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Ask RiotACT: Do reverse cycle heating units work ok in Canberra?

By mtrax - 27 October 2016 32

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I’m looking to switch to all electric ie disconnect my gas, so looking for pros and cons of reverse cycle heating systems.

I hear some systems go into a de-icing cycle often when temperature goes below zero, but not sure if that’s indicative of all systems?

Also the efficiency drops with the temperature but does this mean they are still efficient averaged over the winter?

What’s Your opinion?


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32 Responses to
Ask RiotACT: Do reverse cycle heating units work ok in Canberra?
1
wildturkeycanoe 6:43 am
27 Oct 16
#

We put reverse cycle AC in after our first winter gas bill and had paid off the purchase with our first year’s energy savings. They work fine, are cheap to run and cool as well as heat. Sure it defrosts occasionally but you won’t suffer a bout of icy air while it does so. At least with r/c a/c you can offset costs with solar power, gas just drains your bank account.

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2
dungfungus 8:45 am
27 Oct 16
#

I agree with wildturkeycanoe comments.

Within 10 years, domestic-solar battery arrays will allow you to be permanently “off-grid” so it makes sense to have everything electric and that includes heat-pump hot water which will work well in Canberra with the de-icing chip.

Ensure you have reverse cycle (cooling) with the heat-pump heating unit.

Anyhow, with the CSIRO and the BOM both hitting the headlines today about impending doom because Australia’s temperature has risen 1 degree in the past 100 years the matter of heating the home becomes academic.

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3
darkmilk 9:42 am
27 Oct 16
#

Yes they work OK here but all of them have to do de-icing cycles to work when it’s near 0. When it gets to -6 the ones I’ve used struggle but do still heat a bit between long de-ice cycles.

Some brands/models come in tropical versions and non-tropical which affects whether they’re rated to work below 0, make sure you’re getting one that is able to do de-icing.

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4
Deref 11:21 am
27 Oct 16
#

Our ducted Fujutsu unit has been brilliant. Warms the place nicely in winter and cools it delightfully in summer. One of the best investments I’ve ever made. :-)

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5
Lurker2913 7:55 pm
27 Oct 16
#

darkmilk said :

When it gets to -6 the ones I’ve used struggle but do still heat a bit between long de-ice cycles.

When does it get to negative six degrees in Canberra? If it got that cold and the air conditioning stopped, I think I would set something on fire.

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6
Sanitair Canberra No 9:33 pm
27 Oct 16
#

I spoke with a client recently who has gas heating and split systems for cooling. He advised he now runs the split systems all year due to the saving he gained from not using the gas system for heating.

I hope this helps

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7
dungfungus 8:10 am
28 Oct 16
#

Lurker2913 said :

darkmilk said :

When it gets to -6 the ones I’ve used struggle but do still heat a bit between long de-ice cycles.

When does it get to negative six degrees in Canberra? If it got that cold and the air conditioning stopped, I think I would set something on fire.

I think that should be +6 actually. That’s when my system ices up and then defrosts. It’s not a problem.

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8
Nilrem 12:25 pm
28 Oct 16
#

Sanitair Canberra North said :

I spoke with a client recently who has gas heating and split systems for cooling. He advised he now runs the split systems all year due to the saving he gained from not using the gas system for heating.

I hope this helps

Does anyone know if a split cycle electric system can use existing gas ducts?

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9
mtrax 1:08 pm
28 Oct 16
#

Nilrem said :

Sanitair Canberra North said :

I spoke with a client recently who has gas heating and split systems for cooling. He advised he now runs the split systems all year due to the saving he gained from not using the gas system for heating.

I hope this helps

Does anyone know if a split cycle electric system can use existing gas ducts?

I believe it can, but may need to be cut slightly bigger in places, however the ducting might need to be replaced to handle heating/cooling

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10
mtrax 1:17 pm
28 Oct 16
#

thanks for the feedback, we have cut our GAS line so will take the plunge, just need to look at what brands and models would be best suited to the Canberra climate.

As the the question about -6 didn’t we get a -7 in Jun last year, so I definitely don’t want my heating to struggle when temps drop below zero.

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11
montana 1:43 pm
28 Oct 16
#

im surprised that the comments are saying reverse AC will work fine in Canberra during Winter. Ive found that it struggles for that 1 month in Winter or so when temps reach anywhere below 3 degrees in the mornings. Some mornings when it is -3 outside, it’s not even worth switching it on because all you will get is coldish air coming out before it freezes up. By the time you go to work, the house has barely warmed up by 1 degree. In the evenings you need to set the timer to switch on about 90 minutes before you get home otherwise your house wont be warm enough. Whilst reverse cycle works in the winter evenings, it works very slowly. Also there’s no way you can get your house above 23 degrees during Winter. It’s real a strange concept that a heater doesnt work well when it gets too cold but that is the reality of reverse cycle.

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12
mtrax 2:57 pm
28 Oct 16
#

just curious if you start RC earlier in morning will it work? and are some RC units better than others as there seems to be some mixed opinion.

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13
Masquara 4:03 pm
28 Oct 16
#

Are you sure it is wise to disconnect from the gas? During the SA blackout , people with gas could still cook and shower… The gas supply is far less vulnerable to disasters.

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14
montana 4:14 pm
28 Oct 16
#

Even if you start it earlier in the morning, it wont make any difference. Lets say its minus 3 outside, the AC will run, but the air going into the house wont be sufficiently warm enough to heat your house. Then after 15 minutes the AC will freeze up and enter the defrosting mode. It will take at least another 15 minutes for the AC to de-ice and start running again, which by then the house has lost any heat it built up and also the air coming out will be cold again anyways. The only way to wake up to a warm house is to leave the AC running all night and it might manage to keep the temps up (though ive never tried this) On cold winter mornings the best you can do is just wait for the sun to come out and the fog to clear before even bothering to turning the reverse AC on. Even the manual says when it’s really cold, the reverse AC will be inefficent and it suggests using a different heater instead, (such as electric fan, element or oil column heater)

if we lived in sydney the reverse AC would work just fine as it doesn’t get that cold at night.

im not sure if theres much difference between brands, as they all work on the same heat pump principle

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15
arescarti42 8:17 pm
28 Oct 16
#

A modern, good quality, correctly sized and installed reverse cycle AC/heater will have no problem in any temperature you’ll experience in Canberra. Daikin, Panasonic and Mitsubishi are good brands, others can be a bit hit and miss.

Most units will need to de-ice from time to time when it gets really cold, but if the unit is correctly sized it won’t be a problem.

Efficiency will drop with temperature, but will still be cost effective compared to gas, particularly if you’re not paying for a gas connection.

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