air-conditioning

Advantages That 2-Stage Cooling Systems Afford

Published on: August 30, 2012

Though you may have heard about two-stage cooling systems, you may not know the advantages of such a system. Learning about two-stage cooling system may influence your purchasing decision the next time you need to select an HVAC system for your home.

Conventional Air Conditioning Units

Conventional air conditioning units utilize a single-stage cooling approach. This means that the HVAC system cools the home in one stage. The compressor runs to cool the home. When the temperature set on the thermostat is reached, the compressor shuts off. The house heats up and then the compressor kicks on again to cool the home back to the set temperature. The cycle continues to maintain the set temperature in the home. The compressor is either running at full speed or not running at all.

The Two-Stage AC Unit

Two-stage air conditioning systems, on the other hand, have an interim stage. These HVAC systems have the higher capacity stage, which is equivalent to the “on” stage in a single-stage unit. The compressor runs at full capacity to cool the home when the unit is in the high capacity stage. However, the two-stage system also has a lower capacity stage. During this stage, the compressor runs at a lower rate to keep the home cool. The two-stage unit will run at high capacity during peak cooling hours, but during non-peak times of the day, when the outside temperatures are lower, the lower capacity stage kicks in to keep the house at a cooler temperature without having the compressor run at full speed. With a single-stage unit, the unit must work harder to cool the home from the heat build up while the compressor is not running. This “all or nothing” action utilizes more energy and puts more wear and tear on the compressor than with two-stage systems.

Two-Stage Systems are Energy Efficient

One main advantage of a two-stage HVAC system is that the unit is more energy efficient than a conventional unit. The temperature in the home is maintained without forcing the compressor to run at full speed all of the time. Because the compressor runs at lower capacity during non-peak cooling hours, the system utilizes less energy but keeps the home at a steady temperature at the same time.

Some homeowners report as much as a 30 percent savings on their utility bills with two-stage air conditioning units. In regions where the summer season is extended, such as the South, savings for homeowners who install two-stage units may be even more.

Two-Stage Systems May Require Fewer Repairs

The compressor is the most expensive component of an HVAC system. When the compressor needs repair, the repair cost will likely be substantial. With two-stage units, the compressor is not required to run at high capacity all of the time to cool the home. This may actually reduce repair costs because the life of the compressor may be extended. Though each individual system differs due to manufacturers, size and cooling load of the home, a two-stage system may require fewer repairs over the life of the unit.

Two-stage air conditioning systems provide the home with a consistent level of comfort while saving money on electricity costs. HVAC system specialists estimate that the compressor will normally run at low capacity for 80 percent of the time and will kick up to high capacity only 20 percent of the time to handle peak temperatures. This means that, not only does the air conditioning unit provide consistent comfort, but the unit is very energy efficient when compared to a single-stage unit.

Two-Stage Systems are Quieter and Control Humidity

Though all air conditioning systems control humidity in the home, two-stage systems have a longer cooling cycle. This means that the system runs longer, but in low capacity mode. When the system is running, humidity is drawn out of the air, keeping the air of the home dryer and more comfortable. When the home has less moisture in the air, the potential for mold and mildew growth is also minimized. In addition, two-stage systems are generally quieter. When the compressor runs at low capacity, the system runs quieter and less noticeable to occupants of the home.

As HVAC technology evolves, designers and engineers develop new ways to save energy and maintain comfort with HVAC systems. The two-stage air conditioner is one such recent development. If you are considering the purchase of a new AC system in the near future, check into the benefits that a two-stage unit may afford. A two-stage unit will be more energy efficient, quieter and will more effectively dehumidify your home. The energy efficiency of these newer units translates into a considerable savings on your energy bills. Supplement a two-state unit with developing energy saving habits around the home to increase your homes energy efficiency even further.