What is Two-Stage Cooling AC Technology?

There are lots of things to consider when choosing the right air conditioner unit for your home. One term that you’re likely to come across in your research is “two-stage cooling”. What makes two-stage cooling different than standard air conditioning? What is two-stage air conditioning? Here’s what you need to know about the technology – and whether you should get it or not.

What is Two-Stage Cooling?

Two-stage cooling means that the unit has a compressor with two-levels of operation. It can be set to high for really hot days in the summer or low for mild days during the rest of the year. Given that the low setting should be enough to keep the average house cool most of the time, two-stage air conditioner units run for longer and generate an even temperature.

The Benefits of Two-Stage Cooling

1. Efficiency and Control
Because a two-stage unit is able to run for longer it means that they are quieter and more energy efficient. They’re also better at control humidity in an environment than a standard unit. Two-stage conditioners and heat-pumps are able to remove up to twice as much moisture from the air as a standard unit. This helps to control pollution and mold, which are more likely to develop in high humidity environments.

2. More Accurate
Temperature Control
Air conditioning is less effective on mild days when limited to just one mode of operation. By the time the air temperature has dropped below the settings on the unit, the compressor kicks in and starts to blast your home with cool air. The result is that the temperature goes past the target point and the unit as a whole wastes a lot of energy to make it happen.

Even with hot days the problem is still there. Without the ability to run at lower speeds, wall mounted and portable air conditioners have to turn off completely once they reach the desired setting. Temperatures start to creep up and you could be uncomfortable for a while before the AC unit turns itself back on to reduce the temperature again.

Two-stage cooling solves both problems in a single package. Temperatures will never be lower or higher than you want them to be. Units with a dual-stage compressor can keep temperatures to within 1 or 2 degrees of the desired setting.

3. Saves Money
An energy efficient unit is one that saves you money. The closer the temperature is to the desired setting, the less hard your air conditioner has to work. That means you save a lot of energy, which translates into saving a lot of money. You might have to pay more up-front for an energy efficient dual-stage unit but they pay for themselves in reduced energy bills.

Should You get a Two-Stage AC Unit?

Whether or not a two-stage unit is right for you can depend on your location and budget. It makes sense to have one in an area with a lot of humidity, but you also want to ask yourself what you can reasonably afford. Single-stage units are cheaper while dual-stage units save money in the long-run.

Steven Cooper

Refrigeration and air conditioning engineer with over thirty years hands on experience.