Fewer words bring greater stress than, “It’s time to replace your HVAC system.” Ugh. And it’s not just the expense that’s unpleasant; it’s all the decision-making, too. Like most home upgrades, replacing your HVAC system means sorting through countless options and price points, and it’s tough to know which ones are worth the money.
We know you want to feel confident about your HVAC investment, so today we wanted to give an insider’s look into one big decision you’ll be weighing: Whether a variable speed unit is right for your home, your family… and your wallet.
Variable Speed Equipment Basics
You probably have a single-stage HVAC system. This system operates at full capacity, regardless of moderate temperature changes in your home. It kicks on or off when the temperature in your home doesn’t match the setting on your thermostat. Pretty basic, right?
Variable speed equipment, on the other hand, enables your HVAC system to adjust its capacity according to your home’s temperature demand. While single-stage systems are either 100% on or 100% off, variable speed equipment runs almost continuously and uses various levels of energy to meet your home’s temperature needs. This offers three major benefits.
Benefit #1: Energy Savings
Single-stage HVAC systems waste energy by running at 100% capacity when they don’t have to. By contrast, HVACs with variable speed compressors have more flexibility in the amount of energy they use.
For example, you might have to run at 100% capacity on the hottest summer afternoons. But on milder days, your HVAC would only need to run at 30% capacity to give you the same indoor temperature. You wouldn’t be wasting 70% of your HVAC’s energy output by running 100% on those cooler days!
Benefit #2: Less Wear and Tear
Single-speed HVAC systems work at 100% capacity the entire time they’re running—and going from completely off to 100% on in a split second requires a significant influx of energy. This whole process increases the wear-and-tear on your system and speeds up the timeline for repairs and replacement.
Variable speed equipment is generally easier on your system, improving efficiency and lengthening its lifespan.
- Variable speed equipment runs almost continuously, eliminating the big “jump” from 0% power to 100% power. It also varies the output so that you might jump from 0% to 30% capacity when it kicks on.
- Variable speed equipment decreases the work needed to maintain the temperature of your home by delivering steady, continuous heating or cooling.
Benefit #3: Improved Comfort
Saving energy and easing demand cuts your long-term costs, which makes your wallet more comfortable. Variable speed equipment can also help you be more physically comfortable.
- You’ll get more consistent indoor comfort. Variable speed equipment can decrease the temperature swings and increase the time spent at one consistent temperature.
- You’ll be less humid. Variable speed equipment decreases the start-and-stop cycling that you find with single-speed units. The longer your system runs—the less it starts and stops—the more moisture is taken out of the air. The longer run time with your variable speed HVAC means less humidity in your home.
- You’ll have cleaner air. Similar to humidity control, the longer your system runs the more air can run through your filter. Variable speed HVAC models can increase your air quality by filtering more air through the system as it runs nearly continuously.
Sounds amazing, right? So what’s the catch? You’ve probably already guessed it: As the pinnacle of HVAC technology, variable speed equipment can cost four times as much as single-speed HVAC units—or more. Although they slowly make up for the cost difference in energy savings and comfort, the upfront investment is significant.
Learn More About Variable Speed Equipment
If it’s time to replace your current HVAC system, variable speed equipment is certainly something to consider. As your Northwest Arkansas, Fort Smith River Valley & Southwest Missouri HVAC pros, we can answer all your questions and make the best recommendation for your unique situation. Call us today!