10 Benefits of Multi-Stage & Variable Speed Equipment

The benefits of multi-stage, variable speed equipment are numerous. We’re going to share the 10 biggest benefits. But first, let’s talk about what this equipment is.

What is multi-stage variable speed equipment?

Multi-stage and variable-speed equipment are components commonly used in HVAC systems to regulate the temperature and airflow within a building.

How does it work?

Multi-stage equipment refers to HVAC components with multiple settings or operation stages. For example, a multi-stage furnace may have different heating outputs that can be adjusted based on a building’s heating needs or requirements. This allows for more precise temperature control and can also help to improve energy efficiency.

Variable speed equipment refers to HVAC components that can adjust the speed of their operation. For example, a variable-speed air handler can adjust the blower motor’s speed based on the amount of airflow needed in the building. This also can create more efficient operating conditions to reduce energy consumption and operating costs. In addition, a variable speed system operates almost limitlessly to enable minor adjustments to the air temperature.

The multi-stage and variable speed equipment systems can work together to provide the best comfort while remaining energy efficient. The increased precision for heating, cooling, and airflow control result in the twin benefits of greater comfort combined with lower energy bills.

Who is it for?

Multi-stage HVAC equipment can serve homeowners, business owners and building managers responsible for supporting the airflow and comfort level in large commercial or industrial buildings.  

In each of these ownership cases, a multi-stage HVAC system can create a more efficient heating and cooling environment by matching the output to the heating or cooling load of the building. This reduces energy consumption and operating costs while improving indoor air quality. In addition, building owners can reap the benefits of more precise control over the indoor environment with a multi-stage HVAC system.

Read on for our 10 favorite benefits of multi-stage, variable speed equipment.

1. Decreases HVAC energy usage

The system runs on a low stage most of the time as it only directs the amount of air needed, where it’s needed, and when it’s needed, which reduces the occurrence of high-cost and high-stage operations.

For example, a variable speed system compressor in an air conditioner runs at a much lower capacity than other types. It turns on once and runs continuously, while a single or two-stage turns on and off constantly throughout the day or evening. More electricity is required for this on/off switching than for running the system. Therefore, much less energy is used in a system that switches on once for operation.

2. Increases HVAC system effectiveness

By matching the correct amount of conditioned airflow with the amount of ductwork being served, the system is more effective at satisfying single-zone cycles with low stage blower cfm a majority of the run time. In addition, a multi-stage system increases the HVAC effectiveness by adjusting equipment output to meet the changing heating or cooling demands within a given space. This provides greater energy efficiency and comfort control.

3. Improves system performance

Reduces the amount of second stage operation, which decreases the ramping up of the equipment. It improves system performance by operating at lower capacity levels when less heating or cooling is needed. This reduces energy waste, improves humidity control and enhances overall comfort.

4. Customize operation

HVAC Professionals can configure staging settings based on demand (zone weight) and capacity (duct temperature) requirements. The equipment modulates its output based on the individual demands of each zone. This is determined by factors such as the zone size, insulation levels, occupancy and orientation. This is especially important in buildings with varying load requirements or multiple occupancy.

5. Maximize dehumidification

The system can provide many hours of dehumidification when utilizing a single-stage condenser with a multi-stage blower. Operating at lower capacity levels allows the equipment to run for more extended periods and remove more moisture from the air, keeping humidity levels more constant. This prevents mold and mildew from growing while supplying greater consistency in air quality.

6. Eliminate energy-wasting bypass operation

CFM staging based on zone weighting (not temperature) provides the independent control of the blower output that gives the HVAC contractor a level of control required to prevent high-stage air delivery unless sufficient duct capacity is available. This eliminates bypass usage with high-stage blower operation.

7. Enhanced comfort

Customize the operation of a heating & cooling system by engaging and directing the required airflow to the areas that are difficult to condition. The multi-stage equipment supplies more precise and consistent temperature controls to reduce temperature and humidity swings. Additionally, it reduces noise levels by operating at a lower capacity than single or two-stage systems, adding to comfort by making less noise.

8. Energy management

Allowing the zone control panel to manage the HVAC equipment from its centralized perspective results in a more energy-wise comfort strategy. A programmable thermostat, a feature of many multi-stage HVAC systems, allows for more precise temperature control, adjusting temperature levels based on occupancy patterns. It also can help with energy management by reducing the load on the electrical grid during peak demand periods. This can reduce energy costs for building owners.

9. Optimal register velocity

The system effectively delivers the conditioned air supplied to a room, reducing stratification. This staging strategy manages the operation of low and high-speed blowers to keep register velocity at adequate levels for the efficient delivery of BTUs. When the system operates at a lower capacity level, the air velocity through the register can be reduced, cutting back on the potential for drafts or temperature swings. These systems are typically designed with optimized ductwork sizing and layout to ensure consistent air velocity through the registers.

10. Effective solution

Homeowners and business owners with multi-stage, variable-speed equipment are typically seeking a solution to comfort and energy pain points. By adding zoning to the mix, these systems are customized to meet the specific needs of their space. Overall, by adjusting output based on the individual demands of each zone, multi-stage HVAC equipment provide more precise temperature control, improved energy efficiency, and greater comfort control compared to single-stage systems. The result is lower energy costs, enhanced air quality and greater comfort. By providing a comprehensive and effective solution for heating and cooling, multi-stage HVAC equipment can meet the diverse needs of homeowners and businesses, while also contributing to more sustainable and efficient indoor environmental controls.

Contact us to add HVAC zoning

The benefits of multi-stage, variable speed equipment set your customer up for better efficiency and energy savings out of their HVAC system by supplying the exact amount of airflow and heating/cooling their home requires. Offer the complete comfort package by optimizing the airflow delivery to every area of their house effectively with an Arzel Zoning System, the HVAC zoning system with 40 years of excellence.

Contact us for free help with application design, or schedule your One-on-One training to learn how simple Arzel Zoning systems are to install with multi-stage and variable speed equipment.

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