By Julie Curnow

Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning in Australian Climates

Australia has a climate that ranges widely depending on where you are and what time of year. From the alps near Canberra, to the tropical climates of Darwin, we really do have it all on our sunburnt country. So no matter where you find yourself, it’s always a blessing to have air conditioning, whether it’s to cool or heat your home. We’ve put together a handy guide of the best types of air conditioning for some of the major cities in Australia.

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Reverse Cycle Air conditioning around Australia

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Perth, Adelaide and Canberra

Wall splits and ducted reverse cycle air conditioners are very popular in Perth, Adelaide and Canberra. These drier climates can get sweltering during Summer, as well as dropping down below freezing in Winter. Evaporative air conditioning is a popular alternative for cooling only and ducted gas for heating only.

If families have the funds they will generally opt for ducted to get whole-of-home heating and cooling. Zoning is used to heat or cool only one area at a time and reduce running cost. If ducted reverse cycle isn’t possible, people tend to install two splits; one in the main bedroom and one in the family room. Splits are popular in rental properties and for singles or couples in Perth, Adelaide and Canberra.


Reverse cycle units are a great fit for Brisbane’s humid climate because they dehumidify the air as well as providing cooling. While Brisbane isn’t the hottest city in Australia, it is the humidity that can really get to you. If you are living in Brisbane you can save money by buying cooling only split systems because heating isn’t frequently needed. Ducted systems are less popular because the high humidity can cause condensation to collect on the system and drip on to the ceiling.


The climate in Darwin is even more humid than in Brisbane. For the reasons mentioned above, ducted reverse cycle air conditioning is not suitable for Darwin homes. If you are looking to save money,use cooling only split systems because there is no need for heating. Cyclone conditions may require careful anchoring of the outdoor unit.

Melbourne and Sydney

In Melbourne, split systems are popular because they can be used for both cooling and heating. In Melbourne, often other forms of heating are used such as ducted gas or gas fires. Unlike other state capitals, Melbourne and Sydney have flourishing independent air conditioning traders who specialise in split systems.

As there is also more apartment living and double storey homes in Melbourne and Sydney, ducted air conditioning is somewhat less common. Apartments do not normally have the roof space to install the indoor unit of the ducted system after construction. In double storey homes, getting the ducting to the ground floor is not normally possible unless penetrations are added when the home is being built. Installing a ducted system only in the upstairs area is not usually cost effective.

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