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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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Ask RiotACT: Do reverse cycle heating units work ok in Canberra?
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JC 4:25 pm 25 Nov 16

chrisi said :

I got rid of gas 3 years ago and I’ve saved hundreds of dollars.
No more gas bills during the warmer months were the service/access charges were more than the actual use!

I have a Daikin ducted reverse cycle and love it! There are comments in this thread saying they never get to -6… which is puzzling because I distinctly remember a few -6 nights this past winter. The Daikin didn’t miss a beat. We have young children and have the heater on pretty much 24/7 during winter to ensure a comfortable inside temp during the night for them.

Induction cooking is also far superior btw. I haven’t missed gas at all.

Running 24/7 is why you won’t have much issue with freezing. If you were to turn it off or down really low overnight then in the morning when you turn it on it would have to work extra hard to warm up, which in turn would lead to freezing of the coil and the subsequent freeze/defrost cycles.

By keeping it constant when it is running it won’t be running as hard, meaning the coil won’t get as cold and it won’t freeze as easily. And if (when) it did you wouldn’t notice it as much anyway.

chrisi 12:26 pm 25 Nov 16

I got rid of gas 3 years ago and I’ve saved hundreds of dollars.
No more gas bills during the warmer months were the service/access charges were more than the actual use!

I have a Daikin ducted reverse cycle and love it! There are comments in this thread saying they never get to -6… which is puzzling because I distinctly remember a few -6 nights this past winter. The Daikin didn’t miss a beat. We have young children and have the heater on pretty much 24/7 during winter to ensure a comfortable inside temp during the night for them.

Induction cooking is also far superior btw. I haven’t missed gas at all.

Veronicajer 12:20 pm 08 Nov 16

Good point. It totally depends on the unit you are getting and how you get it done. I have early morning shifts and have to take my kids with me. They are 3 and 2 so you can imagine what a nightmare that would be if the temperature was freezing. I get up at 4 usually and turn it on before a shower, and once im back in like 15 minutes, it is well heated. I have no complaints. You should probably speak to whoever you are getting it done by, else you can go to Nick from Southern aircon. That is where I got it done. They did a great job-
Here is his number- 0401 317 694 and his website – https://southernaircon.com.au Highly recommend their work.

JimCharles said :

montana said :

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

I disagree with this. Our house gets down to about 8 degrees inside when it’s well below freezing outside in mid-winter.
We have two split systems at either end of the house, we set the timer to come on at 6am and the thermostat to 18 which it reaches in about 10 minutes without fail; certainly warm enough to have breakfast, get ready for work and get out.
Surely it depends on the efficiency of the unit, how old it is, and how long your house can hold the heat for?
We were very sceptical about using these hot air blowers for heating after coming from a country with gas-powered hydronic central heating radiators in every house, but’s been a lot better than we expected in winter.

MERC600 2:07 pm 01 Nov 16

ns said :

I had Daikin reverse cycles put in about 7 years back and my only regret is that I didn’t invest in them earlier. I found them to be both cost-effective, efficient and a huge improvement over the ancient electric systems in my house which barely heated the place up. The ability to control the temperature for different rooms was also a plus.

I don’t know if I’m missing something, but I’ve never heard of a de-icing issue. Have I just been lucky? I’ve always been diligent with cleaning filters and regular servicing and have never had an issue either during below freezing temperatures or on insanely hot Canberra days.

Even though I had 4 units put in (3 smaller units for each of the bedrooms and a larger unit for the living space), I only had one outdoor unit. It can be done if you get a clever and creative installer. I had every Daikin rep come out to give me a quote and only one came up with the goods (and at a cheaper quote to everyone else) – Bell-Air. I’d recommend them unreservedly (if only for their can-do attitude and creativity).

I was originally set on ducted, but had a mate who installs ducted systems for a living nix the idea because I have a two-storey townhouse. He said I’d always struggle with getting the right temperature balance across the two levels. His advice was that ducted worked better on single level homes.

I also had Daikins installed about 7 years ago ( or was it 10 ? ) anyway have a larger machine for the family room, and a smaller one for the bedroom. Both work very well in the winter and summer. Have had no problems with this ‘freezing up’ business that some have mentioned.

I picked Daikin ’cause on my walks up to the shops ( and back by a different track) most of the houses with an a/c unit outside were Daikin. So I thought good for the goose ..

JC 1:43 am 01 Nov 16

ns said :

I don’t know if I’m missing something, but I’ve never heard of a de-icing issue. Have I just been lucky? I’ve always been diligent with cleaning filters and regular servicing and have never had an issue either during below freezing temperatures or on insanely hot Canberra days.

It is nothing to do with cleaning or servicing. Essentially the way reverse cycle works is it extracts what ever heat is in the air and transfers that inside. The side effect is the outdoor unit coil gets really cold and starts to freeze up. They get to a point where the coil gets so frozen that the unit needs to stop so it can defrost. Depending upon the unit when it is defrosting the indoor unit may be running, so you will get cold air coming in, or it may not run, in which case the coil in the indoor unit will get cold, but maybe not feel it. But it won’t be heating either.

The tell tale sign of defrosting is a pool of water near the outdoor unit. Whilst good practice not many outdoor units have their drains connected to plumbing.

The magic figure in Canberra is around the 5 degree mark. If the temps are at 5, the coil will most likely be below 0 and subject to freezing. As someone mentioned above if is humid it will freeze over quicker. When this happens it takes longer to heat the house as it goes through constant heat, stop, heat stop cycles.

So I would be very surprised if your unit doesn’t do it. Maybe you just don’t notice. I don’t notice my ducted system inside, but do see the tell tale sign of water on the concrete pad and the ground around the pad from the thawing.

ns 12:31 pm 31 Oct 16

I had Daikin reverse cycles put in about 7 years back and my only regret is that I didn’t invest in them earlier. I found them to be both cost-effective, efficient and a huge improvement over the ancient electric systems in my house which barely heated the place up. The ability to control the temperature for different rooms was also a plus.

I don’t know if I’m missing something, but I’ve never heard of a de-icing issue. Have I just been lucky? I’ve always been diligent with cleaning filters and regular servicing and have never had an issue either during below freezing temperatures or on insanely hot Canberra days.

Even though I had 4 units put in (3 smaller units for each of the bedrooms and a larger unit for the living space), I only had one outdoor unit. It can be done if you get a clever and creative installer. I had every Daikin rep come out to give me a quote and only one came up with the goods (and at a cheaper quote to everyone else) – Bell-Air. I’d recommend them unreservedly (if only for their can-do attitude and creativity).

I was originally set on ducted, but had a mate who installs ducted systems for a living nix the idea because I have a two-storey townhouse. He said I’d always struggle with getting the right temperature balance across the two levels. His advice was that ducted worked better on single level homes.

Maya123 11:02 am 31 Oct 16

Comment here. I accept this discussion is about existing houses, but if anyone is planning to build a new house, build it correctly and you won’t need to bother with any of this. You won’t need any air-conditioning and the rare times a heater is wanted, a small fan heater in the evening will be enough. On low temperature setting too, once it has warmed the air.

planeguy 9:36 pm 30 Oct 16

Anyone taken it a step further and using a heat exchanger boiler for hydronic/in-slab heating (units such as Daikin Altherna, Sanden etc…) If so, do they cope with the -6deg mornings?

arescarti42 1:15 pm 30 Oct 16

mtrax said :

I was thinking of getting a ducted reverse cycle system, or is better to get 3 smaller systems?

It depends.

Ducted is the nicer solution. It’s more aesthetically pleasing with only ducts inside and only one outdoor unit, more even air distribution, and the convenience of one controller. However it’s also usually more expensive to install than equivalent split systems, and will be more costly to run due to lower efficiency units and ducting losses.

Splits are uglier, but cheaper and more efficient, especially if you only use them to heat/cool just the part of the house you’re in. They also give you built in redundancy, whereby if one breaks down, you still won’t be totally without heating.

So it’s kind of a personal choice.

mtrax 7:45 am 30 Oct 16

I was thinking of getting a ducted reverse cycle system, or is better to get 3 smaller systems?

JC 6:29 pm 29 Oct 16

Masquara said :

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.

But far more vulnerable to high prices due to global market demand. In fact one of the reasons reverse cycle electric is now actually cheaper than gas is because our gas prices have gone through the roof as they are now set to global prices. End result we are paying far more for it than we did previously.

JC 6:26 pm 29 Oct 16

dungfungus said :

Masquara said :

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.

Good point, and as the ACT will soon be relying on 100% renewables for electricity supply it would also be a good idea to stock up on candles.

You peddle the liberal party line no matter what. Did you not read the report about the issue in SA?

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