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Air Conditioning In Stages

Last month I talked about letting the air conditioning run as this is good for removal of humidity in your home. I mentioned two stage air conditioners as a great way to accomplish this. You may be considering replacing your old air conditioner this summer and if so, you have a few choices available to you.  One choice will be to determine whether you select a single stage, two stage or a variable speed air conditioner.

If your existing air conditioner is more than ten years old, chances are it is a single stage unit. With single-stage, the air conditioner must be sized large enough to keep your home cool when it is very hot outside. Problem is, it is not always 90 out so much of the summer the unit is too large for your home and begins to cycle on and off. Because of this we encounter a constant temperature swing in our home of around two degrees.

Two-stage or variable speed equipment on the other hand can change their capacity to match how hot it is outside. On hot days they runs at full capacity with the power necessary to maintain your comfort inside. On moderate days or during the night they will slow down to a lesser capacity, more closely matching your homes load and efficiently cutting the on-off cycling. Essentially it is like having two different sized air conditioners in one.

Another important fact is that your air conditioners primary function is to remove humidity from the air. In order to do this, it must be running. With two-stage/ variable speed units, the run time is nearly twice that of a single stage. This alone will maintain a humidity level in your home that is 5-10 % less than a properly sized single stage unit. Remember, lowering the humidity is what makes your home comfortable. Two-stage air might even help you eliminate that de-humidifier you are running in the basement saving you $30-40.00 a month in electricity.

Speaking of savings, you will find much lower operating costs with today’s two-stage equipment. Even though the two-stage system will run more often, it is running slower so its electricity usage will be way down.

Lastly, two-stage air conditioners are quieter. They’re quieter because when running on the low setting we can also slow the air flow through the ducts, saving even more electricity and helping you get a good night’s sleep.