Can You Heat a Room with an Air Conditioner?


As cold weather approaches, we are looking for more and more ways to stay warm without spending all our money. Even though central heating is most commonly used, it’s not very economical. Fireplaces are a good way to stay warm and save some money, but not everyone has enough room for them in their house. Now we’ve all heard this at one point, but can you really heat a room with an air conditioner?

Most air conditioners nowadays have a heating setting. This setting is usually marked as the sun on your remote, and it lets you heat the room. The air conditioner uses a reverse process from cooling to keep your room warm.

Check out some great air conditioners here on amazon!

It might come as a surprise but using the air conditioner isn’t only cheaper than heaters, it is cheaper to use than some other kitchen appliances as well. 

Can you heat a room with an air conditioner?

Nowadays, most air conditioners have reverse cycle technology, which offers you the convenience of heating and cooling from a single machine. Most air conditioning units have hot and cold control modes. In case you’re feeling cold, you can easily switch on the heat mode on the remote controller of your air conditioner and set the thermostat to your ideal temperature. Reverse cycle air conditioning is much easier, cheaper, and safer to use than portable heaters because they can overload electric circuits.

If you want to use your air conditioner for heating, you should first clean it. Filters inside air conditioners can collect dust and other harmful particles which can cause mildew and be a fire hazard once the heat is involved. Check the manual for cleaning instructions.

Make sure you switch on the auto mode. This function will allow your air conditioning unit to maintain your set temperature. It will keep the fan running for the least amount of time at the slowest speed to save on energy. 

You should also redirect your louvers downwards because that way you will make sure the air circulation in your home is optimal.

To avoid more expensive repairs get your air conditioner maintained once a year to keep it running easily and as energy efficient as possible.

Is air conditioning good for heating?

Air conditioning is good for heating, and you can use it as a heat pump. Scientifically speaking, a heat pump is a device that moves heat from one area to another area and by this definition, an air conditioner is a heat pump because it is used to create a temperate atmosphere by moving heat around.

Any device that can possibly be used to produce heating and cooling to the same area is technically considered a heat pump and this means that any heat pump can be used as a heater.

To understand how your air conditioner can heat, you have to understand the ‘vapor-compression refrigeration cycle’, a system which is the same whether your air conditioner is the size of a box or a bicycle. The process works through a chemical refrigerant that transfers heat from one part of the system to another and then releases it. 

At first, the chemical is compressed into a high pressure, very hot gas and it is then pumped into a long tube which is known as ‘coil’. While the refrigerant, which is most likely a chemical called freon, flows through the coil, and heat is extracted through a fan. Once it has cooled down, the gas is converted back into a liquid state and is then passed into an expansion valve, which lowers the pressure of the chemical before pumping into the ‘evaporator’.

The evaporator is where the chemical turns into a gas by extracting heat from the air. While gas absorbs the heat, the cold air that is generated is blown into the room.

It is a complicated but very efficient way of shifting heat from the inside to the outside.

That would mean that heating your home with an air conditioner is a reverse process. You will recognize air conditioning units that are able to do this because they will have a specific heating mode. When this mode is turned on, the flow of coolant shifts direction so that the hot coils become cold and the cold coils become hot. When it’s in standard mode, the cold air gets pumped into the room and the warm air gets discharged outside, but when the heating mode is turned on, the warm air gets pumped into the room and the cold air gets discharged.

Does it cost more to run the heat on the air conditioner?

Even though most people have central heating, they are hesitant to use it a lot because it is quite expensive. Most people don’t know that using your air conditioner to heat your home is less expensive than using central heating. 

How much money you will save on heating will depend on how much you use it. An air conditioning unit is able to produce 3 kilowatts of heat for each kilowatt of electricity that it uses. Once you compare the 1 kilowatt that central heating can produce for the same amount of energy, it makes sense that air conditioners are more economical than heaters. 

You will have to make an initial investment if you don’t already have an air conditioner. 

The average cost of using your air conditioner for heating is around $0.13- $0.36 per hour to run. Gas heaters cost around $0.43- $0.51 per hour to run, while electric heaters cost $0.50- $0.60 per hour.

Running an air conditioner for heating is actually cheaper than running a microwave, which costs $0.28 – $0.53 per hour. 

Best air conditioner for heating a room?

For the best heating and cooling experience, we recommend Keystone 12,000 BTU 230V Through-The-Wall Air Conditioner with Heat Capability. 

It is perfect for rooms up to 550 square feet. It has money-saving features which include energy saver mode, sleep mode, and a programmable 24-hour timer. There are electronic controls with an LED display and a temperature sensing LCD remote control which allows you to conveniently see, set, and keep the room temperature from across the room.

It provides flexibility with its 3 cooling modes and 3 fan speeds. 

This air conditioner has a front-access filter which allows you to easily collect the dust filter. Just pull it out, vacuum or rinse and dry, and slide it back into its place.

Can split air conditioner be used to heat a room?

You can use a split air conditioner to heat a room. Here is our recommendation:

This air conditioner has built-in washable filters which makes it easy to maintain. It is designed to evenly distribute hot and cool air to make your room as comfortable as possible. 

It is a 4-in-1 air conditioner because it serves as an air conditioner, heater, dehumidifier, and fan. 

It is incredibly quiet which makes it great for bedrooms and nurseries. It can be used in any home and condo. It takes up 450 Square Feet. 

You have 4 options for this air conditioner. If you choose to get a 9000 BTU, you will be able to cover 100-450 square feet, 12000 BTU will cover 450-750 square feet, 18000 BTU will cover 750-1250 square feet, and 24 000 BTU will cover 1250-1500 square feet.

Can a portable air conditioner be used as a heater?

If you don’t feel like getting an air conditioner that will be permanently mounted in only one room, you can use a portable air conditioner for heating.

We recommend Black+Decker BPACT12HWT Portable Air Conditioner. It has an energy-saving design, which automatically turns off your air conditioner after 24 hours to prevent any waste in case you forget to turn it off. It also has a sleep-mode which controls the temperature in your room at night. 

There are 3 fan settings: low, medium, and high. It has a built-in dehumidifier that keeps the air dry both while cooling and heating, which helps prevent mold and mildew. 

It is only 17.1 x 13.8 x 28.1 inches and it doesn’t take up much space. It can heat a 150-200 sq. ft. room and cool a 250 to 300 sq. ft. room.

This air conditioner is designed so it fits in with your living room, bedroom, nursery, and even garage.

Final Thoughts

Most people dont realize that you can use your air conditioner as a heater. Using your air conditioner for a heater is a great idea. It saves money and space by not having to buy a separate unit. Not too mention it works great!

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