If you’ve been shopping for a new air conditioner, you may have come across the phrases “single-stage” and “two-stage,” and you’re probably wondering which AC you should get.
Well, when Florida homeowners ask us which is best, this is what we tell them: Two-stage ACs are better than single-stage ACs because they provide better comfort and higher energy savings.
However, the BEST option—and by “best” we mean highest comfort and energy savings—is a variable-speed AC, which we recommend for many Florida homeowners.
That said, variable-speed ACs are much more pricey than single-stage or two-stage ACs. For that reason, some Florida homeowners are forced to cross variable-speed options off their list.
In this article, we’ll explain:
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AC stages refer to the operating modes of air conditioner’s compressor, which is the part that circulates refrigerant (the liquid/gas that cools your home’s air) throughout your home.
An air conditioner compressor, located in the outdoor unit
New air conditioner compressors come in 3 different stages:
Let’s look at how each of these stages work...
Single-stage air conditioners only run at one operating mode (like their name suggests). This means when your thermostat calls for cold air and your AC system turns on, it will only produce cold air at 100% capacity—all the time.
An AC that runs at 100% capacity all the time leads to a problems like...
Two-stage air conditioners run on 2 operating modes (true to their name):
Having this second low-speed option allows a two-stage AC to run for longer times and conserve energy.
Compared to single-stage ACs, two-stage air conditioners offer…
The BEST option in terms of comfort and energy savings is a variable-speed compressor.
Here’s why: Like a car can accelerate at any speed from 0 mph to 120 mph, a variable-speed compressor can operate at any mode between 10% and 150%.
Since it runs at multiple operating modes, a variable-speed AC can run for longer times at lower speeds and uses even less energy than a two-stage AC.
Because of their multi-speed technology, a variable-speed AC offers…
Of course, the next question on your mind is probably price. Let’s look at how each AC stage ranks in terms of cost:
Now, you’re probably thinking: “How much more is a two-stage or variable-speed AC going to cost me compared to a single-stage AC?”
For more information about AC, read our article: How Much Does it Cost to Install a Central AC in Tampa, FL?
So is the higher price of a two-stage or variable-speed unit worth it for Florida homeowners?
We think so. Remember: Both of these ACs provide more dehumidification, lower energy bills, and just overall better comfort than a single-stage AC.
And since Florida homes naturally struggle with high humidity, hot temperatures, and expensive energy bills, we think variable speed is worth the investment.
Trying to save money?
If you’re on a tight budget, we recommend going with at least a two-stage AC.
We’d be happy to answer any questions about AC stages or help you choose a unit for your home. And when you’re ready, we can install your new air conditioner.
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