Different types of Air Conditioning Technologies
Single stage: A single-stage air conditioner has been around for while, it was the only technology available in the market for a long time. What it means is that, your air conditioning unit will work full power until it reaches the temperature desired set on the thermostat. Once the temperature set has been reached it will turn off and only turn on again as the room gets warmer and needs to be brought back to the temperature on the thermostat. There is no other setting, or intermediate, it’s either running in full power or off. This causes a high electricity bill due to the spikes of power required to run full power. It’s like when you are driving and steps on the gas pedal all the way, completely stops and continues in that driving mode. It will take a lot more gas as if you were to drive at a constant speed. Single stage equipment usually costs less money up front, but over time it will end up costing more because of operating and maintenance expenses.
Dual Stage: Two-stage air conditioners are the upgraded version of the single state units. As the world became more and more conscious of the need be green and save energy this type of air conditioning was developed. It has 3 settings, on, off and medium speed. If your home is warm and needs to cool down it will run full power until it reaches the temperature desired. As it reaches that temperature, instead of turning completely off, it will run at a lower speed to maintain that same temperature. It will not turn off, wait till the room gets hotter and turn on again at full blast. It runs for a longer time but at a much lower speed keeping the temperature from oscillating and the unit from tuning on and off multiple times a day. It is very similar to a ceiling fan; you can have it off, fast or medium speed. This type of unit avoids those spikes of power, that puts your equipment at strain, it uses a lower setting, and even though they run longer than a single stage it is more consistently, therefore extending the life of your equipment and it’s parts. Also it will remove humidity better, as it runs longer it removes more humidity, the less humidity the cooler the air feels.
Inverter Technology: It is a similar version of the dual stage but does not have 3 settings, on, off and medium. It simply runs at the speed necessary to reach the desired temperature and maintain it. There is no fixed speed or volume of refrigerant delivered. As it equipped with many sensors, it will detected the need and run accordingly. Different from the other ones, the rotation per minute of the motor is not fast or medium, it can also be low, very low and not even add refrigerant to the line, but simply run to remove humidity and therefore keep the room cool. There is no very hot or very cold room, no temperature swings, it runs to keep the desired temperature all the time. No ups and down. A microcontroller can sample the current ambient air temperature and adjust the speed of the compressor appropriately. The additional electronics and system hardware adds cost to the equipment and installation but can result in substantial savings in operating costs.
Singe Stage: Will work at 0% of power or 100%;
Dual Stage: 0%, 50% or 100% of power;
Inverter: Increments of 1% of power as needed – no set speed.
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if you want to spend less money upfront and more money in the future with maintenance and electricity bills or if you want to spend more money upfront and less money along the way.
This is basically how it works; the higher SEER rating your equipment has the more energy efficient it is. The more energy efficient it is the more money it costs. Keeping in mind that here in the east coast we don’t get the exact SEER rating numbers listed on the equipment. Those standards were based on air conditioning units running at outdoor temperature of 82 degrees or less, while here we have much hotter outdoor temperatures all year around. The SEER value varies depending on the temperature and humidity of where the air conditioner is located.
So when you buy a 16 SEER unit, you are not really getting a 16 SEER rating, but less. Until they change those standards, make sure to pick a high SEER rating unit.