Variable Capacity ACs: The Future of Home Cooling

June 12, 2023
Variable Capacity ACs The Future of Home Cooling | St. Louis AC Services | AC Installation | HVAC Contractor Near ME

Variable Capacity ACs: The Future of Home Cooling. If you’re considering replacing your air conditioner, you’ve likely heard the term “variable capacity” used at some point. But what are variable capacity ACs? Why are they taking over the home cooling market?

While single stage ACs operate with an on/off function and two-stage ACs have high/low/off settings, variable capacity ACs use the precise amount of energy needed to help your home reach and maintain a specific temperature. By scaling their energy use as needed, variable capacity systems help you increase your energy efficiency and eliminate many sources of discomfort in your home.

New technologies are consistently making home cooling more efficient and comfortable – don’t get left behind. SmartHouse Heating & Cooling is a full service HVAC company serving the Greater St. Louis area. To learn more about variable capacity ACs and what they can do for your home, call SmartHouse today at 314-648-3162, text us at 314-310-2242, or contact us online.

Understanding Single-State, Two-Stage, and Variable Capacity ACs

In general, there are three types of ACs on the market:

  1. Single stage ACs operate at 100% capacity until a desired temperature setting is reached and then turn off. That means that your AC has to ramp up to full power just to lower the temperature 1°F. It also means that in hotter weather you’re likely to experience cycles of warm, cold, warm, and cold indoor temperatures again. The continual ramping up and down of single stage ACs can cause your energy bills to soar without you ever being truly comfortable.
  2. Two-stage ACs allow for greater efficiency and temperature control than single stage units. When on, two-stage ACs have a high speed stage as well as a lower one that uses about 60-70% of the unit’s energy capacity. By not cycling on and off as much, two-stage units reduce wear and tear on the AC and offer greater efficiency and temperature uniformity than single stage units.
  3. Variable capacity ACs run almost constantly instead of cycling on and off or between two different modes. By using the minimum amount of energy required to reach a certain temperature, they lower your energy bills and allow your home to stay at a constant, comfortable temperature.

Why Variable Capacity ACs Are Taking Over the Home Cooling Industry

As many homeowners’ single stage and two-stage units reach their expiration date and the federal government increases its efficiency standards, we expect variable capacity ACs to far outsell traditional units in as little as 6 years. There are several reasons why:

Higher Efficiency and Lower Energy Costs

Just as your car gets more miles per gallon on the highway than in a traffic jam, variable capacity ACs use less energy since they’re not constantly turning on and off. Variable capacity ACs don’t experience the peaks and valleys in energy usage associated with single stage and two-stage systems, allowing for more consistent and ultimately lower energy usage.

Better Comfort and Indoor Air Quality

With a variable capacity AC, you won’t be bothered by intermittent periods of being not quite cool enough or not quite warm enough. Instead of fidgeting with the thermostat in an attempt to negotiate your comfort level with a traditional AC system, you can set the thermostat to one temperature and likely forget all about it for the rest of the day.

Central AC systems also work to control the humidity in your home, prevent the growth of mold and mildew, and filter out harmful particles in the air. Most well-maintained single stage and two-stage ACs do a fine job of both when they’re running. But, when it’s not hot outside and they’re not needed to actively cool your home, they don’t filter or remove moisture from the air either. As variable capacity ACs run almost constantly the air in your home will be fresher and you’ll achieve greater indoor air quality.

Quieter Operation

When a single stage or two-stage unit turns on it ramps up to full power, which can cause a lot of noise pollution inside your home. Because variable capacity ACs don’t usually run at full capacity, most homeowners won’t even hear the low hum unless they’re standing right next to it.

Lower Environmental Impact

Variable capacity ACs reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using less electricity, making them a great option for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint and keep ahead of the federal government’s energy efficiency standards. Because of its lower environmental impact, you’ll also receive federal tax credits if you opt for one of the highest-efficiency variable capacity ACs.

Our preferred variable capacity AC products are ENERGY STAR certified, and can help maximize the benefits of other environmentally friendly technologies used in your home’s infrastructure like solar panels or geothermal systems.

What’s the Downside? Why Doesn’t Everyone Have a Variable Capacity AC?

The “downsides” of variable capacity ACs are a higher upfront cost and greater installation complexity than single stage or two-stage units. However, the higher cost is more than made up for with a more efficient AC, and is often offset by rebates and incentives for higher efficiency systems. Experienced HVAC contractors like SmartHouse will know how to install a variable capacity AC correctly. So, why aren’t all your neighbors raving about their newfound comfort with variable capacity ACs?

Most of the time, it’s simply because they don’t know about them. In our experience, most homeowners want variable AC systems once they understand their benefits and value. Well-maintained AC units should last between 15 and 20 years, so most homeowners spend well over a decade before they even consider new options on the market. If your AC is 3, 7, or 12 years old, it may just make more sense for you to keep your unit at peak performance for a while longer instead of replacing it. At SmartHouse, our technicians only recommend solutions that make sense specifically for you and your home. If we don’t think it’s in your best interest to upgrade your system now, we’ll tell you so and offer advice on how you can improve your comfort and efficiency in other ways.

If the upfront cost of a variable capacity AC is a prohibitive factor, SmartHouse offers financing options so you can get the cooling efficiency you need now and pay comfortably over time.

Call SmartHouse For Your Variable Capacity AC in St. Louis

If you’re in need of a new AC system, don’t let the future pass you by. By making smart decisions and trusting in the skill and experience of a trustworthy St. Louis HVAC company like SmartHouse, your home can achieve an entirely new standard of comfort and efficiency. To discuss how a variable capacity AC can benefit you and your St. Louis home, call SmartHouse today at 314-648-3162, send us a message at 314-310-2242, or schedule your service online.