Why Doesn’t My Air Conditioner Heat Instantly in Winter?

As winter sets in and temperature drops, you may find yourself switching on your air conditioner’s heating function, expecting an instant burst of warm air. However, its not uncommon to experience a short delay before your air conditioner starts to heat up. This delay can be frustrating, but it’s perfectly normal and is a sign that your system is operating efficiently and effectively. One of the key reasons for this delay is the defrost mode.

What is defrost mode?

Air conditioners that are reverse cycle in nature, meaning they provide both heating and cooling, have a built in defrost mode. During winter, ice and frost can form of the coils of your outdoor condensing unit when the temperature drops below 10°C.

To address this, the air conditioner continuously monitors the temperature of the outdoor unit. When it detects that ice and frost has formed on the coils, it triggers the defrost mode. To melt the ice, the air conditioner temporarily reverses its cycle. Instead of pumping warm air inside, it directs the heat to the outdoor unit to defrost it. During this time, the indoor unit might blow cooler air or may stop blowing air altogether to avoid discomfort. Once the outdoor unit is free of ice, the air conditioner will switch back to heating mode. This process can take anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes, depending on the severity of the ice, the specific model of your air conditioner, and the outside ambient temperature.

Tips for Better Heating

While defrost mode is an essential part of your air conditioner’s operation, there are a few things you can do to help your system run more efficiently. Ensure your air conditioner is regularly serviced. This includes cleaning the filters, checking refrigerant levels, and ensuring the outdoor unit is free of debris. Setting your air conditioner to start heating a little before you actually need it can also be beneficial. This way, the defrost cycle can run, and the unit can be ready to provide warmth when you need it.

Why Doesn’t My Air Conditioner Heat Like a Gas Ducted Heater?

It’s also important to understand why your air conditioner doesn’t heat like a gas ducted heater. Gas ducted heaters use natural gas or LPG to heat the air directly, providing a rapid and intense heat output. These systems are designed to quickly raise the temperature in your home, especially during extremely cold weather. In contrast, air conditioners, particularly reverse cycle units, use the refrigeration cycle to generate heat by pumping cold refrigerant through an external coil to generate heat from the air outside. This refrigerant is then compressed, which causes it to warm up, creating hot air. This process is efficient but can be slower, especially when outdoor temperatures are very low. Air conditioners are designed to provide consistent and energy-efficient heating over time rather than the immediate burst of heat that gas ducted heaters can deliver.

In conclusion

Defrost mode, while it might cause a brief delay, ensures your system runs smoothly, efficiently, and reliably, keeping you warm and comfortable all winter long. At Ford & Doonan Air Conditioning, we are committed to providing high quality, reliable air conditioning solutions. If you have any concerns or need assistance with your air conditioner, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stay warm and have a Ford & Doonan Day!