Summers here in Houma and South Louisiana can be unbearable—and even dangerous—without dependable air conditioning. However, if you’re looking to install or replace an AC unit, it’s important to remember that not all units are equal. You might want to consider a variable-speed air conditioner.
The air handler in a traditional air conditioner only blows air at one speed: high. A variable-speed air conditioner, on the other hand, can run at different speeds. This small difference leads to a multitude of benefits for users of variable-speed AC units. In this blog post, we’re going to review these in greater detail.
For a free in-home estimate on a new air conditioner here in South Louisiana, contact us today.
What is a variable-speed air conditioner?
Whether you drive an automatic or stick-shift car, your vehicle needs to shift gears at different speeds to avoid energy waste and extra wear-and-tear. If you ran your car in higher gear at lower speed all the time, you’d not only waste gasoline, but you’d also put more wear on your car’s engine and transmission. The same basic concept applies to your air conditioner.
For decades, air conditioners only came in one speed: on. If the air conditioner was off, it was not moving at all. If it was on, it ran at its top speed. However, this binary isn’t always useful. Your air conditioner actually spends most of its time trying to maintain the temperature of your home, not drastically change it. When it tries to do so at full-speed, it has to constantly start, overshoot the target, turn off, and then turn back on again when your home heats back up.
All that starting and stopping, especially in quick succession, is known in our industry as “short-cycling.” Since AC units use the most energy when first starting up (much like turning the ignition in your car!), short cycling wastes energy. To continue our analogy, it’s better for the air conditioner to go into cruise control to maintain current temperatures.
That’s where variable-speed systems come into the picture. This feature allows air conditioners to, for lack of a better term, switch gears. If the AC unit just needs to keep your home at 75, it can cool the home down from 80 degrees at top speed, and then slow down to maintain the desired temperature. When paired with a smart thermostat, your AC unit can also run at lower speeds to adjust temperature ahead of time.
Not only does this result in less energy use (more on this below), but it also reduces wear and the noise generated by your air conditioner. It’s a great innovation.
What are the benefits of a variable-speed air conditioner?
Because a traditional air conditioner has one speed, it turns on and off to manage the temperature. This can use a lot of energy, and can mean higher costs.
An AC unit with a variable-speed air handler has more options to manage your home’s environment. Once your home is cool, it can drop to a lower setting to keep your preferred temperature and not use as much energy.
Learn more ways to cut down your home’s summer energy bills.
2. Cooling consistency
The variety of settings also means that your home’s temperature may not fluctuate as much as with a traditional unit. A traditional unit switches on once the temperature rises, runs until the temperature drops to the set number, then stops. Then, the temperature rises again, and the cycle begins all over.
This constant change can be uncomfortable. In contrast, a variable-speed air conditioner can better maintain your preferred temperature by switching to a lower setting once the ideal temperature is reached.
3. Operating quietly
Traditional AC units kick on with a roar of air that continues throughout the cycle. This is due to their high speed, and this sound can be irritating or startling if especially loud.
In contrast, variable-speed units are much quieter because of their lower speeds—and because they turn on-and-off less frequently. This means no more annoying background hum or sudden rushes of air.
4. Air quality improvement
Longer and less frequent run cycles not only mean better energy-efficiency, better temperature control, and quieter operating noise. They also mean your home’s air quality may improve.
When the air conditioning runs, air passes through filters, which means the longer it runs, the longer the air is being filtered. This can be especially useful if you live in a dusty or high-pollution location, or have allergies.
Give Trahan’s a call for a free in-home estimate
If you’re in need of air conditioning installation, Trahan’s Heating & Air Conditioning is here to help. Contact us to schedule your free in-home estimate on a new variable air conditioner from Trane, professionally installed by our team. We also offer financing with approved credit.