It’s a simple question. Is a 2 stage compressor, whether it’s in a geothermal heat pump or otherwise, worth it? Will it really save you money? Is it actually going to increase the life of your system? Can it make you more comfortable?
Let’s take a closer look.
The Long & Short of the 2 Stage Compressor
The short answer: yes.
The long answer: be patient and keep reading, it’s the long answer.
There are a lot of different 2 stage compressor systems on the market. Air conditioners and heat pumps, for example. A manufacturer like Goodman would tell you that one of their air conditioners with a 2 stage compressor will make your home more comfortable during hot summer weather. Is this claim true?
Yes, in most cases it will be. Air conditioners, air-source heat pumps, and geothermal heat pumps dehumidify interior air as a standard part of their operating cycle. When your unit is running, it’s dehumidifying. Dual stage operation means that a unit will operate at around 80% of capacity for a longer period of time. That longer running time will remove more humidity than a similarly sized unit operating only a single stage. Since humidity plays a larger part in comfort, 2 stage compressors deliver on this front.
2 stage compressors, supposedly, last longer than single stage systems. Is this marketing bull or actual fact?
It’s actual fact. An HVAC compressor experiences the most friction when it starts and stops. If you decrease the number of times in a day your unit has to start and stop operation, you increase its life span.
For example, if your geothermal heat pump starts 2 or 3 times in the same day, it is going to last longer than a geothermal unit that starts and stops 5 or 6 times to deliver the same air comfort. A 2 stage compressor enables longer, lower capacity operation, so it actually does help your unit last even though it might be running more hours.
Who doesn’t want to save money? Yeah, pretty much no one. Will a 2 stage compressor help you do that?
Yes. Similarly to how 2 stage operation reduces wear and tear on the compressor, it will also help you save money. HVAC systems require a lot of energy to get going. The fewer times in a day your unit has to kick on, the less of those electricity spikes you’re going to have. The fact that the unit often runs at around 80% capacity helps too. In fact, all things being equal, a 2 stage compressor unit is going to cut your energy consumption compared to a single stage system.
2 is Better Than 1
At least in the case of HVAC compressors, 2 stages is always better than 1.