What is the difference between a 1 stage and a 2 stage ac unit?  

Not all air conditioning systems are created equal. In addition to the different types of AC systems available, there are also differences in the AC technology behind each system. Take 1-stage and 2-stage AC units, for instance. Both types differ in one key area and both have their own advantages and drawbacks to consider.

Here’s what you should know about 1-stage and 2-stage AC units prior to installing your new AC system.

The Compressor Makes the Difference

The compressor lies at the heart of every AC unit – and this is where the difference between a 1-stage unit and 2-stage unit becomes clear. When technicians talk about “stages,” they’re referring to the compressor’s operating mode. On a 1-stage AC unit, the compressor has just one operating mode where it runs at 100 percent of its capacity, regardless of how much or how little cooling is needed. When it’s not running flat-out, it’s turned off.

Meanwhile, a 2-stage unit gives your compressor a second operating mode. This mode peaks at around 70 percent of its capacity, although that could be higher or lower depending on the compressor brand, model and type. Having a “high” and “low” mode for AC units comes with a list of interesting pros and cons for the technology.

1-Stage AC Unit Pros and Cons

One notable pro about 1-stage AC units is cost, especially when compared to a similar 2-stage unit. 1-stage AC units typically cost less than their 2-stage counterparts, making them the budget option in climates that don’t warrant a lot of cooling during the summer months.

On the other hand, running the AC compressor at full tilt combined by the constant stopping and starting of the compressor itself also means more wear and a shorter lifespan.

2-Stage AC Unit Pros and Cons

Compared to a 1-stage AC unit, a 2-stage unit gives your home more versatility when it comes to staying cool efficiently throughout the summer. The “low” mode offered on a 2-stage AC unit lets the compressor run longer, which not only helps reduce compressor wear and tear, but also offers more gradual cooling throughout the entire home.

A 2-stage AC system also operates more efficiently in contrast to similar 1-stage units. Consider that the average AC system uses the bulk of its energy during startup. A 2-stage AC unit doesn’t have to start or stop as often, thereby reducing your AC system’s overall energy consumption and lowering your home’s electricity bill in the long run.

The only con worth noting about 2-stage AC units is cost. On average, a typical 2-stage AC system costs more to purchase and install than a comparable 1-stage unit. However, the high upfront cost can be offset through a 2-stage unit’s higher efficiency and lower repair costs throughout its life.

What About Variable Speed AC Units?

Variable speed air conditioning units feature compressors with far more flexible duty cycles. In most cases, a variable speed compressor can operate at as low as 10 percent of its capacity and ramp up as needed, saving more energy and wear.

Need Air Conditioning Installation? Talk to your air conditioning repair experts at Airrific Air Conditioning & Heating today! Call (941) 371-3355.

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