well as the particular climate that is required.

Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners 

The reverse cycling capability is a recent addition to most ducted air conditioning systems available today. Ducted systems work by distributing heated or cooled air throughout the house via ducts and vents, driven by an indoor and outdoor compressor unit. One main advantage of ducted systems is that the ducts are out of sight, hidden within the roof space or under the floor. Other than the small air vents that are visible against the ceiling or walls, their neat and unobtrusive design blends in easily with the home's décor. In large homes with more than 4 bedrooms, installing a ducted reverse cycle air conditioning system is more cost effective than having multiple split systems installed.

Split System Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners

As with ducted systems, reverse cycling capability is a part of most modern split system air conditioning systems. Split systems consist of a compressor and a number of wall units known as fan coils. Each air conditioned room needs its own wall unit installed, which is a simple process. However, the units are completely visible within the room; whilst this may be considered a disadvantage, some of the newer split systems have sleeker designs and come in a range of colours. Split systems are most suited to medium sized homes with 3 or 4 bedrooms.

Evaporative or Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners?

Unlike reverse cycle systems, evaporative air conditioners cool the air through the natural process of evaporation, as warmer air is drawn in from the room and passed through water soaked pads. Ducts then distribute the cooler air throughout the home. The advantage of evaporative ducted systems is that they consume very little power and are very inexpensive to run. Also, the cooled air from these systems is more natural and humid, unlike the refrigerated air from reverse cycle air conditioners. The main disadvantage of evaporative systems is that they do not provide heating at all, which requires a separate solution.