Ducted Reverse Cycle

Reverse Cycle Split

Ducted Evaporative
How does a refrigeration cycle work?

Below is a simple description of how a refrigeration system works. The diagram will assist in further understanding this process.

The compressor, which is the first of the four main components, could be called the heart or pump of the refrigeration system. This pump pumps refrigerant gas at a very high temperature and pressure through the balance of the different components namely the condenser coil, a metering device and the evaporator coil.

Freon gas is pumped through these components within the sealed circuit of copper piping (or other), initially at high pressure and high temperature. As the Freon passes through the Condenser, the temperature of the Freon - or hot gas - is reduced by means of heat exchange, or air movement, over the condenser coil. The state of the gas within this coil thus changes from a gas to a liquid.

The metering device causes a low pressure environment to be introduced in the circuit immediately after this component. Whilst moving into this low pressure environment, the Freon gas changes its state from a liquid to a vapour. As the Freon gas changes its state to a vapour, it cools significantly via evaporation within the reduced pressure environment, which in turn offers the exceptional cooling capability of the Freon gas being used. Tthis extremely cold vaporised gas is captured within the sealed refrigerant circuit.

How can this very cold energy or vaporised gas that is contained within the piping/circuit of the refrigeration cycle be used to cool an external environment such as a bedroom or office?

Once again by means of heat transfer, the cooling ability of the vaporised Freon gas is then transferred externally. This heat transfer (cooling in this case) from the surface of the refrigerant pipes is transferred to the air moving over these pipes. In an air conditioning unit this heat transfer is increased dramatically by introducing large volumes of air over the surface area of the evaporator. This is normally done mechanically by a ventilation fan. The cold air is contained and blown into the area to be cooled by means of specially designed ducting or housing.

Both the condenser coil and evaporator coil are designed in a similar way to a car radiator coil arrangement. This design allows for a large volume of air to be passed over a long section of piping, which is coiled in such a way so as to take up a small area. The design of this coil must also ensure that the maximum surface area is in the path of the air moving over this coil, thereby ensuring a good result.

After the Freon gas has passed through the evaporator coil, the temperature of the gas would have increased to a cool temperature due the heat transfer that took place. The gas now returns to the first component of the refrigeration cycle - the compressor - ready to start the cycle again.

What is reverse cycle air conditioning?

To understand this question you will have to take note of the diagram above. An air conditioning unit is made up using all the components as described above and more.

Most reverse cycle air conditioning units installed are the split type unit, either wall mounted or ceiling mounted. These split units are divided into two units, hence the terminology split unit. These two units, the fan coil (inside unit) and the condenser (outside unit) are inter-connected by copper piping.
A brief description of each unit will help answer this question:

1. Condenser unit (external unit)

This unit is normally mounted at ground level on the outside of the building. It contains a number of mechanical and electrical components, including the compressor, the condenser coil, fan/s and a valve called a three way valve. It is this valve that causes a reversing of the refrigerant cycle, when the heating mode on the thermostat is selected, thereby introducing warm air to the inside of the building and cold air to the outside.
Thus the refrigeration cycle allows for excellent heating and cooling results.

2. Fan coil unit (indoor unit)

This unit can be installed on the wall inside a building, or in the ceiling void. The housing of this unit contains a number of working parts including the evaporator coil and fan. The position of this unit is dependant on the model and type selected depending on the special capabilities that each model offers.

By example when the fan coil is installed as part of a ducted air conditioning system this unit is installed, in most cases, within the ceiling void. Air is drawn through a return air filter via the fan and motor housed within the fan coil unit. As this air passes through the evaporator coil (or heat exchanger as shown in the diagram below) the air is either cooled or heated by means of heat transfer, depending on the mode selected on the controller.



  • All year round comfort, providing both heating and cooling regardless of the ambient weather conditions
  • Exact temperature control via electronic thermostat , allows the consumer to select the temperature preferred
  • Removes humidity and dust particles from the air, this creating a drier cleaner environment within the home or office
  • Aesthetically pleasing, as external component is easily placed in a position that can be hidden. The internal being placed in the ceiling (ducted)
  • Air flow through outlets can be controlled to a satisfactory flow allowing for maximum comfort
  • Adds value to the home or office


  • High investment to purchase
  • More expensive to operate than evaporative systems