Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner vs Gas Heating: Understanding the Pros and Cons

Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner vs Gas Heating: Understanding the Pros and Cons

Are you looking for the best way to heat your home without burning a hole in your pocket? Let’s talk about gas heating vs reverse cycle air conditioning and how to choose the best option for your home. Which is the better choice in terms of cost and convenience?

Gas Heater vs Reverse Cycle: What’s Cheaper

The majority of people think that air conditioners are more expensive than using a gas heater. But with gas prices on the rise, it’s a reasonable prediction that gas prices will continue to climb. Reverse cycle air conditioner versus gas heater has its own pros and cons. Knowing this information now can help you save lots of money in years to come.

A reverse cycle air conditioner is designed to deliver both cooling and heating for your home. This type of air conditioner extracts heat from the outside.

In contrast, gas heaters use a radiant heat method of transfer as well as gas fuel combustion to heat the air. That means a gas heater heats your air by creating heat energy, while reverse cycle air conditioners heat your room by taking in air from the outside. The first method generates heat, especially near the heater, while the latter method distributes warm air all around the room. Based on this description alone, you can see that a reverse cycle air conditioner is more energy-efficient.

Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning versus Gas Heating Installation

So, is air conditioning cheaper than central heating? A reverse cycle air conditioner has a higher upfront cost than the gas heating system. A typical reverse cycle system takes at least $10,000 to install depending on the size of one’s house. A gas heater mainly an unflued one costs less than a thousand dollars while flued gas heaters cost around $1200 to $2500.

Buying a reverse cycle air conditioning unit and installing it in your home might set you back a few thousand dollars but you are hitting two birds with one stone here. Not only is a reverse cycle air conditioner more energy efficient than a gas heater, but it can also cool your house during summer. So that double functionality offsets the initial installation cost.

Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner vs Gas Heating: Running Cost Comparison

People who are used to gas heating say that it’s a more comfortable type of heat as compared to an electric heater or air conditioner. Gas heaters are cheaper to run than electric heaters. But the reverse cycle air conditioner is the best value for money when compared with electric and gas heaters.

Is air conditioning cheaper than central heating? To compare the running cost, a typical flued gas heater costs around 20 – 25 cents per hour to run at 2.4KW heating. Factor in the Daily Supply Charge that you have to pay just to have a natural gas line running on your home and you can see how it all adds up. Compare that to a reverse cycle air conditioner that runs at around 14-18 cents an hour at the same capacity as the gas heater and you will see the cost difference.

Reverse-cycle air conditioning is 300–600% efficient, which means that it can take one unit of electrical energy and turn it into 3 to 6 times as much heating or cooling energy.


Pros and Cons of Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner vs Gas Heater


Gas heaters might be cheaper to buy and install but reverse cycle air conditioners can help you save money in the long run. And natural gas might be more affordable but it takes a whole lot of gas to heat your home as compared to the energy efficiency of reverse cycle air conditioners. Instead of producing radiant heat, air conditioners blow in warm air. Now, this warm air from your reverse cycle air conditioner is free as it is from the outside and filtered in. Likewise, your reverse cycle air conditioner has its thermostat, sleep mode and programmable timer, which all help to regulate your temperature hour by hour.

Health and Safety

A reverse cycle air conditioner is safer health-wise. People tend to see more specks of dust when they use gas heaters. That’s because gas heaters produce airborne allergens and gas by-products. You need to have proper ventilation or at least open your windows, especially when using unflued gas heaters. And as you guessed, opening your windows is counter-intuitive when it’s chilly outside. Even flued gas heaters emit lots of greenhouse gases which isn’t good for the environment. Reverse cycle air conditioners come with its air-purifying filters to trap airborne particles and neutralize odors. Air conditioners also dehumidify the air and deactivate common disease-causing microbes. That said, a reverse cycle air conditioner is the healthier option for people who are prone to asthma and other respiratory diseases.


Gas heaters, particularly the older models, tend to become noisy when not serviced regularly. Reverse cycle air conditioners, on the other hand, are practically silent or have minimal noise for the most part. You and your family can sleep in total silence and still enjoy the warmth during chilly nights.

Fire Hazard

Due to its direct heat, gas heaters can burn nearby objects. Heaters can burn your curtain, pets, or even your kids if they get too close. Of course, that’s not the case with your reverse cycle air conditioners. The latter has no exposed components that accumulate heat. An air conditioner’s exterior body is generally safe to touch—definitely something to think about for your peace of mind.


Gas heaters are more comfortable. Some people don’t like the feel of circulating air from the reverse cycle air conditioner especially if the temperature is almost freezing.

That’s the reason why the heat produced by gas is warmer and more comforting than the reverse cycle air conditioners. So, if your coldest temperature falls below freezing, the gas heater is a more comfortable, albeit higher-priced alternative.

Speed and Efficiency

Gas heaters can warm a room more quickly than a reverse cycle air conditioner, but the latter can help you to sustain a comfortable temperature round the clock. Reverse cycle air conditioner tends to malfunction when it’s negative freezing outside but is designed to work perfectly on normal chilly weather. But gas heaters can overheat your space unlike with reverse cycle air conditioner which has a regulating thermostat function.

So, there you have it. Gas heating might have its own merits, but when we take into account energy efficiency, clean air, safety, and flexibility, reverse cycle air conditioner wins hands down.