Choosing Between Single- and Variable-Speed Air Conditioners

Avoiding the mistake that others make by choosing the wrong air conditioner can save you money in the long run. The heat and humidity in Valdosta, GA, don’t end when summer passes because it can last well into the fall and appear again in the spring. Choosing the right AC system for your home and maximizing energy efficiency should be your goal. Take a look at the differences between single- and variable-speed air conditioners.

How Each One Works

The terms single-stage and variable-speed refer to how the AC compressor inside works. A one-stage or single-stage compressor has only one speed. It sticks to this same rate every time you use it, which can cool your home faster but will often lead to costly cooling bills.

A variable-speed AC system has different rates it can use. You’ll usually find that it runs at its top or maximum speed when your home is warmer as a way to cool it as fast as possible. The lower speeds allow the AC system to use less power as it comes close to the temperature you set.

Consider what would happen if you wanted a consistent temperature of 75 degrees. A single-stage compressor will use 100% of its power to get the house down to this level and then shut off. When the temperature climbs to around 77 to 79 degrees, it’ll come back on and start cooling.

A variable-speed AC system will do the same thing but in a different way. Once it reaches the temperature you want, the AC system will reduce its power until it hits this level. Variable-speed AC systems do a good job of keeping a set or consistent temperature because they automatically run when the temperature is off by just a few degrees.

SEER Ratings

If you want to keep your cooling costs low, always check the SEER rating. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating is a figure that rises as a system becomes more energy efficient. Georgia is a SEER state, which means that all installed air conditioners must have a minimum rating of 14.

Single-stage air conditioners usually have a SEER of 14 to 16, but you won’t find a higher rating among these systems. Variable-speed AC systems have a SEER of at least 20 with some rising as high as 24. They offer savings that you can see within the first few months of using them.

When a Single-Stage AC System Makes Sense

Are you looking for an AC system that works well on hot days but that won’t require a lot of money upfront? A single-stage AC system is a good choice, and you don’t need to spend as much money to have a contractor install one. In most cases, the repairs that you need are also affordable.

Keep in mind that your energy bills will go up though. These systems use a lot of power just to keep your home comfortable. Some smaller systems may have a difficult time sticking to the temperature that you want or pushing cool air to certain rooms.

Buying a Variable-Speed AC System

Variable-speed air conditioners are the better choice if you’re concerned about your indoor air quality because they’re compatible with air cleaners and purifiers. Since they have longer cycles, they also keep your home cooler to reduce humidity. Even when it’s hot and humid outside in Valdosta, you’ll feel cool and comfy inside.

You should know that the upfront investment is higher and that contractors often charge more to install these systems. Don’t let that stop you from making the investment, though, because the air conditioners work so well that your cooling bills will drop the first month after you install yours. A variable-speed AC system will often last longer than a single-stage one does, too.

Waller Heating & Air Conditioning has the expertise you need when it comes to choosing between different air conditioning systems. You can get help maintaining yours and with any repairs you might need. Call today to find out if your Valdosta, GA, home would benefit the most from a single- or variable-speed AC system and to schedule your AC installation.

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