Fort Worth Heating and Air Conditioning – Single-Stage, Two-Stage, and Variable Speed

Fort Worth Heating and Air Conditioning – If you are looking to have your aging central heating and air unit replaced with a newer, more energy efficient heating and cooling system and you are wondering if you should choose a single-stage, two-stage, or variable speed HVAC unit then continue reading. You will need to understand what the differences are between these very different types of systems and how they operate. We will go in depth with not only how they are different, but what each type can bring to the table when it comes to energy efficiency and options. However, first, let’s go over air conditioner capacity.

What is Air Conditioner Capacity?

First off, air conditioner capacity is measured in tons. So if you have a 3-ton capacity air conditioner in your home then surely it does not weigh 4 tons. So what do tons really mean? Obviously, we understand that tons in air conditioning do not refer to the weight of the system. In truth, the number represents the amount of heat that the system will be able to remove from the house within one hours’ time.
For example, a 3-ton air conditioning system will be able to remove 36,000 British thermal units, otherwise known as BTUs from the inside of the home per hour. BTU is measured roughly by the amount of heat that would be generated by one match stick from ignition till it has burned out.

Where Did Ton Measurement for Air Conditioning Come From?

Before air conditioning was invented, homeowners who could afford to would purchase large slabs of ice in order to cool their homes during the summer time and to also keep their food and drinks cool. In order to obtain the ice to begin with, the ice would be harvested from frozen lakes and rivers during the winter time or shipped in by boat. By the mid 1800’s, nearly 52,000 tons of ice traveled by ship and train to 28 cities across the states.

In order to melt a one pound block of ice at 32 degrees it would take 143 BTUs to do so. In other words, if 1-ton weighs 2000 pounds then it would take 286,000 BTUs to melt the 1-ton block of ice. Spread this out over the course of the day and it roughly comes out to a little under 12,000 BTUs per hour and this is how the formula for tonnage came to be.

What is Single-Stage Heating and Cooling?

One of the most common types of central heating and air conditioning systems that can be found in Fort Worth, TX homes are single-stage units. A single-stage system makes use of a single-stage compressor. The compressor found in the system will kick on when indoor temperatures exceed the temperature setting that is adjusted on the thermostat. For example, if the thermostat temperature setting is dialed into 67 degrees, the air conditioner will kick on at any time that the indoor temperatures exceed 67 degrees. Once the indoor air temperature is conditioned back down to a crisp, cool 67 degrees the system will turn off until the indoor temperatures rise above the thermostats setting again.

Single stage compressors will always operate at 100% capacity. This means that if you have a 4-ton single stage compressor then it will always operate at full capacity when it turns on. Operating at full capacity is not always ideal. Take for example, if the outdoors temperature is just high enough that it causes the indoor temperatures in your Fort Worth home to continually rise by just one or two degrees and those one or two degrees is just enough to go beyond the thermostats setting and force the compressor to kick on. Since a single-stage air conditioning unit will always operate at full capacity until it meets the temperature setting it will utilize its full capacity to do so. This will quickly lower the temperatures in the home but it is not energy efficient when it may require much less BTUs in order to maintain the indoor temperatures.

What is Two-Stage Heating and Cooling?

As the name implies, a two-stage compressor will have two settings: high and low. Two-stage cooling is also often referred to as multi-stage heating and air. When it comes to flexibility and energy efficiency; a two-stage air conditioner sits tightly in the middle between a one-stage and a variable stage compressor. When a two-stage compressor is set in the high-stage it will operate at 100% capacity and when it is in the low-stage it will reduce speed by 35% or more. Usually, two-stage compressors will only operate in the high-stage setting around 25% of the time and when in the low-stage it is able to remove much more indoor moisture from the inside of the Fort Worth home than when in the high-stage. Two-stage systems provide more comfort for homeowners and use less electricity than single-stage systems do.

What is Variable Speed Heating and Cooling?

Variable speed air conditioning is the latest innovation in Fort Worth heating and air conditioning. It is the crème of the crop for energy efficiency when compared to both single-stage and two-stage compressors. Unlike the previous two technologies, a variable speed heating and air system will not simply turn on or off. It will run at multiple speeds depending on how much conditioned air the Fort Worth home will need. This is what makes variable speed compressors much more energy efficient than with single and two-stage compressors.

A lot of electricity is wasted when a single-stage and two-stage compressors cycles on and off. Variable speed compressors do not have this problem and do not cycle on and off unless electricity is not being delivered to the system. A variable-speed compressor works much like the gas pedal will in your automobile. When you apply pressure to the gas pedal, you speed up, when you let off, it slows down, but as long as the vehicle is in motion, it does not stop as long as some amount of pressure is applied to the gas pedal.

Since the variable-speed air conditioner is able to operate at multiple speeds without the need to cycle on and off, it delivers the most efficient savings in electricity. It is able to deliver just the right amount of conditioned air to a home that is needed in order to meet the temperature requirements at the thermostat. Due to the nature of the compressor, it is able to deliver more even indoor temperatures, operates much more quietly when running at lower speeds, and it is able to remove more humidity from the indoor environment than its counterparts.

Energy Efficiencies for Single-Stage, Two-Stage, and Variable-Speed

In order to determine the efficiencies we will need to convert tonnage to BTU/hr and BTU/hr to wattage. A 1-ton heating and air system is equivalent to 12,000 BTU/hr and 12,000 BTU/hr is equivalent to 3,516.85 watts or in other words, 3.5KW.

Therefore, if you have a 4-ton single-stage air conditioning in your Fort Worth, TX home then if it is in operation it will consume 14KW per hour. Keep in mind, a single-stage air conditioner always operates at 100% capacity, so when it is on it is consuming the full amount of KW per hour. If the compressor for your 4-ton single-stage air conditioner is in operation 10 hours a day then it will consume 140KW of electricity per day.
Two-stage compressors have two settings: high and low. On average, a two-stage compressor will operate at the low-stage setting 75% of the time and while it is in that setting it consumes around 35% less electricity than when in the high-stage. So with that in mind, a 4-ton two-stage air conditioner in your Fort Worth, TX home that is in operation 10 hours per day will consume on average 91KW worth of electricity per day.

Variable speed compressors, able to operate at multiple speeds, will vary greatly depending on many factors. Such as, how insulated the Fort Worth, TX home is, how hot it is outside, outside vegetation providing shade, and much more. The same also applies to single-stage and two-stage. The previous two numbers for both single and two-stage were based upon if the system is in operation 10 hours a day. However, unlike variable speed technology, single-stage only operates at 100% capacity, and two-stage operates at either 100% capacity or at around 65% capacity.

Many manufacturers will state that variable speed compressors can save you anywhere between 50 to 65% on your electrical usage if not even more. This is due to the fact that the compressor in a variable speed system is able to operate at anywhere between 0% to 100% capacity. With that in mind then you should pay close attention to the SEER ratings for the different air conditioners.

What is the SEER Rating?

The SEER rating, also known as the seasonal energy efficiency ratio is a mandate that the federal government passed back in 2006. This mandate required that all new central heating and air units must have at least a SEER-13 rating. If you live in a warmer climate, such as the case with us here in Fort Worth, Texas, it is recommended that you go with at least a SEER-16 rating system. It is estimated that the savings between a SEER-13 to SEER-16 will save you around $2,000 over the life of the system and this is based upon a life cycle of 10 years, the cost of the unit, installation, and service costs over the life cycle.

In order to determine the SEER for a specific air conditioner you will divide the systems rated BTU by the stated SEER rating in order to calculate the amount of watts it will generally consumer per hour. As an example, if you are in need of a 4-ton heating and air system for your Fort Worth home and the unit you are checking out has a SEER-16 rating then you would divide 48,000 Btu (4-ton) by 16 and that gives you 3000, or 3KW per hour.

Comparing SEER Ratings for Air Conditioners

By now, you should have a decent idea behind the differences between single-stage, two-stage and variable speed technology. With the enforced SEER rating you can imagine that most new single-stage systems will have a rating around SEER-13. However, most homes in Fort Worth, TX have central heating and air units that were installed before the SEER mandate and the average SEER rating for these older, inefficient systems is around SEER-10. Below we go over the SEER ratings for a few different Trane models rated at 4-tons and the savings you could receive from each model if you have an older heating and unit in your home.

• Trane XR13 – up to SEER-14.5, a savings of $3,000 or more
• Trane XR14 – Up to SEER-16, a savings of $4,000 or more
• Trane XR16i – Up to SEER-16.5, a savings of $4,300 or more
• Trane XR16 – Up to SEER-17, a savings of $5,000 or more
• Trane XR17 – Up to SEER-18, a savings of $5,700 or more
• Trane XV20i – Up to SEER-21, a savings of $7,300 or more

For example, if you have an old, inefficient 4-ton heating and air unit in your home that was installed back in 2006. If you upgraded now to a more modern, energy efficient Trane XV20i Variable Speed system you could save yourself around $7,300 or more over the next 10 years. That is a savings of $730 per year or more. With today’s technology and energy efficiency standards, a Trane XV20i will pay for itself in less than 10 years.

One such comment, by a homeowner in Fort Worth, TX had a 4-ton Trane XL20i (a little bit less efficient than the XV20i), in a 2,900 sq. ft. home. This homeowner averaged $200 a month during the summer time and after the installation of the XL20i, his electric bill during those months the next year were reduced by 50%.

Air Conditioning Installation in Fort Worth, TX

After reading the above, it goes without saying that variable speed air conditioners are the way to go if you are looking to save the most per month, leave less of a carbon footprint, and recoup your costs the fastest. The only downside with variable speed units is the initial upfront costs. They are quite a bit pricey when compared to single and two-stage systems. However, they do pay for themselves as the above shows.

If you are looking for a new air conditioning installation in Fort, Worth or surrounding areas then we highly recommend the XV20i variable speed unit by Trane. If you would like to learn more about the system or if you have any questions or other concerns then you can give Metro Express Service a call and we will be more than happy to assist you and answer all of your questions and schedule you for a new heating and air install for your Fort Worth home. If you jump on the opportunity right now for a new air conditioning installation in Fort Worth, TX, you can receive up to $3,000 in instant rebates and on top of that we also can offer 0% interest for up to 48 months for payments as low as $98 a month.

Metro Express Service is the premier experts for heating and air in Fort Worth, Texas and the surrounding areas. Whether you are looking for HVAC repair or service in Fort Worth we have got you covered.

New Install or Air Conditioning Repair in Fort Worth, TX

As discussed above, most homes in the Fort Worth area have central heating and air units that were installed around 2006 or earlier. If your HVAC system was installed before 2010, then you should seriously consider looking into having new air conditioning installation in Fort Worth, TX. However, if you have a newer system, certain components of the system may still be under warranty and if so then you most likely would rather opt for ac repair in Fort Worth rather than outright purchasing a new system.

If your units compressor for your heating and air in Fort Worth Texas is not under warranty and has broken down then when you factor in the costs associated with outright replacing the compressor to purchasing a new heating and air unit; you may be better off purchasing a newer, more energy efficient heating and air system.

Fort Worth Air Conditioning Service and Tune-ups

One of the best methods to ensure that your Fort Worth home’s heating and air unit last you a very long time is to take care of it. Unfortunately, heating and cooling systems are one of the most abused components in homeowner’s homes due to the fact that usually they are ignored until something breaks down. Next to vehicles, central heating and cooling units may very well be the next most expensive appliance in your home and as with your vehicle; it routinely gets oil changes and tune-ups to ensure that it lasts you a long time.

Fort Worth homeowners should seriously consider having an annual ac tune up. With annual maintenance provided to your home’s heating and air in Fort Worth, TX, then you will lessen the likelihood of needing air conditioner repair. Annual A/C tune ups will help keep your system working efficiently, and the technician will be able to catch and resolve problems before they become a major problem later on down the road. It is better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to taking care of your home’s heating and cooling unit. Lessen the likelihood of needing AC repair in Fort Worth, Texas and worse off, needing new A/C installation in Fort Worth, TX due to not taking care of the heating and air unit.

Decisions. Decisions.

At this point you should understand the differences between single-stage, two-stage, and variable-speed technology. You should also see at this point just how vast the differences are in energy efficiency and long-term savings that can be had between the three different technologies also. With a dash of a little of bit of history behind air conditioning and how you can recoup your initial costs over the long run. If you are looking for a Fort Worth heating and cooling contractor or company that can set you up with a new air conditioning installation in Fort Worth, TX then you will need to look no further than the experts at Metro Express Service. Whether you are needing a 1-ton or even 4-ton heating and air system, we have got you covered. No matter what manufacturer or model system you decide to go with we can help install the AC unit for you in your Fort Worth home.

Metro Express Service is one of the most trusted and leading HVAC contractors in Fort Worth, TX and the metropolitan area. Our professional and courteous heating and air conditioner technicians can provide you with not only new A/C installation service but also air conditioner repair and A/C maintenance also.

About Metro Express Service in Fort Worth, Texas

Founded in 1987, Metro Express Service has been serving the Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington, Texas metropolitan area with a rock solid commitment to professional heating and cooling services and superb customer service. Providing Fort Worth heating and cooling to both residential and light commercial, Metro Express Service is one of the most trusted and recognized brands in the DFW metropolitan area.

At Metro Express Service, our air conditioning company in Dallas, TX is only as good as the people we employ, so with that in mind we have worked to employ the best in the area in order to meet our goals with providing professional Fort Worth heating and cooling and superior customer service. From our friendly, attentive dispatchers, to our technicians, installers, and administrative staff members, we employ the best in order to provide our customers with the best service possible. Our goal to provide and maintain the most informed and productive force in the industry. We also have an in-house finance manager with over ten years of banking and financing specialized training and experience to work with you with finding ideal financing options at the best available rates.

Metro Express Service offers 24-hour, 7-days-a-week emergency service, coupled with our innovative technologies and equipment we can provide some of the best most cost effective Fort Worth heating and cooling and the surrounding metropolitan area. Metro Express Service also employs over 40 vans and installation vehicles that are located from two centralized locations across the Arlington, Fort Worth and Dallas metropolitan area. This allows our dispatchers to fine tune our response time to our customers allowing us to provide professional Fort Worth heating and cooling to our customers promptly. For professional heating and cooling service that you can rely on time and time again get in touch with Metro Express Service today.


Randy Murphy

Randy Murphy has been building his knowledge of the air conditioning and heating business for several years now. He first started applying his knowledge while working for his father’s HVAC company. Later, in 1987, Randy started his own business: Metro Express Service. He has been a top 10 Trane & Amana dealer for over eight years. When it comes to heating and cooling, Randy knows the business better than anyone.
Call Us At (817) 516-0700