Several places in Northern India experience extreme winters and summers every year. To deal with such extreme weather, most people buy both air conditioners as well as room heaters. It not only adds to the number of appliances in a house, but also significantly increases electricity bills in summers as well as winters. Air conditioners because they have a thermostat (which controls temperature) do not consume a lot of electricity as compared to room heaters, which consume a high amount of electricity throughout the period they are kept on. If you are someone who is looking to overcome the problem of high electricity consumption by room heaters, then new air conditioners with heat pump that provide both cooling as well as heating can be a good alternative for you to saving electricity.
Functioning of Heat Pumps
An air conditioner functions by taking heat from inside the room and moving it outside. If you had stood close to the outdoor part of an air conditioner, you would have observed that it throws hot air outside. A heat pump works completely in the opposite way. It takes the heat from outside and pushes it inside. Essentially the cooling cycle gets reversed. The functioning of the indoor and the outdoor unit is reversed and thus it is able to take heat from outside and heat the room. This type of functioning consumes much less electricity as the electricity is not being used to generate heat (as in the case of room heaters), but it is being used to move heat from outside of the room to inside. As per sources, heat pumps can be up to 30-40% more efficient than regular room heaters (depending on size and usage).
These days many air conditioner brands have come out with models that can do both heating and cooling. These models that have heat pump can be quite useful in winters. The added benefit of such systems is that just like regular air conditioners, these systems also a have a thermostat, which makes sure that the room is heated to an optimal comfortable temperature. With regular room heaters, if they do not have a thermostat, then it is quite possible that they may over heat the room, which not just becomes uncomfortable but also uses a lot of electricity.
Limitations of Heat Pumps
Heat pumps can be very effective in places where the temperature in winter is more than 4oC, but at places where the temperature goes below 4oC, these systems are not much efficient. This is because the water in the air freezes on the outdoor unit, which blocks the flow of air. In such cases a regular electric resistance heater is a better option.
Air Conditioners with heat pumps use electricity to move heat from outside to inside, which is far more efficient than using electricity to generate heat. Add to it the benefit of temperature control using thermostat, and the system can provide a lot of electricity saving as compared to regular room heater. And not just the saving, it also reduces the clutter of having multiple appliances in your house. So if you live in a place where there are extreme winters and summers, and you are planning to buy a new air conditioner, do give a thought to the models that have both heating and cooling.
Here is a short video for tips to buy the best air conditioner in India
Source of Information
About the Author:
Abhishek Jain is an Alumnus of IIT Bombay with almost 10 years of experience in corporate before starting Bijli Bachao in 2012. His passion for solving problems moved him towards Energy Sector and he is keen to learn about customer behavior towards Energy and find ways to influence the same towards Sustainability. More from this author.