What Are the Differences Between Reverse-Cycle Air Conditioning, Air Conditioning, and Central Heat?

What Are the Differences Between Reverse-Cycle Air Conditioning, Air Conditioning, and Central Heat?

For many people, although summer is a time of having fun outdoors, the heat inside can be very uncomfortable. Heat in a home can make people irritable and disrupt sleep. Many people turn to air conditioners to cool the home or office. There are many types of heating and cooling units available. When searching for one, it is important to understand the differences between heating and cooling devices. The following describes the differences between three main heating and cooling units: Reverse-Cycle Air Conditioning, Air Conditioning, and Central Heating.

Air Conditioning

Air conditioning is the process of cooling a room, home, or building, by using a unit that controls temperature, humidity, and the distribution of air. There are three main devices: compressor, condenser, and the evaporator. These components work to draw heat out of the air and circulate cool air. There are different types of units available such as central units which cools an entire home or building and split air conditioning which are split into indoor and outdoor mechanisms. The quality will vary. The cheap units available at large department store chains are usually not that effective at cooling a room.

Central Heating

Central heating consists of a network of components that includes a furnace, ducts, and vents. Heat is generated by the furnace and the warm air travels through the ducts and out through the vents to the rooms to heat the home. Central heating heats an entire home or building. The source of heat can be oil, gas, or hot water. The amount of heat produced is controlled by a thermostat.


Because of its name, many people think reverse-cycle air conditioners is an air conditioner, however, it is actually a type of heater commonly referred to as a heat pump. They work like an air conditioner except in reverse. Instead of transferring heat out of the home, they transfer heat into the house. As well, as an air conditioner, the heat pump will remove all the heat within a room and pump the warm air out of the room. The Reverse-Cycle Air Conditioner contains a compressor which is a pump that drives the unit and it pumps the refrigerant through chambers to transfer heat from outside the house to inside. Reverse-cycle units are usually reversible. They can be run in the opposite direction during the summer to cool the house. During the winter months, reverse cycle units can take the heat and pump it into the home. Reverse-cycle units are more energy efficient than electric heaters.

When summer time hits, the heat in a home or office building can be sweltering if not properly cooled. Acquiring a quality air conditioner that meets your needs is an effective way of cooling the inside which will make your summer much more enjoyable. When searching for an air conditioner, it is always helpful to discuss the options with a professional who understands how different air conditioners work and what units will best meet your heating and cooling needs.