Can an Air Conditioner Be Used as a Heater?

Hand over ductless mini-split feeling for airIf you’ve ever been near the outside portion of an air conditioning system when it’s operating, you’ll notice that it puts out a lot of heat.

You may even wonder if it’s possible to use an air conditioner as a heater. The answer is: It depends on the system.

Some air conditioners can be used as heaters, and they’re quite efficient while doing so.

Air conditioners must be specifically designed to provide heating and cooling; however, not all air conditioners have the necessary settings or equipment. For the AC to provide heat, it needs a reversing valve and a few other key components.

How an AC System Can Be Used as a Heater

Air conditioners that provide both heating and cooling are typically called heat pumps, but not always. Heat pumps function the same way as an AC system during summer, absorbing heat from inside your home using a refrigerant inside the evaporator coil and then shedding that heat outside at the condenser coil.

In the winter, however, the cycle can be reversed to absorb heat from the outside air and bring it inside. This is done with a reversing valve that changes the direction of refrigerant flow in the system, effectively switching the roles of the evaporator and condenser coils.

Incorrect AC Usage Can Cause Damage

Only air conditioners designed to produce heat should be used for heating purposes. While it would be difficult to do with a central air system, incorrectly using a portable AC or window unit for heating could damage the air conditioner, at best.

In the worst-case scenarios, it can allow condensate to drip into your home, causing costly water damage, or it can even pose a risk of electric shock or fire because if you reorientate the air conditioner to supply heat, the controls could be exposed to the elements.

Upgrade to a Mini-Split or Heat Pump

If you want to upgrade your air conditioner to a system that provides both heating and cooling, consider installing a heat pump or a ductless mini-split. Both systems function as heat pumps, providing cooling in the summer and heating in the winter.

Ductless Mini-Splits

A ductless mini-split features a large condenser unit outside and one or more air handlers in the home. Each air handler supplies heated or cooled air to a single room or zone, with no ductwork to leak or waste energy, and each can be controlled individually, customizing the temperature for each room.

Ductless mini-splits can be designed to heat a single room for easy upgrades when you add an addition or if you just need extra heating and cooling capacity. They can also be built to heat and cool multiple rooms or an entire home, with one air handler for each zone.

Heat Pumps

A heat pump is a large split system that looks similar to a central AC, with a condenser unit outside and an air handler with an evaporator coil inside. It delivers heated or cooled air to each area of your home through a system of air ducts.

Heat pumps and ductless mini-splits offer highly efficient heating and cooling in one system, with no need for a separate heating solution if the appropriate heat pump for the climate is installed.

Plus, they produce heat using only electric power, making them ideal for areas that lack the natural gas service that would be required to install a furnace, and with only one system to care for, maintenance is simplified.

Schedule Heating Installation in Carbon County

When you’re ready to upgrade to a heat pump or a ductless mini-split, contact Andreas Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. We can recommend the most efficient heat pump or ductless HVAC system for Pennsylvania’s chilly climate and provide a professional installation that ensures efficient, long-lasting performance.

Our HVAC company has been family-owned for four generations, and we provide outstanding customer service that earns excellent reviews from our clients. We serve Carbon County, Lehigh County, Monroe County, and parts of Northampton and Schuylkill counties.

With our unparalleled honesty, integrity, and commitment to hard work, you can count on us for all your heating and cooling needs.

Call Team Andreas today at (610) 377-5261 to schedule a heat pump or ductless mini-split installation in eastern Pennsylvania.