7 Differences in Single- and Variable-Speed Air Conditioners

When you’re buying a new air conditioner for your home in Oak Ridge, TN, you want all the details of what’s available before investing. Many options are on the market today, so selecting the right one is often overwhelming. Before you make a choice, find out what the differences are between single- and variable-speed air conditioners.

Compressor Operations

One of the main differences between a single- and variable-speed air conditioner is the operation of the compressor. A single-speed AC system operates either on or off at one speed. Whenever the air conditioner is running, it’s operating at its highest capacity.

A variable-speed AC compressor adjusts through multiple settings depending on the cooling needs. If your comfort level changes, you can easily adjust the air conditioner to match your demands. So, with a variable-speed compressor, it’s not always running at the greatest capacity, making it beneficial for more precise comfort without using as much energy.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is another key difference you may notice when comparing these two air conditioning systems. A single-speed system will consume more energy because it’s cycling on and off more often. Therefore, this is a less-efficient choice between the two options.

If you’re concerned about how much energy your AC system uses, explore what the variable-speed option offers in efficiency. These types of systems will operate at low speeds for long periods. Because of this, you can expect to consume less energy.

Controlling Temperature

Temperature fluctuations are more noticeable with a single-speed AC because you can’t get as precise a setting. With a variable-speed AC system, there are smaller changes and more control over the exact temperature, which typically provides greater overall comfort.

Expected Lifespan

The constant cycling of the single-speed AC system decreases its lifespan compared to a variable-speed air conditioner. There’s less stress on a variable-speed compressor, so there’s a greater potential for it to last longer.

Maintenance Requirements

If you’re a homeowner who appreciates appliances that don’t need much maintenance, you may enjoy the simpler design of a single-speed AC system. Because of the lack of complexity in the system, maintenance requirements are often less frequent.

A variable-speed AC system has more features and technology. While it’s beneficial when the system is operating properly, it can also lead to more issues. You may find you’re doing more cleaning and repairs than with a single-speed AC system.

Noise Output

When your single-speed AC system operates, you can expect it to be a bit noisy. A single-speed air conditioner has two options for operation, including full capacity or off. So, when the system runs, you will notice it is slightly louder than the variable-speed versions available.

The smoother operation of the variable-speed AC system won’t produce as much noise. The sounds you’d hear with the shutdown and startup cycling aren’t an issue. You’ll get a quieter environment at home if you choose a variable-speed AC system.

Cost of Variable-Speed Air Conditioners

Perhaps one of the most important differences for you when getting a new air conditioner in Oak Ridge, TN, is the price for each type of system available. A basic single-speed AC system is usually the more budget-friendly option. This is the most attractive choice if you only have a little bit of money to invest up front in your new HVAC system.

A variable-speed air conditioner has a heftier price tag. However, it also comes with more features and better technology. So, you have to consider if the energy efficiency and monthly cost savings, along with the overall increase in comfort, are worth the extra cost.

If you’re looking for a new air conditioner in Oak Ridge, TN, our team is here to help you decide. We encourage you to contact Pol’s Heating and Cooling, LLC to learn more about the differences between single- and variable-speed AC systems and which one is right for your property. We’re proud to offer both types from American Standard.

Image provided by iStock

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