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Get up to $2000 tax credit on select AC systems! Call now to learn more.

Get up to $2000 tax credit on select AC systems! Call now to learn more.

What Is a Two-Stage Air Conditioner or Heat Pump?

June 14, 2012

This question comes up a lot when we talk to Sarasota area homeowners who have decided to retire their old air conditioner. If you are looking for a cooling system that maximizes your energy efficiency, increases your comfort, and saves you money on energy costs, a two-stage air conditioner or heat pump may be just what you need.

The Key Difference: Increased Efficiency

Central air conditioners have remained relatively unchanged for quite some time. Most air conditioners installed in homes are single stage. All that means is there are only two settings: on and off.

Two-stage air conditioners, on the other hand, recognize that not all cooling situations are the same: sometimes you need a lot of cooled air and sometimes you only need a little. A two-stage air conditioner or heat pump takes into account the current temperature and adjusts its speed, accordingly, improving your system’s overall efficiency.

Why Is a Two-Stage Air Conditioner More Efficient?

To understand why a two-stage AC is more efficient, it helps to understand why a single-stage air conditioner is so inefficient.

Since a single-stage air conditioner doesn’t have a lower setting, it must turn on at 100% capacity. It's like owning a car that runs in the highest gear only.

This setting cools your home very quickly, causing your air conditioner to shut off before it had too much time to run. However, the Sarasota summer heat causes your home’s temperature to quickly rise again, turning your air conditioner back on.

This rapid turning on and off is called "short cycling" and it is very inefficient because air conditioners use far more energy to start up. To run efficiently, your AC needs to run for several minutes.

A two-stage air conditioner is more efficient because on mildly hot days it can run at a lower setting, or "gear" (using less energy) for a longer period of time (avoiding being turned on and off constantly).

Another Benefit: Increased Comfort

Did you know it is possible to save money and be more comfortable? A two-stage air conditioner does just that. As the unit runs more often and for longer periods, air constantly moves through your home, creating more even cooling and eliminating bothersome hot spots.

Want more information on two-stage air conditioners and how they stack up against their single-stage counterparts? Schedule a free estimate with Cool Today.

Cool Today provides industry-leading and award-winning air conditioning, heating and air quality services to Sarasota, Florida, and the surrounding areas.

Posted in: Buyer's Guide

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