What to Look for in a Reverse Cycle Split System
June 30th, 2023
Young man talking with saleswoman about reverse cycle split system units

A reverse cycle split system is the perfect option for those looking to have total climate control in one room or section of their home, office or business. With both heating and cooling in the one convenient wall-mounted unit, you can choose the optimal temperature all year round. No need to put up with portable air conditioners in the summer and space heaters in winter any longer!

At Australian Climate Systems, we know that there are a number of considerations to make before you invest in a reverse cycle split system. In this blog post, we’ll outline several aspects to consider when looking for the best reverse cycle split system for you.

Reverse Cycle Split System Capacity – Assessing Your Space

The first consideration you’ll need to make when looking for a reverse cycle split system is the capacity of the unit itself. In this case, capacity refers to the ability of your system to either remove hot air from the house (cooling) or add hot air into the home from outside (heating). It may seem a little complex, but essentially the higher the kilowatt measurement (kW), the more ‘effective’ your system.

While you may be thinking that bigger is always best, that is not necessarily true. An indoor unit that is too powerful for your space will cost you in the short and long term, as it runs frequently in short bursts, each of which use more energy than a system running at low power for a longer period. It is important to weigh up the capacity with a few other factors, including:

Room Size

The size of the room directly impacts the capacity required by your reverse cycle split system. For example, a small bedroom may only need a 2.5kW unit, while a large living area could require a 7kW or higher system.

The capacity of your reverse cycle split system will be directly impacted by the room size it’s designed to serve. A system that’s too small will struggle to maintain the desired temperature, while an overly large unit may lead to excessive energy consumption. To determine the best capacity for your needs, consult us or use an online calculator to get a rough estimation.

Ceiling Height

Higher ceilings require more heating or cooling, which may mean installing a larger system. For instance, a room with a standard 2.4m ceiling height will have different requirements than a room with a 3.5m ceiling height. Make sure to factor this in when determining the capacity of your heating and air conditioning unit.

If you’re blessed with high ceilings, you’ll need to consider the increased heating or cooling requirements when selecting your reverse cycle split system. In general, higher ceilings demand more powerful systems to effectively regulate the room’s temperature. We also offer systems with directional airflow, which can help ensure even temperature distribution in rooms with various ceiling heights.


Adequate insulation can significantly improve the efficiency of your reverse cycle split system. A well-insulated house will require a smaller capacity system, as the insulation will help keep the desired temperature more constant. Check the insulation in your walls, ceilings, and floors to ensure optimal performance.

Don’t underestimate the importance of proper insulation when it comes to the efficiency of your reverse cycle split system. Well-insulated homes can retain heat or cool air more effectively, meaning your system won’t have to work as hard to maintain the desired temperature. If your home’s insulation could use an upgrade, it’s worth tackling this issue before investing in a new heating and cooling system.

Window Size and Direction

Depending on the size and direction your windows face, they can either be a boon or detriment to your heating and cooling goals. Large windows or those facing north can increase the room’s heat load in summer, affecting the required system capacity. The more sunlight entering the room, the harder your reverse cycle split system will need to work to maintain the desired temperature.

On the other hand, south facing windows receive very little direct sunlight, especially in the chilly winter months. This means they offer little in the way of ambient heating, and the glass is an excellent conductor, allowing heat to escape quickly if they are not properly covered.

Consider installing blinds or shades to minimise heat gain or loss from windows. If you know your blinds may be open at inopportune times, choose a unit with a higher capacity to handle the increased load.

In addition to these key considerations of room size and height, insulation and window placement, keep in mind that the layout and design of your home can also impact the performance of your reverse cycle split system. For example, open-plan living areas may require a larger system compared to individual rooms.

Reverse Cycle Split System Placement – Minimising Noise Disruption

Noise Level Ratings

Understanding the system’s decibel (dB) rating is the first step in identifying a unit with low noise output. A lower dB rating indicates a quieter system. For reference, normal conversation levels are around 60 dB, while a whisper is approximately 30 dB. Ideally, aim for a reverse cycle split system with a noise level rating of 50 dB or lower to maintain a quiet environment. It’s also worth noting that every 10 dB increase is perceived as a doubling of the noise level, so even a small reduction in dB can make a significant difference.

Strategic Placement

When choosing a split system, consider what the space is used for. For areas like living rooms, kitchens or other shared spaces, you can sacrifice some additional noise for a more powerful unit if required. For bedrooms and office spaces however, quiet is often a high priority. In these rooms, it is vital to choose an indoor unit that won’t disrupt your work or sleep.

The placement of your reverse cycle split system’s outdoor units also plays a crucial role in noise reduction. Positioning the outdoor unit away from bedrooms and living areas can minimise disruptions to your daily activities and sleep.

Professional Installation

Enlisting the help of a professional installer is vital to ensure that your reverse cycle split system is set up correctly and operates with minimal noise. Our skilled installers are trained to select the optimal location and perform necessary adjustments, such as adding proper insulation, to reduce vibrations and noise. They can also provide valuable advice on maintaining your system for long-lasting performance and minimal disruption.

Reverse Cycle Split System Environmental Impact – Going Green

Going green with an energy-efficient reverse cycle split system not only minimises your carbon footprint but also aids in cutting down long-term expenses. So, how do you select an eco-friendly unit that won’t let you down?

Know the Stars: The Star Rating System

Australia’s star rating system is a handy tool in gauging the energy efficiency of a reverse cycle split system. The higher the number of stars a unit has, the more energy-efficient it is. Keep your eyes peeled for a system with a high star rating to strike a balance between eco-friendliness and cost-effectiveness.

Inverter vs. Non-Inverter Systems

Inverter technology has revolutionised the heating and cooling industry by enabling systems to adjust their output according to the room’s temperature. This results in superior efficiency compared to non-inverter models that operate at a fixed output. So, if you’re after a system that’s both energy-saving and environmentally friendly, an inverter unit is the way to go.

Bigger Outlay With Bigger Savings

Energy-efficient reverse cycle split systems come with numerous benefits, such as reduced energy consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions. However, they might come with a heftier price tag upfront. Don’t be disheartened, though; the long-term savings on power bills will offset the initial investment, making it a sound investment for both your wallet and the environment.

Top Tips for Maximising Your System’s Efficiency

    • Regular Maintenance: Scheduling routine check-ups for your system can help maintain its performance and efficiency.
    • Correct System Sizing: Ensure that your system is sized appropriately for your space to avoid overworking and inefficiency.
    • Optimal Thermostat Settings: Be mindful of your thermostat settings – a few degrees can make a significant difference in energy consumption.

    Reverse Cycle Split System Air Filtration – Breathe Easier

     Choosing a reverse cycle split system with filtration or purification can make a huge difference to your comfort. This is especially true for those who suffer from dander or dust allergies, hay fever and asthma, or who live in an area with poor air quality. Filters and purification are slightly different in functionality, but both work to reduce allergens and dust which can exacerbate allergies and respiratory issues.


    A reverse cycle split system with high-quality filters is excellent for removing pollutants and allergens from the air. HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are among the best options, as they can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns, effectively trapping dust, pollen, mould spores, and pet dander.

    Electrostatic filters, on the other hand, use an electric charge to attract and trap airborne particles. While not as efficient as HEPA filters, they can still improve indoor air quality and are often more affordable.

    To choose the best filter for your needs, consider factors such as local air pollution levels, household allergies, and your desired level of air purification.


    Some reverse cycle split systems come with built-in dehumidifiers, which can be beneficial in maintaining a healthy indoor environment. Excess humidity can lead to mould growth and exacerbate allergies, so a dehumidifying function can be particularly useful in damp climates or poorly ventilated spaces.

    Maintenance: Often Overlooked But Essential

    No matter how high-quality your filters are, they won’t be effective if not properly maintained. Regular cleaning or replacement, as per the manufacturer’s recommendations, is crucial for maintaining optimal air quality. We recommend that HEPA filters should be replaced every 6 to 12 months, while electrostatic filters can be cleaned every 3 months.

    Aside from filter maintenance, it’s also essential to keep the system’s condenser coils and drain pan clean and free of debris to prevent mould growth and ensure efficient operation.

    Reverse Cycle Split System Convenience – Additional Functions

    Hand holding remote, controlling reverse cycle split system

    If you have a little more money in your budget, it is worthwhile considering reverse cycle split system models with extra features which, while not essential, can save you time and hassle. We outline a few of our favourite add-ons below, but if you have a specific need in mind, you can of course contact us to narrow down your search.

    Timer and Remote Control

    Timer and remote control functions in reverse cycle split systems allow you to have complete control over your heating and cooling preferences. With a timer, you can program the system to activate at specific times, ensuring your home is at the perfect temperature when you arrive. This not only provides comfort but also helps to reduce energy consumption by avoiding unnecessary usage.

    Remote control functions enable you to adjust settings from anywhere in your home, meaning you don’t have to walk up to the unit every time you need a temperature change.

    Sleep Mode

    Did you know — Research has found the ideal sleeping temperature is around 17 to 19 degrees Celsius?

    Sleep mode is a fantastic feature that gradually adjusts the temperature in your room while you’re asleep. As your body temperature drops during the night, sleep mode ensures the room’s temperature remains comfortable, preventing the system from working overtime and consuming excess energy. This results in a more restful sleep and energy savings in the long run. It’s a win-win for both you and the environment!

    Wi-Fi Connectivity

    In an era of smart homes, it’s no surprise that reverse cycle split systems have also jumped on the bandwagon. With Wi-Fi connectivity, some systems can be controlled via smartphone apps, allowing you to adjust settings, monitor energy consumption, and even receive maintenance alerts on your mobile device. This level of control adds a layer of customisation and convenience that goes beyond traditional remote controls. It is important to consider the compatibility of the system with your existing smart home devices and the availability of a suitable app for your smartphone.

    Reverse Cycle Split Systems – The Main Takeaways

    To wrap up this article, here are the main considerations you should make as you look for a reverse cycle air conditioner:

      • Consider the size, insulation and natural lighting of the space you are looking to install in. Choosing the right capacity split system unit is more cost effective in the short and long term.
      • Think about what the room is used for, and choose a split system that doesn’t produce more noise than would be comfortable. This may mean adjusting the location of outdoor units or choosing a slightly less powerful system.
      • Pay careful attention to the energy efficiency ratings and environmental impact of the split system you’re looking at. An eco-friendly unit may be slightly more expensive, but your savings will quickly catch up!
      • Whether you’re a dog lover, someone with allergies, or simply want to breathe cleaner air, consider choosing a unit with built in filtration for less allergens and dust in your space.
      • If you have the space in your budget, luxury add-ons can make changing and maintaining the temperature of your space a breeze!

      Ready To Start Looking? Let Australian Climate Systems Help!

      Once you begin to research, you’ll quickly discover it can be a bit of a daunting task finding the perfect reverse cycle air conditioner for you. Luckily, Australian Climate Systems have over 25 years in the climate control industry, meaning we know about and have first hand experience with just about every system out there.

      We stock a number of highly trusted brands including Daikin, Panasonic and LG, and our professional team are passionate about helping everyone get the best possible heating and cooling for their spaces. We operate Melbourne-wide, so we can help with split systems from Chadstone to Frankston, Lilydale, Templestowe and so much more.

      Whether you’re just starting to look for a reverse cycle air conditioner, or you want to narrow down your last couple of choices, Australian Climate Systems are here to help. Get in touch, and we can offer a free quote and consultation.

      Some Frequently Asked Questions:

      What is a reverse cycle split system and how does it work?

      A reverse cycle split system is a versatile air conditioner that can both heat and cool a room, making it perfect for those unpredictable Australian weather conditions. It achieves this impressive feat by reversing the refrigeration cycle, which allows it to provide different temperature control depending on the season. In simpler terms, during summer, the system absorbs heat from the room and releases it outdoors, while in winter, it absorbs heat from the outdoor air and releases it into the room. This clever technology ensures year-round comfort for your home.

      How much does a reverse cycle split system cost to run?

      Running costs for a reverse cycle split system can vary based on factors such as the system’s energy efficiency, usage patterns, and electricity prices. While it’s difficult to provide an exact dollar figure, it’s worth noting that opting for an energy-efficient model can help minimise costs in the long run. Additionally, being mindful of your usage patterns, such as turning off the system when not in use, can also contribute to reducing running costs.

      Are reverse cycle split systems energy efficient?

      The good news is that modern reverse cycle air conditioners are designed with energy efficiency in mind. Systems with inverter technology and high star ratings are particularly efficient, as they can adapt their output according to the room’s temperature, resulting in less energy consumption. So, when selecting a reverse cycle split system, keep an eye out for those features to ensure you’re making an eco-friendly and cost-effective choice.

      Can a reverse cycle split system also purify the air in my home?

      Yes! You can find split system models with air purifiers built in, which further clean the air and remove allergens, dust and mould spores. If you’re looking to add air purification, please discuss this with our friendly team.

      How often should I clean or replace the filters in my reverse cycle split system?

      To ensure optimal air quality and system performance, it’s essential to clean or replace the filters in your reverse cycle split system regularly. While the specific frequency depends on the type of filter and the model manufacturer’s recommendations, a general rule of thumb is to clean or replace filters every three months. This timeframe may vary depending on factors such as usage and the level of airborne pollutants in your area.

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