Why is the Air Conditioner taking longer to heat the office in Winter?
To answer this question you need to understand how an air conditioner works, an air conditioner moves heat from one place to another – as simple as that, this is why they are also referred to as ‘heat pumps’.
When you set the air conditioner to cooling mode, the refrigerant within the system absorbs heat from the indoor air and this is then moved to the outdoor unit where it is expelled to the surrounding outside air (if you feel in front of the outdoor unit you will see the air coming out of it is warm).
When you set the air conditioner to heating mode, the refrigerant within the system absorbs heat from the outdoor air and this is then moved to the indoor unit where it is expelled into the office (if you feel in front of the indoor unit you will see the air coming out of it is warm).
When its cold outside there is less ‘heat’ for the refrigerant to absorb which in turn is then transferred to inside thus it can take longer for a system to heat an office when its cold outside. Modern systems for the UK market can provide heating to a room down to an outside temperature of -15C but it takes longer to do this.
The use of timers means you can start the Air Conditioner system before people arrive into the office (thus the room can be heated & be comfortable before staff arrive). When the temperature drops to below 0C we recommend that people keep their systems turned on in heating mode throughout the night but at a lower temperature (say 18C), this means the office temperature doesn’t drop that low which means it won’t take as long to heat up to the preferred temperature set point.
You might think that this is a waste of electric but there is evidence to show that you actually use more electric in trying to raise the temperature in an office from say 12C to 22C than by leaving the system to ‘tick over’ at 18C overnight before raising it to 22C.
So, now you know why the Air Conditioner takes longer to heat the office when it gets colder outside!