Low external temperatures and air conditioners
Generally, an air conditioner is used to more effectively regulate the temperature of any room especially when outside temperatures are high. There are also many air conditioners which have been fitted with a heating element which is excellent for those days when outside temperatures are low which makes it possible to use an AC as a heater. Many people might have experienced a situation where the coils of air conditioners have frozen when the cooling function of those units have been used during the winter. It may be quite a process to unfreeze those coils. The thermostat settings of air conditioners have limits and the minimum temperature is approximately 60°F. In the event that people still want to make use of the air conditioner even when outside temperatures is cold then it makes more sense to open a window in order to allow cold air to enter than it will be to make use of the air conditioner. Can we use an AC as a heater? Yes, because many air conditioners have integrated heat elements besides the thermostat which can be preset to approximately 90°F. When users turn up the heat this will result in a situation where the unit will proceed to produce warm air despite the cold weather outside. Turning on the heat is a relatively simple process because users only have to press the mode button until they reach the heat mode. Many people use air conditioners as heaters. Below displays the thermodynamic cycle of such air conditioners.
How an Air conditioner is converted into a heater?
In such air conditioners, the heat transfer process is reversed resulting in the heating functionality of the air conditioner. The solution is not that difficult. By adding a reversing valve, it is possible to reverse the flow of the heat and thermal energy through a heat pump system. It works like this: Once the heating mode is selected, the reversing valve functions and is flipped. As a result, the direction of the flow of the refrigerant fluid in the system is reversed. Once the heat condenser coils function as cold evaporator coils, the system works as a heater. In other words, the hot air is not vented outside and instead the cold air is expelled outside and warmed air is pumped inside.
During extreme weather conditions and very low temperatures, it is possible to allow cold air to enter into your room simply by opening the air conditioner vent. It is also possible to make use of the fan only function in order to circulate outside air into the room. The vent which is used in AC units has been specifically fitted to provide an opening between the exterior and interior of a room. It has two basic functions of which one is to allow fresh air to enter the room and the other is to extract stagnant air from the room. There are actually people who still prefer to make use of an AC unit even when the outside temperature is very low. The problem is that condensation which accumulates on the cooling coil of that AC unit will freeze. This will result in a situation where any air which is flowing through the unit cannot be cooled down. However, people will still feel that air which is entering the room through the louvers. It must always be remembered that freezing can cause damage to the AC unit. It will be necessary to allow the AC to defrost and this is accomplished by switching it off. It will be necessary to allow the unit to defrost for several hours and even longer. This is in order to allow warm air to flow through the coils until all of the ice has melted. It may be necessary to do a visual check and this is accomplished by removing the filter and then making use of a flashlight in order to see whether all of the ice around the coils have melted. Sometimes it might be necessary to make use of a hairdryer or something similar to speed up that defrosting process.
Can a split AC unit be used to heat a room?
Yes, it is possible but these units are mostly referred to as heat pumps. They have the integrated ability to reverse the flow of refrigerant and this is accomplished by making use of a reversing valve. However, it might also be that you have an AC unit which has not been fitted with a heat pump. Even then it is theoretically possible to use the AC as a heater. However, you will need to place the condenser unit on the inside of the room. Therefore, realistically speaking in the absence of a heat pump it is not possible to use an AC unit in order to increase the temperature on the inside of a room. In most cases, AC units are only able to operate one way. At any time when it is determined that the temperature in a place where they have been installed is higher than the setting on the thermostat then the unit will proceed to cool down that room. In the process, heat is generated and such heat is dumped on the outside through the back of the AC unit. Therefore, using air conditioners as heaters is only realistically possible when a heat pump is available.