The Value of Variable

The technological age has dawned impacting every industry in some significant way. I remember the days of dial up internet when you could walk away from the screen, make a pot of coffee and cook breakfast only to return and wait a few more minutes for the World Wide Web to appear. Recently we have been informed that if your Mobile Page does not load in 3 seconds, the searcher will look elswhere. Not to mention that 20 yrs. ago a cell phone was owned by only a select few and worked in limited areas. The same goes for the HVAC industry. Technological advancement has vastly changed how we heat and cool homes from the accuracy of tempearture to increased energy efficiency.

A very beneficial development to our industry that adds much value is that of the Variable Speed unit. Most manufacturers are now producing their own model of a complete Variable Speed unit. Trane’s model is called the TruComfort System and comes in both an 18 and 20 SEER (Seasonal Energy Effcient). Prior to the Variable Speed unit, manufacturers were producing 2 stage compressors to provide great comfort and high efficient operation. With the dawn of the Variable Speed unit the comfort has become more precise and the efficiency is even greater.

So, what is the Variable Speed Unit? Variable Speed units utilize motors (both indoor & outdoor) and compressors that can vary in speeds anywhere from 10% to 100% of its capacity to adjust the operation of the unit to fit the Heat/Cool load of your home or business. Conjointly Variable Speed units also use metering devices and computerized thermostats to work in tandem with the motors to vary the capacity of the entire system. This enables more precise control as well as high efficient operation. Comparitively speaking, prior to the Variable Speed Unit, systems were 2 speed at best meaning they had 2 stages of variation. The Variable Speed, particularly Trane, boasts some 750 stages or variations achieving greater comfort and efficiency. This ability to “Vary” the capacity is where the unit receives its name – Variable Speed.

The Question then is “what is the value of the Variable Speed Unit?” Or, why should I invest in a Variable Speed Heat Pump, AC, and/or Gas Furance? The value question has become one of my family’s premier questions due to our desire to be wise stewards of our finances. Here are 4 points of value that warrant your investment in a Variable Speed Unit:

1) Provides Excellent Comfort – due to the Variable Speed units ability to vary air flow and refrigerant flow, its capacity to proivde comfort is heads above the rest. The ability for the unit to vary according to load causes the unit to run longer thus be more precise in temperature and maintain that temperature. The VS is able to respond quickly to load changes. We as professional Heating and Air contractors are tasked with determining what size (tonnage) unit your home/office needs in order to maintain comfortability on the average hottest and coldest day. The often held idea of “Bigger is better” does not ring true in our industry. In fact aversizing can be disastrous. Professionals utilize a standard program or method of load calculation to design your system. Now you and I both know that in NC it does not stay 95-100 degrees all Spring/Summer, thus the AC load in the summer changes from day to day with the weather. We have to size the unit to handle the hottest average day (say 95 degrees), but the average day may be 85 degreess. Unlike standard single speed units, the Variable Speed can vary its capcaity based on the demand or load of the house which results in a more comfortable house on both the hot and mild days.

2) High Efficient Operation – due to the low starting amps of the compressor as well as the low energy usage of variable speed motors, the Variable Speed Units offer very High Efficient operation. On a 3T single speed unit operating on a mild day (when your house/business only needs 1.5T), the entire 3T operates so you are paying for what you do not need. The Variable Speed Unit adjusts its capacity only using what it needs, thus you are only paying for what you need. This results in High Energy Efficient operation.

3) Possesses the Inherit ability to Dehumidify – the varying capabilty of the VS Unit enables it to provide dehumidification that single speed units cannot. The VS unit slows the fan speed down and adjusts the compressor & outdoor motor to vary the refrigerant for healhty operation. Due to the air moving slower across a cold evaporator coil, more water can be removed from the air dehumidifying the space. The hot humid days of summer are easily combated by the VS units ability to dehumidify, thus resulting in a more comfortable living and working space.

4) Quiet Operation – the VS unit design enables quiet operation. The days of talking loud on the back porch in an effort to overcome the loud AC unit are over. VS units operate at low db’s thus providing a more pleasing operating experience for the homeowner/business owner.

The technological age, though at times a bit overwhelming for me :), has afforded us the opporutnity to advance in many ways. One of those ways is how we provide comfort in the HVAC industry. The VS unit is a valuable investment for it utilizes the highest technology to provide Excellent comfort with high efficient operation at a low sound level. When investing in an HVAC unit, remember to invest in value.

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