After qualifying for the grand finale, electric heating and reverse cycle air conditioning meet to fight for the title of the best device for you. Who do you think will win? Place your bets, please!
“Winter is coming”…and this is not only the name of the well-known Game of Throne’s first episode but also the warning we get from the low temperatures outside regarding the approach of the cold season.
Generally, winters in Brisbane are quite mild compared to other areas of the country but there are times when it can get pretty chilly outside. With the single digit temperatures getting so close, we need to start gearing up and nicely warm our home and office. However, with so many options on the market, which one is the smartest, most energy efficient and money saving on the long run? Electric heaters or reverse cycle air conditioners? Let the battle begin!
First of all, in order to make a clear picture of each one of them, let’s define them properly.
An electric heater is an electrical device that converts electric current to heat. The heating element inside every electric heater is an electrical resistor and works on the Joule heating principle: an electric current passing through a resistor will convert that electrical energy into heat energy. Some examples include oil-filled column heaters and fan heaters, to convection and panel heaters.
Alternatively, a reverse cycle air conditioner or a heat pump as it’s commonly known, uses an electric motor to drive a refrigeration cycle, extracting heat energy from a source such as the ground or outside air and directs that heat into the space to be warmed. It can be installed as a feature of a central AC, which means that when the heat pump is in heating mode, the indoor evaporator coil switches roles and becomes the condenser coil, producing heat. The outdoor condenser unit also switches roles to serve as the evaporator and discharges cold air (colder than the ambient outdoor air).
- Which device is more energy efficient and cheaper to run on the long term?
Well, this always tends to be the first question to start with, isn’t it? Fair enough! An electric heater has a 1 to 1 power to heat output, so for every 1 kW of heat you require 1 kW of electrical power. On the other hand, a reverse cycle AC requires only 0.6 kW of electrical power for 2 kW of heat. This is because reverse-cycle air conditioners take free heat from the air and use it to warm a room rather than burning electrical power, which makes it at least 3 times more efficient (in terms of cost and energy) than an electric heater!
Reverse cycle AC scores!
- Which device warms up your home more rapidly and evenly?
This should have a clear, simple answer. If you want to get warm really fast, just place yourself in front of the electric heater and you will start to feel like you’re burning instantly. In a similar way, when you turn it off, the room temperature drops down in a blink of an eye. On the contrary, when using a reverse cycle air con, the warm air is not only distributed evenly throughout the room but it also persists for a longer period of time.
Reverse cycle AC scores again!
- Which device is better for your health and friendlier with the environment?
We’ve explained earlier how reverse cycle air conditioners are 300% energy efficient while causing less carbon dioxide to be produced in power plants burning fossil fuel than other kinds of electric heaters. Additionally, modern systems generally have air-purifying filters which trap, absorb and deactivate microscopic particles, such as dust allergens, virus bacteria and odours.
And again, reverse cycle AC scores!
For the match point, reverse cycle AC comes with a “2 in 1 device” feature, meaning that the same AC keeps itself busy to cool you down during summer whereas the heater sits dormant in storage.
Game, set and match! Reverse cycle AC wins the battle!
Until next time, stay warm and cosy!
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