Today’s air conditioners offer homeowners a selection of energy-efficient features, ranging from thermal expansion valves to filter-check lights. One of the most useful features is the two-stage compressor.
A traditional single-stage compressor runs at maximum speed all of the time. This provides optimal cooling when it’s very hot outside. But when the temperature’s more moderate, a single-stage compressor can cycle on and off frequently to maintain the right temperature. This can cause your unit to consume more energy than needed and ultimately lead to excessive wear and tear on your system.
But many air conditioners and heat pumps on the market today have two-stage compressors. Sometimes called dual-stage compressors, they run at two different speeds, depending on how hot it is outside. When the outside temperature is very hot, the compressor runs on high. When the temperature drops, the compressor shifts to a lower speed.
Most of the time, the compressor can run at the lower speed. Although it’s lower, the cycle is longer, so your home reaches and keeps a sufficiently cool temperature. This maximizes both your home comfort and your system’s energy efficiency.
The longer cycles provided by two-stage cooling has additional benefits, including quieter operation and improved humidity control. Two-stage compressors can remove almost twice as much moisture from your indoor air as single-stage units.
When you’re buying an air conditioner, the features are an important consideration. Just as important are your new unit’s seasonal energy efficiency ratio and correct sizing. Make sure your new unit has a SEER of at least 13. Also talk with your contractor about the sizing methods he uses, as you definitely want to avoid a unit that’s either too large or too small for your home. Your contractor should use Manual J for this job.
For 50 years, Conditioned Air has provided top-notch air conditioning sales and service to residential and commercial customers in Naples and Southwest Florida. Contact us for more information on high-efficiency air conditioning and how two-stage cooling can keep your home comfortable and energy efficient.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioning and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.