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Why Are Single-Stage AC Units Still Worth Buying?

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If you've looked at your options for installing a new air conditioning system, you've probably noticed that you can buy two-stage, multi-stage, and variable air conditioners. These systems work differently from traditional home HVAC equipment. Older single-stage designs are always either "on" or "off," while multi-stage and variable systems vary their operation based on your cooling needs.

These more advanced units offer improved comfort and efficiency, which should seemingly make them the obvious choice. However, there are many compelling reasons why you may want to keep using a single-stage system. If you're deciding between these units, check out these three reasons why single-stage air conditioners are still an excellent option for your home.

1. Cheaper Installation Costs

Single-stage units cost less, making them a more affordable option for many households. However, consider that two-stage and variable units typically offer greater efficiency. As a result, you'll want to compare your upfront costs versus your long-term operating costs. One way to do this is to use a SEER calculator to estimate your annual running costs between the options you're considering.

When comparing these units, consider the total running costs over the system's lifetime. You may also want to compare some higher SEER single-stage units since these may be more affordable and offer even more significant lifetime savings. If you aren't sure or don't want to do these calculations yourself, your installer should be able to help you make an informed decision.

2. Parts Availability

It's easy to think of older technology as being outdated, but this isn't always the case. Single-stage units have been around for much longer and use more standardized technology. As a result, these systems often contain many "off the shelf" parts. If something goes wrong, there's a good chance that any local HVAC contractor will have both the components and the know-how to fix it.

More modern variable and multi-stage units will likely use more proprietary parts. These components can be both more expensive and harder to acquire, so if something goes wrong, you may have to wait longer for a fix. You may even need to order the parts directly from the original manufacturer in a worst-case scenario.

3. Repair Know-How

Despite being on the market for many years, multi-stage and variable systems are still relatively uncommon in most markets. While most HVAC contractors will know how to work with them, some may be unfamiliar with the more common problems or may not have much experience servicing these systems. This fact can also leave you waiting longer for repairs when needed.

There are many advantages to upgrading from a single-stage system, but you shouldn't choose one simply because it's the latest and greatest. Make sure you carefully consider the benefits of a cheaper single-stage before deciding on a costly upgrade for you AC installation.