Air conditioner stages refer to the operation of the A/C compressor (the big unit outside), which just means how much cooling power is being provided.
1 Stage Air Conditioner – This just means that the air conditioner is on or off, there is no in-between, it’s that simple!
2 Stage Air Conditioner – This means that there is basically a low power mode and high power mode for the air conditioner. The idea is to save on power usage and marginally increase comfort in the home. The comfort is not really felt with this though, because in most 2 story Rochester homes we need to push as much cold air to the different floors as possible, and cold air tends to sink.
Variable Air Conditioner – These are by far the most expensive air conditioners available, and the most efficient. Unfortunately, like with the 2 stage models, the benefit in the Rochester region just isn’t there as far as pay off vs. break even. You would also be hard pressed to find a difference in perceived comfort in our experience.
Which air conditioner is best in Rochester then?
Due to the amount of cooling needed and the short period of the year that we use air conditioners in Rochester, the 1 stage 14-14.5 SEER air conditioners make the most sense to install. Anything beyond a 1 stage A/C system is a way for a commissioned sales person to earn a bit more money in our opinion. We earn basically the same regardless of which unit you decide you would like. The higher SEER units (designed for regions where A/C is used around the clock for the majority of the year) just do not pay for themselves in this region, and it is a similar story with stages.
It is also worth noting that the more complex 2 stage and variable air conditioners typically have a much higher breakdown rate, and can cost a lot more to maintain over their lifespans.