Ensuring you install the best air conditioner for your home is incredibly important. Not only is it a significant investment, but it’s also a key component of your home. Air conditioners create a comfortable and healthier environment in your home. Additionally, they’re a necessity in certain areas during the harsh summer months.

There are many factors to consider when researching potential air conditioners to install in your home to get the best unit for your needs. One of the most critical factors is deciding whether you want a single- or variable-speed system.

What Is a Single-speed Air Conditioner?

Single-speed air conditioners are the simplest type of whole-house air conditioners on the market. They are only active when the temperature within the home is above the desired temperature. In addition, they do not include high, medium, or low-speed options. Single-speed air conditioners always run at full power when they’re active.

What Is a Variable-speed Air Conditioner?

Unlike single-speed air conditioners, variable-speed air conditioners have several fan settings to constantly adjust the temperature within your home to a comfortable level. While single-speed air conditioners frequently turn off and on, variable-speed units are almost always active.

They activate their highest settings when the temperatures within the home are much higher than the desired temperature. When the internal temperature is closer to the selected range, variable-speed air conditioners shift to lower speeds to maintain consistent temperature control.

The Pros of Using a Single-speed Air Conditioner

Single-speed units are extremely popular whole-house air conditioning systems for a variety of reasons. For example, they’re the most cost-effective whole-house air conditioner option.

The units themselves run cheaper than other, more complex systems. Most single-speed air conditioners are between $500 and $2,000 cheaper than variable-speed systems. Installation for these systems also tends to be less expensive because they’re not as complicated to install as variable-speed units.

Professional repair work also tends to be cheaper on single-speed systems. Parts for single-speed air conditioning units are easy to find and very affordable. Professional HVAC technicians can easily repair any single-speed air conditioner issue, making labor and time fees minimal.

Finally, repair and maintenance work on single-speed air conditioners is usually completed much faster than with variable-speed systems because of their simpler designs.

The Pros of Using a Variable-speed Air Conditioner

Variable-speed air conditioners have many advantages that single-speed units don’t have. For instance, you’ll be able to create a much more stable temperature in your home, making it more comfortable consistently.

A variable-speed system shifts between several fan speeds and stays on longer to regulate the temperature better throughout the day. A single-speed system provides sporadic bursts of cooling that create numerous periods where rooms are overly warm before the system kicks back on.

Variable-speed systems are much more energy efficient than single-speed units. While variable-speed air conditioners stay active much longer than single-speed systems, they use this energy wisely. The unit constantly works to keep temperatures regulated to avoid needing to power down and up repeatedly. Booting up a system constantly wastes energy much more than keeping the system on at lower speeds, allowing you to save energy and money.

There is not nearly as much noise generated from a variable-speed air conditioner compared to a single-speed unit. Variable-speed units can run at lower and quieter fan settings to keep every room cool while creating as little disruption as possible.

Homes with variable-speed systems also tend to have healthier environments than homes with single-speed air conditioning units. Since variable-speed systems constantly circulate the air instead of being inactive for long periods, the air gets filtered more regularly. Additionally, the humidity is constantly kept at a healthy level with variable-speed systems.

Finally, variable-speed air conditioning units tend to last much longer and require fewer repairs than single-speed systems. Since they don’t shift on and off nearly as much as single-speed units, variable-speed systems don’t suffer from as much wear and tear.

The Cons of Using a Single-speed Air Conditioner

While single-speed air conditioning units are great options for many homes, they have some drawbacks. For instance, single-speed systems aren’t very energy efficient.

This may seem strange, considering single-speed units don’t stay on as long as variable-speed air conditioners. The issue with single-speed air conditioners is that they are constantly turning off and on. It takes much more energy to power a unit on than to stay running at a lower speed.

Noise is also a significant downside to single-speed air conditioners. Since single-speed systems are always running at maximum power with no option to reduce fan speed, they are much louder than variable-speed units.

Finally, single-speed air conditioners don’t cool your home as consistently as a variable-speed system. Once the desired temperature has been met, the unit shuts off until it reaches a high enough temperature to trip back on. This leaves your home in a loop of being very cool for a while, getting steadily hotter, and then becoming very cool again instead of staying at a comfortable temperature throughout the day.

What Are the Cons of Variable-speed Air Conditioners?

There are many amazing benefits to installing a variable-speed air conditioning system, but they also have their fair share of disadvantages. First, variable-speed air conditioners are usually much more expensive than single-speed units. In addition, the replacement parts and repair work for variable-speed systems are frequently more expensive than for single-speed systems.

Since variable-speed air conditioners are constantly circulating the air, the filters need to be replaced more frequently on these units than with single-speed systems.

The more complex system of variable-speed air conditioners also tends to make repair and maintenance work take longer. However, considering variable-speed systems don’t typically need as much repair or maintenance work as single-speed units, the prolonged service times could be viewed as more of a trade-off than a negative.

Finally, there’s the chance that this type of system may be too much for your home. Variable-speed air conditioners are best suited for homes in warmer climates that require consistent temperature regulation over long periods. If you live in an area where the summers aren’t normally harsh and the rest of the year is fairly cool, spending the extra money to install a variable-speed system might not be worth it.

If you need additional assistance selecting an air conditioning unit for your home, you can rely on our knowledgeable and skilled technicians at Thermo Direct to help you find the best choice. Once you’ve made your decision, we’ll install and maintain the new unit professionally with no hassle.

In addition to installing and maintaining air conditioning systems, we provide installation, maintenance, and repair services for heaters, air filtration systems, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air ducts, generators, plumbing, ceiling fans, circuit breakers, and much more. To learn more about any of the services we provide to the areas in and around Raleigh, North Carolina, contact us at Thermo Direct today.

company icon