Why Two Stage Air Conditioning? Because humidity makes us more uncomfortable than the heat.
July 22, 2014
So here we are at almost the end of July, and Air Conditioning season really hasn’t kicked in. I’m viewed as a bit of an oddball at home because I look forward to these days where air conditioning seems to be a necessity (strictly because it’s good for business, not because I want to see people uncomfortable). But what is it that really makes us uncomfortable? In southern Ontario, it is usually because of humidity not the heat.
True, you don’t get uncomfortable without it being over 25 – 26 C (80 F), but it’s because the air is holding so much moisture that things get sticky. We’ve all heard about how nice it is in Arizona during the winter. Temperatures frequently get above this level, yet few people are uncomfortable. How often have you heard – “it’s a dry heat”?
So, why do we need air conditioning here when the temperatures aren’t super warm? Obviously, its humidity related, but has more to do with how the air conditioner works. Air conditioning lowers the temperature in a building by dehumidifying the air. Not to get overly technical on this, but the coil inside the furnace absorbs the moist air and expels it outdoors, leaving less damp (and cooler) air inside. The air conditioner gets a signal to operate when the thermostat registers a temperature warmer than the set point. If it isn’t super warm inside, the air conditioner will only run for a short period, leaving a fair bit of moisture still inside the house.
Here is where two stage cooling is really helpful to comfortable living conditions. With a two stage unit, the air conditioner still works on the basis of temperature. However, instead of firing at full capacity the unit starts at a lower speed (absorbing humidity at a lower rate). It only works at full speed if the thermostat has not been satisfied after running for a period of time! On days where it is mildly warmer but “sticky” – the air conditioner will remove the humidity longer and cool less aggressively.
As we’ve said before, if you buy right and treat the equipment well, you’ll only have to purchase an Air Conditioner every 10 -15 years. Choose the one that will make you most comfortable over that time.
By Peter Wagner
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