Can I Use AC to Heat the Room in Winter? (Possibilities)

During winter, you can find the outside temperature to be very low, and you don’t want that same freezing temperature in your room. Normally, people tend to use a heater to make the room warm. But can the AC act as a heater? In this blog post, let us discuss the possibilities of using an AC to heat the room in winter.

Can I Use AC to Heat the Room in Winter

Can I use AC to heat the room in Winter?

You can use an AC to heat the room in winter. But you can only heat the room from 82°F (28°C) to 86°F (30°C) temperature range. But if you want to increase the temperature further, then your AC should act as a heat pump by reversing its refrigeration cycle. Packaged AC units can perform both as Air Conditioners and Heat pumps since they have both the air conditioning unit and heat pump unit combined into one single system. So, your AC can heat your room in winter if it has a heat pump integrated into it.

To understand whether an AC can heat a room or not, it is a must to know how an AC works and how a heat pump is different from it. This will help you to decide whether to buy a packaged AC unit or a normal AC unit.

How does an AC work?

Any AC has four major parts and one working fluid known as refrigerant. The four major parts are:

  • Compressor
  • Condenser
  • Thermal Expansion Valve
  • Evaporator

The compressor and condenser are present in the outdoor unit of your AC while the Evaporator and Expansion valve are present in the indoor unit.

The AC works through a refrigeration cycle and the working can be explained in five simple steps which involves all four parts mentioned above:

Low-pressure liquid refrigerant from the evaporator enters the compressor

The refrigerant is a fluid that changes its state from liquid to gas when compressed. When the AC is turned on, this liquid refrigerant enters the compressor, and it becomes a high-pressure gas.

The work of the compressor is to compress the fluid and increase its pressure. So, due to this compression, the refrigerant becomes very hot and changes its state from liquid to gas.

Hot high-pressure refrigerant gas exits the compressor and enters the condenser

This high-pressure refrigerant in the form of gas enters a part called the condenser. This condenser has a lot of metal fins and a big blower fan which removes the heat from the refrigerant gas.

The condenser exchanges the heat outside and makes the refrigerant liquid

The reduction in pressure changes the state of refrigerant from gas to liquid. This liquid is somewhat cool and now this liquid refrigerant enters the indoor unit of the house through an expansion valve.

Liquid refrigerant enters the thermal expansion valve and gets cold

The expansion valve is a very narrow tube that has the ability to lower the pressure of the liquid until it gets to freezing-cold temperatures. This cold refrigerant now enters the evaporator section.

Cold refrigerant enters the Evaporator and hot air becomes cool

The cold refrigerant exiting the expansion valve enters the evaporator coil. A blower unit sucks the air from the space meant for cooling and when it comes into contact with this cold refrigerant in the evaporator, it cools down.

The hot air becomes cool by exchanging the heat with the refrigerant and it is blown back into the space as cold air with the help of a blower in the indoor unit.

The heat-absorbed refrigerant liquid now flows back into the compressor. This cycle repeats until the desired temperature is reached. Once the set temperature is achieved in the space, the thermostat cuts off the compressor unit and it will once again start when the temperature changes.

The Role of Thermostat

The thermostat in your AC helps to set a desired temperature and monitor the temperature of the space inside your home. When the temperature of the space reaches the set temperature, the thermostat simply cuts off the compressor and stops the refrigeration cycle. Once the room temperature increases, the compressor kicks in and starts cooling the space.

How does a Heat pump work?

A heat pump is the reverse process of the refrigeration cycle where the heat from outside is transferred into the inside of the home. This can happen with the help of a reversing valve that changes the refrigerant flow used in traditional air conditioning.

But when there are freezing cold temperatures outside the home, then heat pumps use electric coils to heat the air inside the home providing you with warm air.

So, a normal AC can easily provide warm air until the temperature limits of 82°F (28°C) to 86°F (30°C). But if you want to go for warmer temperatures, then you will need a heat pump or a heat pump-enabled AC.

What is a packaged AC unit?

A packaged AC unit is a complete air conditioning solution for your home which comprises of both an AC unit and a heat pump in a single unit. It is usually present in central air conditioning system where a large outdoor unit is present outside the home and the air is distributed through ducts inside the home.

This packaged AC unit can act both like an AC and heat pump. So, when the weather is super cold, you can change the cycle to heat pump and use it as a heater. When the weather is hot outside, you can change it back to normal refrigeration cycle and get cold air inside the house.

Usually, this reversing of the cycle is done by simply reversing the valve which changes the way refrigerant circulates between compressor, condenser, and evaporator.

When you want to combat the freezing cold air on the outside, you will need to package AC units that have both the AC and heat pump technology built into them.

Read Also:

How Warm Can a Heat Pump Get Your House?

An AC can comfortably get your house up to 86°F (30°C). But a heat pump can get your house further up to 92°F (34°C). This can be very useful when there is freezing cold temperature outside the home.

But it is preferred to maintain the inside temperature up to 72°F (22°C) which is comfortable to live in without feeling too hot or too cold. If you have freezing outside weather, then you can increase it a couple of degrees to feel cozy and comfortable.


Using an AC combined with a heat pump is more beneficial for people living in extreme weather conditions. But if you are living in tropical climate conditions, then you can simply go for a traditional air conditioner which has the potential to produce warm air during moderately cold weather. So, a packaged AC unit during extreme winter can definitely heat your room.

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