January in Charlotte means we finally dive into colder temperatures – a plus or a minus, depending on your love/hate for cold weather. As you and your family creep over to the thermostat to heat your home, you may encounter the dreaded issue: your HVAC unit stops working! It could simply require a repair. If that’s the case, be sure to ask these questions when scheduling your appointment. If the HVAC technician finds that you need to replace your HVAC unit, be informed on the differences.
We most often get these questions when we have to deliver the news that a homeowner should replace their HVAC unit. [Terminology note: You might hear the systems described as communicating vs. non-communicating equipment. Single stage and two stage fall into the non-communicating category. And if you’re thinking you just need a heat pump or furnace replaced, keep in mind that those are part of the total HVAC system.]
Single stage is the cheapest HVAC system. Single stage equipment has been the industry standard since the beginning of heating and cooling, and it’s the most common. It turns on and off at 100% of its capabilities every time the thermostat calls for heating or cooling. The downsides? It offers the lowest efficiency and lowest comfort levels. Plus, it can be a bit noisy.
Communicating equipment is the most efficient HVAC equipment. A communicating system operates vastly different than the other categories and every brand on the market has major differences between them. This type of unit tries to match your home’s conditions. It can adjust from 30-100% of its capabilities depending on what your house needs to provide the highest levels of comfort, efficiency and noise levels. And unfortunately, it’s the most expensive option. We’re fans of the Rheem Prestige Series 20 SEER.
Two stage equipment and communicating equipment are both reliable HVAC systems. Two stage equipment turns on low (at 70% of the unit’s capabilities) and operates this way for 10-15 minutes. Then the unit will turn on the high stage (at 100%) if the thermostat is still calling for heating or cooling. And communicating equipment, described above, is an excellent choice as well. All Rheem equipment is very well built.