AC Tools

Variable Speed Compressors Increase Energy Efficiency and Save You Money

Staff Home Tips, HVAC

When you’re at a stoplight and the light turns green, do you put your foot down on the gas pedal as hard as you can and take off? Sure, you might do this sometimes if you’re in a hurry, but most of the time you take it nice and slow and gradually achieve your desired speed. And the reason behind this is simple- by accelerating as fast as you can you not only pose a risk to other drivers, but you also waste gasoline.

This same concept can be applied to your HVAC system. Most Houston homes have what is called a one-stage system. This means that the AC and heater have one option when it comes to heating and cooling- full speed. By exerting this much force every time the HVAC system turns on, it’s wasting a lot of energy, which leads to higher monthly bills. Now, there is a way to keep this from happening and to make your HVAC system more efficient all around, that is by installing a variable speed compressor.

“Say you have a 4-ton system, that is pretty common here in Houston. That means that every time your AC turns on it is using 4 tons of air, which is a lot and not necessary 70-80% of the time,” said John Moore Services HVAC Coach Lewis Yancey. “The only time you will need to use all 4 tons of air is during the hottest part of the day, usually between 12-5, and that is only if you are home. Any other part of the day using all that air is a waste.”

A variable speed compressor is able to reduce the blower speed of the compressor and changes a one-stage system to a two-stage system. It is able to sense the amount of air that your home needs, based on the outside temperature and time of day, and will only use the air and power which is absolutely necessary.

I don’t get it, what is the difference between a one-stage and two-stage system?

One-stage systems are the most common and up until recently were the only option homeowners had in HVAC systems. These systems are either on or off, meaning that they are always at full capacity–exerting  all the force, air and energy to run the system. that can only be on or off. With systems operating this way it causes you to pay for all that extra power and air that is being used and not really needed.

A two-stage system, on the other hand, gives you options. It adjusts the speed of the blower and compressor and only uses the air that it needs to to properly run your system at different times of the day. By only using what you need, you won’t waste energy and you will notice a substantial decrease in your monthly bills.

How does variable speed fit into this?

 Variable speed is what makes the system change from a one-stage to a two-stage. It allows the HVAC system to communicate with the thermostat and blower motor to determine just how much energy and air is needed. Think of it as the brain of your HVAC system, that will save money and help your system be more energy efficient.

“Variable speed does a lot of calculating and can tell by communicating with the thermostat and by the humidity level in the house how much air it needs to use at certain parts of the day,” said Yancey. “And it lowers the electric bills because it’s not causing your system to come on 100% of the time all the time. It is a great technology and has been out for a while but we are just now starting to see them become accessible to the everyday homeowner in price.”

The thing to remember about variable speed compressors is that it’s a system, not just a single piece. And to install it, a few key pieces of your HVAC system need to be replaced, like the furnace and compressor. If your system is older and it’s time to replace it, or if you would like to upgrade your home to become more energy efficient, then variable speed is the way to go. It helps with efficiency, airflow, humidity, and also saves you money every month.

If variable speed sounds like the right fit for you or you have any questions, give the expert HVAC technicians at John Moore Services a call. We can evaluate your current system and help you figure out the right way to save money while becoming more energy efficient. Give us a call today!