Most of us know what an air conditioner is capable of, especially during those summer months, but is it capable of producing heat? Majority of homes and businesses have air conditioners, but do they require a heat pump along with their air conditioners to stay warm?
Can an air conditioner heat a room or even your home?
While many people invest in an air conditioner to keep their home cool in summer, when the months start getting chilly, we often get asked, “Can I use AC to heat my room in winter?”
Fortunately, most modern air conditioners are designed to heat as well as cool, but this is not always the case. Keep reading to find out more about using an air conditioner for heating, how to tell which type of unit you have, and how cost-effective they can be.
Does air conditioning heat as well as cool?
This depends on the particular unit you have installed in your home. If your AC is also designed to work as a heat pump, then you can use your existing unit to heat your space too. If you’ve got an HVAC system, this also indicates that your aircon has a heating ability.
Is a heat pump an air conditioner and what are the differences?
Older or standard air conditioners can only blow air in one direction. They take cooler air from outside the home, and blow it into the room to bring down the temperature. They usually also feature an evaporator coil, which contains a liquid refrigerant that can bring the temperature down even further. In very warm regions, this is often all that’s needed to create a comfortable environment.
However, many air conditioners also feature a heat pump system. Essentially, this means they can reverse the direction of airflow – in other words, they can also remove cold air from your home, and blow warm air into the room instead. They also use a compressor to further warm the air coming into the space.
What is an air conditioner and heater combo called?
In South Africa, we generally refer to heat pump systems as HVAC systems. HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.
See our full selection of residential heating and cooling air conditioners here.
See our selection of commercial heat pumps and air conditioners here.
How efficient is air conditioning for heating?
Heat pumps are extremely energy-efficient, because they’re able to move warm or cool air from one space to another. Compared with other heating solutions, like a bar, oil, or gas heaters, they use between 3 to 4 times less electricity to achieve the same result. This also makes them very cost-effective, and a great way to bring down your monthly electricity bill.
Heat pumps and HVAC systems also tend to heat the room more evenly than free-standing heaters, and have additional benefits like helping to purify the air. So not only are they better for your wallet, they’re better for you and your loved ones as well.
Do I have a heat pump or air conditioner?
There are two ways to tell whether you have a standalone AC or a heat pump system. The easiest way is just to check the control panel. If there’s a heating mode button on your air conditioner, it’s likely to be a heat pump. Secondly, when you activate heat mode, the outer unit should turn on. If it does, congratulations – you have a fully-fledged heat pump system!
How to put an air conditioner on heat mode to keep cosy
The easiest way to start using your air conditioner for heating is to look for a ‘heat mode’ button. This could be either on the unit itself or on your remote control, and often has a little sun icon.
On more advanced units, you can simply set the thermostat to the temperature you would like, and the air conditioner will automatically switch over to heat pump mode. This is known as an ‘Auto cooling-heating changeover’ feature. Many of our units here at Daikin even have 24-hour and weekly timer functions, so you can pre-set the temperature you’d like your space to be at a certain time.
If you don’t see a heat mode option, then your unit is probably designed for cooling only. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t add on a heat pump or compressor component and convert it into a multipurpose aircon. Speak to one of our consultants for expert advice on the right solution for your needs.