Is It Worth It to Switch to a Variable-Speed Mini-Split Air Conditioner?

Posted on: 8 February 2022

If you are in the market for a new air conditioner, you may have come across the term "variable speed" in reference to the unit's compressor speed. Traditional air conditioners have single-speed compressors that run at high speed throughout each cooling cycle. Conversely, variable-speed compressors run at virtually any speed, for example, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%. This technology isn't just about how fast the compressor runs. It comes with numerous benefits that can improve the overall performance of the unit. Read on for three valid reasons why you should switch to variable-speed mini-split air conditioning.

Increased energy efficiency

A standard compressor consumes more energy to push air into your indoor spaces at full speed. Conventional mini-splits also pump all the refrigerant into the system, which requires more power. Conversely, variable-speed units can run at lower speeds, especially when the cooling demand is low. Therefore, the compressor needs less energy to push air into the home. Some units can even vary the refrigerant flow to meet the current cooling demand, leading to significant energy savings.

Improved humidity control

As mini-splits draw heat from indoor spaces, they remove humidity as well. When the air passes through the evaporator coils in the indoor unit, moisture is extracted from the air through a condensation process. However, when the compressor is running at full speed, it cools the home quickly and turns off. The shorter cooling cycles prevent the air conditioner from effectively removing excess humidity from the air.

If you have a variable-speed unit, you can set it at low or medium speed to improve its dehumidification capabilities. At lower speeds, the cooling cycles are longer, which gives the evaporator coils enough time to remove excess moisture. Furthermore, the AC can run continuously at the lowest speed setting to remove humidity without making the rooms unbearably cold.

Better indoor air quality

Dust, pollen, pet dander and other air contaminants can lower indoor air quality and trigger summer allergies. A single-speed air conditioner may not do much to improve air quality. With the compressor running at maximum speed and completing cycles faster, the unit doesn't have enough time to remove pollutants from the air. 

With a variable-speed mini-split, you can lower the compressor speed and allow the unit to run continuously. As air circulates slowly through the system, the AC filters can trap more contaminants in the air. When paired with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, a variable-speed mini-split can significantly improve air quality and boost indoor comfort.

As you shop around for a new unit, invest in one with variable-speed technology. Contact an HVAC contractor for mini-split installation services.

For more information on split air conditioning, contact a company near you.