HVAC: Stay Warm and Keep Cool

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Why Isn't Your Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning Operating at Full Strength?

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Reverse cycle air conditioning does precisely what its name suggests—it can reverse its cycles. For example, if you use the unit to provide cool air in the summer months, this cycle is reversed in the winter months with the touch of a button, and the unit then heats your home. Whether you've set the appliance to provide cool or warm air, it should be chilling or heating your home to the predetermined temperature. Why does it seem like the unit isn't operating at full strength?

Temperature Settings

It's time to troubleshoot and find out why the unit isn't properly chilling or heating your home. It might seem obvious, but check the unit's settings. Has its temperature been raised or lowered by someone else? It's easy to assume that your preferred settings are the unit's default settings, but it's just as easy for someone to change them. Set the temperature back to your desired level. 

Airflow Direction and Fan Speed

If the temperature settings have been changed, other settings may be similarly affected. It could seem as though the unit isn't operating at full strength because its airflow direction has been altered. Instead of pushing air into the space in a variable direction, it may be set at a specific angle, directing air at a certain place in the room. Adjust this setting as needed, and you also should also check that the fan speed hasn't been lowered, as this will directly reduce the overall power of the appliance.

Ambient Temperature

Because reverse-cycle air conditioners extract air from outside before refrigerating or heating it, their effectiveness can be affected by the ambient temperature. This isn't to suggest that the appliance will be ineffective in particularly hot or cold weather, but the ambient temperature still plays a role. In extreme weather, it may take the unit slightly longer to chill or heat the room to your specifications. This doesn't mean that the unit is malfunctioning.

Filter Blockage

If its settings aren't in doubt, you'll have to look for other potential causes. Pause the unit. Its louvres (slats that ordinarily cover the vent) should remain open, allowing you to inspect the filter just beyond the vent. Is there conspicuous dust in the filter? This can severely impede airflow, and prevent the unit from proper operation. Remove and clean the filter, or simply replace it.

There are limits to the amount of troubleshooting that a consumer can do with their own air conditioner when it doesn't seem to be operating at full strength. When your investigations fail to identify a clear cause (that you can fix yourself), it's time to call in a qualified tradesperson. 

For more info about reverse cycle air conditioning, contact a local company.