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What Is a Two Stage Cooling System? (Answered by a Local Expert)
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What Is a Two Stage Cooling System?

What Is a Two Stage Cooling System?

Air conditioners provide a great deal of relief on a hot summer day, two stage units doubly so because of how much money they can save you. Before we get into the details on this type of unit, it’s best we start with a little on where air conditioners came from, and how they work.

Some Facts About Air Conditioners

Air conditioning to some degree has been used since the dawn of time. Before machines, people relied on ice and cold water to keep the air cool. The first modern AC unit was created in 1902 by Willis Carrier and revolutionized how people lived and worked.

How Do ACs Work?

In an air conditioner, hot air is condensed and sent to an area where it can cool down, and then pushed back out. Modern units recirculate already cool air inside rather than drawing from the outside. This feature makes it more energy efficient.

Where Does the Heat Go?

After the ultra pressurized gas goes over the condenser, it cools into a liquid state, allowing for the heat to radiate away. Most air conditioning units have fins to help push this heat away from the house or business.

What About the Humidity?

Excessive humidity can actually make an area feel warmer, so modern air conditioners dehumidify. The whole process is fairly simple, with the majority of the liquid typically draining into either a pan or a tube to remove it from the air.

How Are Air Conditioners Controlled?

All modern air conditioners have a control panel typically located in a hallway called a thermostat. These thermostats have come a long way, with older units relying on mechanical functions, while newer ones can be controlled via smartphone apps.

How Do the Different Cooling Systems Work?

A single stage cooling system means that the air conditioning unit only operates at a single speed. This type of unit is either on or off, and is being phased out in favor of the newer two stage cooling models.

As the name suggests, a two stage cooling system has multiple stages. The lower speed is around 60% of the AC unit’s maximum power, which runs around 80% of the time. During the warmest time of the day, typically the afternoon, the second stage kicks in at full power.

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Two Stage System?

An excessive amount of energy is used when a machine first turns on, and this principle applies to air conditioners as well. Because single stage air cooling is constantly switching on and off, these types of units are less energy efficient. An advantage of a two stage system is that it can save a lot of energy because of the way it operates.

Two stage cooling systems have a few disadvantages, the first being that they are more expensive. This higher cost carries over to repairs, as these machines are a bit more complex than a single stage cooling unit to tinker with.

What Else I Should Know About These Systems?

Because a single stage system turns on and off, it does not dehumidify the air as well. Two stage systems will remove more water from the air over time. This translates to even better efficiency because there aren’t any of those pesky water particles to keep the air warm.

Should I Get a Two Stage Cooling System?

Baker Plumbing & Air Conditioning, a company providing air conditioning in Dallas, recommends getting this type of AC if you live in an environment that is especially warm. The closer you are to the equator the more you can probably justify it. Because of their high initial cost, you should avoid them if you are in a milder climate.

How Do I Know If My AC Unit Is Energy Efficient?

In order to ensure that you are getting a unit that is as energy efficient as possible, there is a rating system called the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). This SEER is a thermodynamic formula used to quantify how productive a given AC is.

Is There Any Way I Can Lower My AC Bill Other Than Getting a Two Stage System?

There’s no use in running a unit if you aren’t going to be home, so it’s best to turn off the unit when you areout. To help with this, you can get a programmable thermostat, which can be set to turn your air conditioning unit on and off at set intervals.


The price range for installing an air conditioner can vary a lot, with the mean for the nation hovering just above $5300. Keep in mind that while two stage units usually cost more to install, this cost can pay for itself in just a few years.


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