Get up to Speed on AC Options
If you’re thinking about a new air conditioning system, it’s important to understand the types of internal compressors that are available and how they affect the price and performance of your unit.
Comparing Variable-Speed and Two-Stage Compressors
A variable-speed compressor is able to adapt to a wide range of cooling needs, ramping up or down in tiny increments, depending on how much air conditioning is needed. These levels of cooling capacity are far more efficient than a system that just turns on and off all the time, especially because it takes a surge of power every time it restarts and has to catch up. By cooling your home at lower speeds for longer periods of time, you’ll not only have lower energy bills, but also get more consistent comfort.
Two-stage air conditioners are actually a type of variable-speed AC, but with only two settings: low and high. This unit will function mostly in low-stage—because even hot days in Wisconsin aren’t that hot—but it’s ready to kick into high-stage whenever needed.
With both variable-speed and two-stage systems, you get the highest efficiency and the best dehumidification, due to longer run times. Also, because the fan blows for longer periods, your home benefits from better air circulation and fewer hot and cold spots. Best of all, the units are quieter in low-stage so you won’t notice anything but comfort.
Simply Reliable Single-Stage Compressors
Chances are, if your air conditioning is more than 10-years-old, it’s probably a single-stage system. This is the original cooling method most people are familiar with, where it’s either 100 percent on and blowing at full capacity, or 100 percent off and waiting for the air temperature to rise enough to trigger the next cycle. While it’s the least efficient type of central air, the simplicity of the system does make for a more durable compressor and fewer repairs over the life of the unit.
Comparing Systems and Savings
The initial cost of a variable-speed or two-stage air conditioner is higher than a single-stage system, but if you use your AC a lot, the energy savings definitely help make up the difference. Plus, if you have an older AC, it’s safe to say that almost any new Carrier® model with a decent SEER rating will be more efficient and effective in cooling your home than what you currently have.
The experts at Gross Heating & Air Conditioning are happy to help you evaluate your needs. Contact us anytime for recommendations and “just-right” comfort.