Is a Two-Stage or Variable Speed Air Conditioner Worth It in Florida?

The short answer: yes, if it fits your budget and indoor comfort needs.

If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, chances are you’ve come across terms such as single-stage, two-stage, and variable speed cooling. These refer to how the AC’s compressor functions.

But what’s the difference between these three types of systems? And is a two-stage or variable speed AC worth it if you live in Orlando? 

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Single-Stage Air Conditioning

This is the most common type of AC system. Your existing unit is likely a single-stage AC. Units with these types of compressors have a sort of “one track mind” in that they are either on and running, or they’re off. This means they work at full capacity when turned on and shut off once your home reaches the indicated temperature setting. 

Because of this, single-stage ACs cycle on and off much more frequently as they try to keep your desired cooling level balanced; this creates greater strain on the compressor, increases the chances of short cycling, and may lead to more calls for emergency AC repair.

However, this doesn’t mean single-stage air conditioners are of lower quality compared to their counterparts. Single-stage units are a great choice for homeowners on a budget. If properly installed, these systems will provide a good level of indoor comfort without too many issues.

Benefits of Two-Stage & Variable Speed ACs

For those who are looking for something more efficient, two-stage and variable speed systems are worth considering. 

These units have fewer instances of cycling on and off, which allow you to enjoy:

  • Lower energy bills

  • More effective humidity control

  • More balanced indoor temperatures

So how do these systems work?

Two-stage AC: This technology features two speeds: high and low. When the weather is hot, two-stage ACs run at full capacity (high setting). When the weather turns mild or cooler, these units automatically reduce their power to a lower setting and run longer at about 60 to 70 percent capacity. This lower setting decreases the amount of on/off cycles and limits the burden on the compressor—resulting in less problems and breakdowns.

Variable speed AC: These units are almost similar to their two-stage counterparts, but work much more efficiently. They don’t just have a low or high setting; their working capacity depends on the particular indoor temperature your home needs. In some instances they are able to work on as low as 25 percent capacity. This doesn’t mean less cool air—rather, variable units provide gradual cooling by running almost continuously throughout the day. They may run all day without stopping if it’s scorching outside!

So Which One is Better for Your Home?

Two-stage and variable speed air conditioners are often more than double the cost of single-stage systems. Deciding if the former two are worth the investment will depend on your specific indoor comfort needs. 

If you don’t have humidity issues in your home and have found a reliable Orlando AC replacement professional who can ensure a quality installation, we recommend choosing a single-stage AC that will get the job done without straining your budget.

However, if you are struggling with high indoor humidity or you would like to lower your electricity bills over time, you may want to consider a variable speed or two-stage system. 

There is no “better” choice—only the best choice for your specific household needs.

4 Seasons Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc. is here to help you navigate through the many AC options. Call us at 407-295-9231 to schedule an appointment for AC installation or repair in Orlando.