Single Stage vs. Variable Speed Heating and Cooling Systems

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If it’s time to replace your system, you may be busy gathering estimates from multiple companies. Many local heating and air conditioning companies in DaytonColumbus and Cincinnati offer free estimates. What you learn during each of these in-home consultations can vary. Many companies like to offer single-stage (a.k.a. traditional heating and air conditioning equipment), never explaining or taking the benefits of staged equipment into consideration. 

However it is important to know the difference between single-stage and staged HVAC equipment.

Single-Stage Heating/Cooling Equipment

First, let’s take a look at single-stage equipment:

Single stage heating and cooling equipment kicks on when the thermostat detects a need to heat or cool the air. The equipment will run until the thermostat is satisfied and it will shut off. These single-stage units are designed and built to operate as if they had to operate in either extreme cold or hot conditions. While this design is best for places like Alaska and Florida, single-stage equipment leaves much to be desired for homeowners here in Ohio. 

With single-stage heating and cooling, the system runs at full capacity – starting and stopping frequently. These frequent bursts in usage lead to more wear and tear on the equipment, leading to early breakdowns and shorter life-spans.

Shorter HVAC run times also leave plenty of time for your home’s air to settle, causing air temperature separation. Simply stated, this means your house is going to be prone to having hot and cold spots.  No one likes a drafty home in the winter or a room that can’t seem to cool down in the summer, but in Ohio, that’s what you can expect from installing single-stage heating/cooling equipment in your home. 

The constant on/off rotation of the equipment means there will be less opportunity to dehumidify and purify your air because you’re not giving the air the opportunity to continuously be cycled through your system. This will leave your home less comfortable and your air less cleaned.

Staged (or Variable Speed) Heating/Cooling Equipment

Next, take a look at how staged equipment operates:

One of the biggest benefits of considering staged heating and cooling systems is that they will offer more balanced temperatures throughout your home. This is accomplished as the staged systems are designed to run for longer intervals.  With greater air circulation through your system, the air in your home will not have a chance to settle.  This will lead to better temperature satisfaction.  This not only makes your home feel more comfortable, but it also cuts down on unnecessary utility usage.

Air circulation will also offer better air filtration – giving you the opportunity to breathe cleaner, healthier air.  Also, staged equipment offers better dehumidification which is what is going to make your home feel more comfortable in the summer months.   

On days where the weather is faring less than extreme, staged HVAC equipment will run at a lower stage. Why use utilities you don’t need on days where there is less temperature variance?

Although staged equipment comes at a greater upfront cost, with longer run times, you can actually expect less wear and tear on your furnace and air conditioner. This will lead to better durability and a longer lifespan, offering you (in the long run) better bang for the buck!

The Bottom Line: Which Equipment Is Right For Your Home?

By investing in single-stage equipment you will be able to save a little bit up front. There are many durable brands/models of single-stage equipment, and it can get you through your home air conditioning/heating project, but the way your home feels will continue to disappoint.

If you don’t improve the technology in your home, you won’t receive better results with the way your home feels. Remember, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results. You can do better, and the team at Logan A/C and Heat Services is here to help. We offer a variety of staged heating and cooling equipment, and we also have single stage systems we can show as well. We are here to offer you the best HVAC choices for your home, your budget, and your comfort needs; we promise to give you the best guidance possible throughout your entire heating and cooling project. 

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