Variable Speed Compressors – Arlington, TX

Variable-speed air conditioning compressors offer several advantages over single or two stage compressors. Whether you are replacing a worn compressor, or need to buy a new AC unit or heat pump, they are certainly worth your consideration. In the following we’ll answer common questions about them and you’ll learn :

  • How variable-speed compressors work
  • How they compare to other types of compressors
  • The pros and cons of variable-speed compressors

How Variable Speed Compressors Work

Variable-speed compressors are unquestionably the most efficient type of compressor. When compared to single-stage and two-stage compressors, they use less energy providing you with consistent comfort and temperature control. As a result of using a lower speed at times, it will also result in less wear and tear on the air conditioning system.

The term variable-speed refers to the amount of cooling the compressor provides. It automatically adjusts itself  based on what is required for ideal comfort and control. For example, on a day with a 95 degree temperature, your air conditioner may provide about 100% cooling output from the compressor. On the other hand, a day with a mild temperature may only require 30% of cooling capacity.

In times of high humidity, its running longer will improve the removal of moisture from your home’s  indoor air. A lower humidity means you will feel more comfortable, whereas a higher humidity causes you to feel hotter than the temperature alone can account for. Lower humidity can be beneficial to those with breathing issues such as allergies or asthma.

The Comparison Between the Compressor Types

There are three main types of air conditioning compressors. These include the variable speed, single-stage compressor, and the two-stage compressor.

Variable-speed usually refers to the compressor, but can also refer to the blower motor. Both are available in specific models, and each offers distinct advantages improving your comfort and energy efficiency. Variable-speed air conditioning units provide the best control of humidity and temperature, and are the most energy efficient. Compared to the highs and lows that single-stage and two-stage air conditioners offer, a variable speed air conditioner maintains a more consistent temperature. Here’s how all three compare:

Single Stage Compressors

Single-stage compressors have two settings, simply on and off. This means every time the air conditioner runs, the compressor operates at 100%. When the indoor air temperature reaches within a few degrees of the set temperature, the air conditioner kicks in and operates at 100%. It shuts off when the thermostat reaches the set point temperature. Unfortunately it doesn’t always operate that way. With a single-stage system, the indoor temperature can fluctuate as much as five degrees above or below the thermostat’s set point. This can create uneven temperatures in your home. For example, the upstairs or distant rooms may be several degrees warmer than the rooms nearest the thermostat. While this isn’t always the case, it is a common occurrence. Single-stage compressors are the most common type found in homes.

In Summary

Variable speed technology offers a reduced power bill by operating at the lowest speed necessary for temperature and humidity control. Your home will also experience less hot and cold spots. With the unit running at lower speeds for longer periods of time, the variable speed air conditioner will remove more humidity and stabilize temperatures from room to room. This will improve your comfort while saving you money on energy.

The variable speed technology also integrates well with programmable and smart thermostats. This results in even lower energy consumption without any effort on your part. Another benefit is the unit will operate more quietly when running at lower speeds. If your bedroom is beside the unit, or you spend a lot of time outdoors, this is a benefit you will appreciate. Finally, variable speed technology results in less wear and tear on the compressor for a longer service life and fewer breakdowns. This in turn, maintains a higher efficiency for a longer period of time. Investing in variable speed technology is especially worth considering if you don’t plan to move in the near future.


Some states, counties and utility companies may offer rebates when you purchase an air conditioner or heat pump with a high-efficiency rating. It’s worth checking into federal tax deductions for eligible Energy Star purchases. Variable speed units offer some of the highest efficiency ratings on the market, and as a result they usually qualify for a rebate when they’re available.

Disadvantages of Variable Speed Compressors

An air conditioning unit with variable speed technology may not be right for your home. For example, uninsulated metal ducts may create excessive moisture. As a result of moisture, damage can occur to your home. In this situation a single-stage or two-stage unit could be the best option for you. If you need a new air conditioning compressor installed, a new air conditioning unit or heat pump installation, give our dedicated HVAC technicians a call. We can assist you in making an informed choice that’s best for you, your home and your budget. Contact Metro Express Service today to schedule AC repair, maintenance or AC installation. We are a member of the BBB.


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.
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