Can Air Conditioner Heat Room with Temperature Setting?


Some people are asking if they turn up the temperature setting of their remote controller, can they use their air conditioner to heat up a room?

Cooling only air conditioners can't heat a room by simply setting the temperature higher. An air conditioner must have a heat mode or heating function in order to heat a room. Such an air conditioner is called a heat pump.

Most air conditioners are able to set a temperature up to 30°C. But, why turning up the temperature setting at the remote controller can't heat up a room?

How Air Conditioners Temperature Setting Work?

A typical remote controller can have a range of temperature setting anywhere between 16°C to 30°C. An air conditioner will make the room temperature as close to the set temperature as possible in terms of lowering the temperature.

An air conditioner uses a temperature sensor at the indoor unit to know what is the current temperature of a room. Then, it tells the outdoor unit to run at a certain cooling power based on the room temperature.

Let's say your room is at 20°C now. You put the temperature setting to 30°C using the remote or wired controller. Your air conditioner indoor unit senses that your current room temperature is 20°C and it tells the outdoor unit to stop running because the room temperature is colder than you want it to be (you set it at 30°C).

In cooling mode, an air conditioner controls the room temperature according to the set temperature by the rule of temperature descending. Vice versa, in heating mode, an air conditioner controls the room temperature according to the set temperature by the rule of temperature ascending.

Therefore, in order to heat up your room, you'll need a heating only or cooling+heating air conditioner. Logically, it is not easy to find an air conditioner with a heating function in hot weather countries like Malaysia and Singapore.

In a country with four seasons, people usually use an air conditioner for cooling and a furnace for heating. However, it varies from country to country. For instance, people in some countries prefer to use a heat pump for both cooling and heating as it is a more energy-efficient solution.

Heating Mode in Air Conditioners

Not every air conditioners have a heating mode. You can talk to the seller, search on the internet or check on your remote or wired controller. If your controller doesn't have the heat mode, your air conditioner probably doesn't have a heating function.

As mentioned earlier, in heating mode, an air conditioner controls the room temperature according to the set temperature by the rule of temperature ascending. If we take the same example, let's say your room is currently at 20°C. You put the temperature setting to 30°C using the remote or wired controller. This time, you are in heating mode. Your air conditioner indoor unit senses that your current room temperature is 20°C and it tells the outdoor unit to start running because the room temperature is cold but you want it to be warmer (you set it at 30°C).

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So, the differences between cooling only air conditioners and air conditioners with heating function are very clear. For heating only air conditioners, you may not find any heating mode because it is already in heating mode. Cooling and heating air conditioners require users to switch between modes in order to function properly.

Types of Air Conditioner with Heating Function

Almost all types of air conditioner can be equipped with the capability to provide heating. After all, heating is a reverse of cooling, a reverse of the refrigeration cycle.

However, the air conditioner itself needs to be designed in reverse, not you physically switch the indoor and outdoor unit of your air conditioner. Just buy an air conditioner with a heating function if it is within your budget.

While going through the research on this topic, I find it difficult to search on the internet for an air conditioner with a heating function. It has to do with the keyword. Thence, here is a quick list of keywords for you to search online:

  • Split heat pump
  • Ductless air source heat pump
  • Windows air conditioner with heating
  • Floor standing heat pump
  • Central air source heat pump
  • Cooling and heating air conditioner
  • Air to air heat pump

Heat Pump and Air Conditioner Operating Limitation

A heat pump usually struggles to operate when the outdoor temperature drop below freezing point (<0°C). So, certain heat pump models are included with an auxiliary electric heater to continue to provide heating in the event if the outdoor temperature drop below the freezing point and the compressor stops running.

For your reference, one of the Carrier heat pump models stated that it can't function when the outdoor temperature gets above 19°C in heating mode and when the outdoor temperature gets below 13°C, it can't function in cooling mode.

This demonstrates the limitation of a heat pump and air conditioner. Manufacturers design their heat pumps and air conditioners differently based on regions. Hence, you should always seek the seller's advice to see if their unit's specification is suitable for your house.

Other Ways to Heat Your Room

In the United States, people often use a furnace to heat their house during winter. They also installed air conditioners throughout their house to provide cooling when the summer hits. A furnace is a powerful heater as it burns gas to generate hot air.

Places with lower electricity bills can use a basic electric space heater to heat up the room. The benefit of s electric heater is that it is relatively cheaper and simple. However, they consume nearly 3 times as much power as a heat pump air conditioner.

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Yu Chang Zhen

I enjoy working on air conditioners and ventilation fans because Malaysia is a very hot country.

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