Single-stage versus two-stage air conditioner: which is best?
Two-stage or single stage, that is the question. All air conditioning systems work pretty much the same way; a coil inside the home removes heat and a coil outside exhausts the heat outdoors. That’s it. Where it gets more complicated is choosing the correct unit for the space to be cooled and dehumidified (those are the 2 MAIN results of air conditioning). You see, on a HOT summer day it may be 90 degrees or more outside, and all that heat is trying to get in. That’s a lot of heat and it needs a lot of cooling power. On a mild day, 78 degrees or so, there is not as much heat coming in – definitely enough to still need a/c but way less power needed than the 90-degree day.
So which AC should you get – the one for the really hot days or the one for the more mild days?
The problem with picking one for the hot day is when it’s not that hot (like at night), the home will cool off fast but the unit will not run long enough to remove the humidity, so many times you will lower the thermostat in order to feel “comfortable”. What this means in normal language is, on hot days the unit will be sized correctly and run the appropriate time to both cool and dehumidify. On mild days the unit will come on and quickly satisfy the thermostat but leave the home feeling muggy. What would be ideal is to have more than one air conditioner, one for really hot days, and one for not as hot days. But that would be really expensive, and be a maintenance nightmare! Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one machine that would be very powerful for those really hot days, and somehow power down on more mild days? Well guess what, that machine exists! It’s called a 2-stage system. Standard air conditioners are called single stage. Single-stage means it has one power setting – FULL BLAST! Two-stage air systems can actually operate at several power settings so you have the perfect amount of cooling power all the time no matter the outside temperature.
Two-stage cooling means the system has two levels of operation: high for hot summer days and low for milder days. Since the low setting is adequate to meet the home’s cooling demands 80% of the time, you get great control over the humidity and much lower energy usage. When the system is in the low setting, it also runs for longer periods of time so much more even temperatures throughout the home is a common side-benefit.
So you decide… which is best? We have not discussed any other variables like any difference in price or installation requirements, so if you are looking at replacing your air conditioning system and would like to consider all the variables and receive all of your options, call The Comfort Authority at (813) 579-6358 today.