Getting a new air conditioner can involve significant costs, which is why it’s essential to choose the right unit. Before making a huge purchase like this, make sure to do your research. You should know which options are available to you and what kind of equipment will best suit your home and needs. Consulting HVAC experts will also help you in your decision-making process.
Here local HVAC specialists share details that will help you decide if a variable-speed air conditioner is ideal for your home.
What Is a Variable-Speed Air Conditioner?
Also called a modulating air conditioner, a variable-speed air conditioner usually operates at a low speed. Even when it reaches the desired temperature, it still continues running. This keeps a small amount of cool air in your living spaces, ensuring optimal comfort.
You should consider this equipment for your HVAC replacement project because it also aids in reducing indoor humidity. This is mainly because a variable-speed AC’s cycles run longer. Moreover, it can typically adjust its speed between 25% and 100% capacity, depending on the amount of energy needed to cool your rooms.
How Is It Different From a Single-Stage Air Conditioner?
A standard or single-stage air conditioner is made to run when your home requires cooling and turn off once the preferred temperature has been reached. This means that this type of air conditioner only operates when the temperature in your home gets higher than the temperature set on your thermostat. It also doesn’t adjust to meet your preferences, and runs at full capacity every time it’s on. Single-stage models usually utilize short cycles, meaning they turn on and off at various times throughout the day. An air conditioner that keeps cycling like this will waste a significant amount of energy, with the result of increased utility costs.
How Do You Know If You Should Get a Variable Air Conditioner?
You get too warm or cold while sleeping. Inconsistent airflow can cause you to become too warm or too cold while you sleep. With a variable-speed air conditioner, you won’t feel too hot or cool when you’re in bed. This is because it doesn’t cycle on and off, unlike a typical air conditioner.
A modulating air conditioner creates longer-lasting airflow that isn’t as intense, keeping your living spaces at a more consistent temperature. As a result, you’ll feel more comfortable in your sleep and won’t wake up in the middle of the night because you’re freezing or sweating.
Your spaces are too humid. HVAC specialists recommend modulating air conditioners for homes with humidity problems. Too much humidity can harm your home in various ways and even affect your quality of life. The more humid a house is, the warmer it feels inside, and it may also feel sticky or clammy.
With a variable-speed AC, more air is cycled through the system, removing moisture in the air and lowering indoor humidity. Sometimes, it’s not the heat making your living spaces uncomfortable, but the excessive humidity. If your home has lower humidity, you’ll actually save on cooling costs because you can set your thermostat higher.
You have hot and cold spots in your home. Another indication that you need a modulating air conditioner is hot and cold spots in your home. Humidity and temperature control are two of the best features of this variable-speed unit. These are two things that you should consider when planning your HVAC replacement.
You can achieve more consistent airflow with a modulating unit, while a standard air conditioner simply turns on and off when it detects temperature changes. When some areas of your home don’t receive enough airflow, cold and hot spots will form. Fortunately, you can avoid these issues with a variable-speed AC.
There’s mold growth in your home. Mold is often the result of excessive moisture in your indoor air, or high humidity. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends keeping your home’s humidity levels low. As much as possible, you shouldn’t allow it to rise above 50% humidity.
A single-speed air conditioning system can allow relative humidity to go 60% or even higher. On the other hand, a variable-speed unit won’t increase it more than 50%. Mold is one of the last things you want in your home because it can impact the appearance of your house, your comfort and your health by triggering allergic reactions and causing respiratory symptoms.
Investing in a variable-speed air conditioner will help prevent mold growth in your home. Make sure to have your equipment installed by a skilled technician to ensure it will last a long time and keep you comfortable all-year-round. At Broom Heating & Air Conditioning, you can count on us for your home’s HVAC and electrical repair needs.
When Is a Variable-Speed Air Conditioner Not Recommended?
One scenario where a variable-speed air conditioner wouldn’t be your best option is if you have under-insulated ductwork. It’s common for older homes to have insufficiently-insulated ducts. However, at times this can also be an issue in newer houses with well-insulated ducts in the crawlspace or attic but bare metal ducts in the walls.
A variable-speed air conditioner will only work well if your ducts are well-insulated. If under-insulated ducts get too cold in the summer, they’ll begin sweating. The moisture this creates can then leak into your walls, resulting in water damage and mold growth.
For homes with poorly-insulated ductwork, a two-stage air conditioner may be a better option. They can provide better comfort than a single-stage air conditioner. While modulating ACs operate at various speeds, two-staged units only have two speeds: low and high. They usually operate at low speeds for longer periods of time.
Are you still unsure which type of heating and cooling equipment your home needs? At Broom Heating & Air Conditioning, we’re here to help you make the best HVAC-related decisions for your needs. You can also rely on us for quality electrical repair services. Give us a call at (803) 754-5466 or fill out our contact form to request a quote.