If you can swing the high upfront cost, then yes, most AZ homeowners will find that variable-speed technology is “worth it” when compared to single-stage/single-speed ACs.
Note: The term “variable-speed” can refer to two different components in your AC: the compressor and/or the blower motor. If you’re looking at an AC that’s labeled “variable-speed”, be sure to ask a licensed technician or manufacturer which component(s) has “variable-speed technology”.
In this post, we’ll cover:
Note: To be clear, the terms “single-stage” and “two-stage” refer to AC compressors, while “single-speed” and “multi-speed” refer to blower motors.
Think of single-stage/single-speed units as operating like a basic light switch: they work at one level—HIGH, which means when they’re on, they’re going full blast at 100% capacity.
Variable-speed technology works more like a dimmer switch: they can adjust to any operating capacity needed. In fact, variable-speed units can operate anywhere between 10% and 150% capacity, making them much more efficient at keeping Arizona homes cool in the summer.
Imagine a scorching 115° July day here in Phoenix. Let’s look at how a single-speed/single-stage unit would handle the extreme temperature versus a variable-speed unit:
To help you visualize the difference in performance, the chart below shows a home when it’s at a set temperature.
A single-speed/single-stage unit (yellow line) always runs at 100% capacity and can only control the temperature of your home by turning ON then OFF frequently. This results in imprecise temperatures. A variable-speed unit (grey line) can ramp up or down in capacity to provide precise temperature control.
The cost to install a variable-speed AC unit is about $4,000–$8,000 more than other units. The total cost of a variable-speed AC installation is usually around $12,000 to $16,000.
But variable-speed technology isn’t the only factor that can raise the upfront cost. In fact, the overall cost of an AC installation varies depending on many factors, including:
Need a more exact quote? Just contact us and we’ll give you a free estimate to install a variable-speed AC in your home.
If you can’t swing the high upfront cost of a variable-speed AC but want more comfort than a single-stage/single-speed unit, consider one of the mid-range unit options below:
Let’s look at how two-stage and multi-speed units compare to variable-speed technology…
Two-stage/multi-speed units keep your home closer to the set temperature than single-stage/single-speed ones, but still don’t offer as precise temperatures as variable-speed units.
As you can see, a two-stage/multi-speed unit (red line) still doesn’t provide as precise temperatures as a variable-speed unit (grey line).
But, remember the wildly fluctuating yellow line of single-stage/single-speed units in the earlier graphic? Compared to that, two-stage/multi-speed units provide longer run times and more precise temperatures.
Just give us a call. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. We can also schedule an appointment with one of our trusted techs to give you a free installation estimate for your home.
For more info about installing a variable-speed AC, check out our AC installation service page.