Variable-Speed AC Unit Basics, Benefits and Worth

Variable-Speed AC Unit Basics, Benefits and Worth

If you’re considering upgrading your home’s air conditioner unit in the near future, one of the modern options that will be available to you is known as a variable-speed air conditioner. Allowing for better efficiency and comfort than previous AC models in multiple ways, variable-speed compressors are becoming more and more popular today – should you be considering one?

At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we’re here to help with a wide range of AC and heater installation services, including variable-speed models you might be looking to upgrade to. What is a variable-speed AC unit, how does it compare to other models available, and why might this upgrade be worthwhile to you? Here are some basic factors to consider.

Variable-Speed AC Vs Other Options

To understand how the variable-speed AC works, you must first grasp how more primitive units operate. The most common such unit is the single-stage air conditioner, which has just two settings: ON (where it runs at maximum capacity no matter what) and OFF. No matter how much cooling your home needs in a given moment, the amount of air being created to meet this need will be the same. In addition, there are two-stage AC options that have both a high-speed and a low-speed option, keeping temperature stable while often running at a lower speed to save energy.

The variable-speed AC, then, is an even further advancement of the two-stage AC. Variable-speed models come with several different possible settings, allowing the compressor itself to choose the most efficient setting for a given situation. Not only will your air be more stable and comfortable, you’ll achieve it for a lower cost as the system only works as hard as it needs to. Both efficiency and comfort will be increased, a dual benefit system that attracts many buyers.

Determining if It’s Worth It

To determine whether the benefits we just went over are worth it for you, you just need to do some simple math. Our HVAC professionals can advise you on the expected energy savings you’ll get from a variable-speed system compared to your current one, and you can compare this number to the up-front cost of a variable-speed system – but more specifically, to the gap in cost between a variable-speed system and a lesser model.

For instance, if a variable-speed AC unit will only cost you a couple hundred more dollars than a single- or double-stage model, but you know your savings on energy will be around $25 per month, it will only take you a year or two to recoup the additional money you pay toward the variable-speed model up front – and this is a good deal you should probably take. In other situations, though, up-front costs might be high enough, or your savings low enough, that you might wait on a variable-speed installation.

For more on variable-speed AC units, or to learn about any of our HVAC services, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.