2 Speed Air Conditioners

You likely found this air conditioning blog because you have questions or you may be facing a decision regarding replacing your home HVAC system. It’s not uncommon to get technical terms thrown at you during a HVAC maintenance visit with little to no clear understanding. I am a licensed HVAC contractor serving Katy Texas | Cypress Texas | Richmond Texas and some surrounding areas. I have over 20 years experience in HVAC systems for your home. This information was written by the finger tips of a licensed air conditioning contractor from a AC pro’s perspective.

You see I’m what is called a “working HVAC contractor”. Working means I do the work. From writing my own blogs, to you guessed it – repairing and replacing home HVAC systems. I’m describing this to you, because there are professional writers on the internet that only write. Many act as professionals, but are not. If you need visual representation of who I am you can visit my You Tube Channel and subscribe. I also include a¬†playlist of¬†clips embedded below for your convenience.

Two Speed AC Versus 2 Stage Air Conditioners

A 2 stage AC is often called a 2 speed AC, these aren’t one in the same. You see a 2 speed AC is an AC that has a 2 speed compressor and a two “stage” AC is really an air conditioner that has 2 physical compressors. Even I make the slip up from time to time, it’s easy to do.

Typically a 2 stage AC, the one with 2 compressors will run at 50% capacity during stage 1 as the 1 stage compressor is half the size (capacity) of the stage 2 compressor. The benefit is better humidity control from that of a single speed on or off regular air conditioner. These varieties typically cost more initially and can cost more to repair because there are more moving parts as well as controls. They are also normally louder during operation than a two speed air conditioner and in some cases even a single speed air conditioner (single speed meaning either on or off).

The best of both worlds collide when it comes to “some” 2 speed air conditioners. You get a more efficient system for less cost than a 2 stage option, less moving parts and much quieter as well. You see a 2 speed air conditioner with a 2 speed compressor will run at a slower speed when in speed 1. Typically the cooling provided is around 40-60% of the cooling capacity of the AC system. What this does for you is the HVAC system runs in this 1st speed upwards of 90% of the time. Because of this, the system runs longer and reduces humidity levels in your home making you and your family more comfortable for less cost than a traditional “on or off” single speed air conditioning system. Because it’s running in first stage more often the cost to operate it is much less than a system that is either on or off only.

So with that said you’re probably thinking “Ok, then what is the catch?”
The catch as it were is that you have to replace your entire HVAC system. These types of systems were designed as complete systems, not cookie cutter or piece meal and in many cases what is considered “retro fit” repairs.

So you fully understand this, piece meal means just replacing one part of your AC system, in most cases the part of your system that is not working right. The equipment of an HVAC system typically consists of a gas furnace, an evaporator coil and the out door air conditioning condenser as well as a thermostat to control it.

In order for a 2 speed or 2 stage AC to operate properly you must have the proper controller for it. Otherwise it will not operate properly and in some cases could damage the system. The 2 speed HVAC systems I sell and install are what is called a Communicating HVAC System.

Communicating HVAC System

This isn’t your dad’s air conditioner. The HVAC industry is evolving into more energy efficient, more comfort, quieter and smarter HVAC systems. Communicating means that the pieces of your HVAC system talk with one another. The thermostat “talks” with the furnace and the out door AC condenser and by doing this gives you a HVAC comfort system for your home that you could only dream about just a few years ago. Yes, it’s no joke thermostats actually do talk. Are you listening? If only you knew what they were telling me about you. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

A communicating HVAC system that can pay for itself over time and potentially last your lifetime and more importantly provide you the best comfort you are likely looking for right now.

Introducing the 5 Speed Air Conditioner

Maybe you are eyeing potentially what may be the next generation of extreme comfort, the 5 speed air conditioning system. Like the communicating system mentioned above this is a communicating based HVAC system. The air conditioner of this system can deliver a range of capacity from 25% of capacity up to 100% rated capacity of the system.

This is the beginner model for an inverter based ducted HVAC system. The next step up from this is a completely variable speed compressor. The 5 speed air conditioners on the market today typically use algorithmic programming to decide which speed to run in, there are varying ways of how these systems operate. The benefits of this system is even quieter operation when in these lower speed settings. Based on manufacturer printed decibel ratings of this equipment you probably would not even hear it running up to about speed 3 or 4.

Solutions For A Noisy Air Conditioner

Tired of getting woke up at night with that noisy single speed air conditioning system?

One of these communicating HVAC systems mentioned above might be exactly what you’ve been looking for to get a more comfortable and restful nights sleep. Then get that monthly electric bill and have a hard time to stop smiling. You know smiling is contagious don’t you?

SEER Rating Of AC Equipment Doesn’t Decide

Don’t get confused over a high SEER rating of equipment. Single speed air conditioning systems could be quoted as high as 17 SEER or higher in some cases, this doesn’t mean this type of system is 2 speed. If it doesn’t say 2 speed compressor, then it’s not a 2 speed air conditioner. In fact some AC models will claim 2 speed fan motor operation only. Realize a fan motor is not the compressor. I often say the devil is in the details of any HVAC system configuration for good reason.

Some unscrupulous salesmen and even some technicians sometimes say a 2 speed air conditioner will never keep up because it always runs in 1st stage. Sure, it will run in 1st stage a lot. This is a benefit because it will reduce humidity in the home much better than a single speed system. Realize a communicating system has the benefit of “knowing” what the out door temperature is, it knows which speed to run in to give you the best comfort, the right amount of comfort you and your family needs.

Reducing Humidity In Your Home

Did you know that your air conditioner is actually a dehumidifier? During normal operation when your AC starts up air is blown across your indoor evaporator coil. The humidity in the air condenses on the coil runs down into a condensate pan and down the drain. The problem is that a single speed air conditioner is either on or off and the only reason it turns on or off is due to temperature and not humidity.

Imagine it is 75 degrees in your home and the humidity is 70%. If you are a frog or a lizard this would probably be pretty comfortable. Now imagine if the temperature was 75 degrees in your home and the humidity is 50% or less. This is the difference that is very hard to explain in text alone, fortunately the out door weather does this for me annually. You wake up on a fall day, 75 degrees and the air is light and crisp. You know this feeling, now imagine it every day inside your home.

Remember a great HVAC system starts with proper installation. Choose a licensed HVAC pro, it’s the only way to go!

Thank you for visiting with me today. I hope your day is comfortable.

About the author of this blog:
My name is Ray Austin. I am the owner and operator of Austin Air Companie, a HVAC Service Company serving Katy, Texas | Cypress, Texas | Richmond, Texas and some surrounding areas. I am a Texas Licensed HVAC Contractor with over 20 years experience in Air Conditioning and Heating Systems. I hold an AOS degree in HVAC/R, EPA universally certified to handle any refrigerant and NATE certified in HVAC installations and repairs.

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