Modulating Air Conditioner: Effective Temperature & Humidity Control

image of a modulating air conditioning unit

Major developments are taking place when it comes to air conditioning systems, especially where energy efficiency is concerned. This has seen the replacement of standard systems with variable-speed or modulating air conditioning designs.

Variable-speed air conditioners have benefits such as intelligent energy use and steady performance, among other things. The units are designed in such as way that they regulate temperature more efficiently and they also lessen humidity for more comfort. Keep reading this article for more details on the modulating air conditioner.

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Modulating Air Conditioners vs. Standard Air Conditioning Units

In order to get a better understanding and appreciation of modulating technology, it is necessary to make a comparison with standard systems. A standard or traditional unit comes with a compressor that operates at a fixed speed. When you switch it on, it operates at 100% capacity. But, it totally shuts down when it is turned off.

If you have a standard unit, you may not think too much of it, but this turning on and off-cycle actually uses a lot of power. A lot of energy is required to start cycles every time you turn on the machine. The end result is a high energy bill.

Standard units have no flexibility when it comes to heating and cooling temperatures because they function at fixed speeds. And, normally the airflow is extreme and intense. So, the area they are cooling is either very cold or very hot. The traditional unit is also known to produce cold or hot spots.

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What Makes A Modulating Air Conditioner Different?

homeowner enjoying home comfort

A modulating air conditioner is different from the traditional unit in that unlike the traditional unit which runs at 100% capacity every time, you can modify a modulating unit to operate between 40% and 120% capacity. The result is a temperature that is less intense and more balanced. When temperatures are even, you will have better airflow and increased comfort.

A modulating air conditioner comes with a compressor that has variable capacity or speeds. Homeowners can adjust the speed depending on their specific heating and cooling requirements. When you have control over the output of the unit, it allows you to also regulate the amount of energy it uses.

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Modulating Air Conditioner: Flexible vs. Fixed Temperature Control

“Blast the AC” is a phrase that is commonly used to describe how traditional units normally work. When you turn it on, the air is blown into an area at full speed. The temperature of that air is usually the same; either hot or cold.

Apart from having limited temperature settings, the airflow is generally very strong. Those spaces in your house that have less airflow tend to have hot or cold spots, making such spaces uncomfortable.

This problem is addressed by HVAC modulating technology which provides adjustable settings. These variable speed systems are made in such a way that you can adjust the airflow to the requirements of the home. You don’t have to worry about extreme temperatures or hot and cold spots because the output of the machine is less intense.

The benefit of having an AC unit that has two or more speeds is that it produces airflow that is more stable and regular. The unit can be tailored to your desired temperature. Because you can control its output, it’s easy to match it to your temperature preferences.

It is important to note that there are other factors that affect airflow quality. If you want the modulating air conditioner to operate optimally, it must be installed as per your home’s specifications. You will need to talk to an expert HVAC service provider to get more details.

Low vs. High Humidity

mold growth on wall due to high humidity at home

A standard or traditional unit has more regular on and off cycles. When the machine stops and reboots, sufficient moisture may not be cycled out of the air. This causes high humidity.

That is why when you have a standard unit, it is normal for your home to feel unusually warm and clammy. And, apart from reducing comfort, humidity can also encourage the growth of mold. Mold can cause damage to building structures, and it is harmful to people’s health.

Variable-speed air conditioners are designed in a way that prevents the growth of mold. They minimize moisture effectively because they need fewer cycles. When there is less moisture, it means there is less humidity. That allows homeowners to turn the temperature up on the thermostat without having to worry about mold or clamminess. Also, the unit can filter indoor air contaminants out of the air because they run for longer. This is the best way to enhance indoor air quality.

Many of the modulating air conditioners do not permit humidity to go past 50%. 50% is the maximum recommended by regulating authorities. It is unfortunate that standard air conditioners can allow 60% humidity. And, because they create the ideal environment for mold to thrive in, standard units may have to be replaced over time. But, if they are well maintained; getting annual tune-ups, they can last longer.

It is important to note that, modulating units are not all the same. This means that not every model is guaranteed to minimize humidity automatically. It is therefore imperative that you contact an expert technician to discuss the best option for your home.

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Smart vs. Set Energy Use

residential energy efficiency

As long as you have a traditional air conditioner, chances are that a lot of energy is consumed by the unit. This is especially true during those months when you have extreme weather temperatures. For instance, in the middle of summer.

That is why some people turn to other ways of cutting energy costs such as adding extra insulation. It is unfortunate that you cannot avoid high energy bills with standard units. You can try to use them less frequently, but that is not really an effective solution.

Modulating systems were made to solve this issue. If you have variable speeds, it means you have varying outputs. This means that a machine running at 40% capacity will not consume the same energy as if it was operating at 100% capacity. As a homeowner, you can now regulate the amount of energy consumed, while at the same time keep the machine on, without using too much power.

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Costs of HVAC Maintenance vs. Short Payback

One of the benefits of a modulating air conditioner is that the money you save in energy costs will be enough to cover things such as maintenance, HVAC installation, and equipment. That means these systems have a payback period that is relatively short.

Even though you can find ways to lessen AC maintenance, traditional types will still cost you more with time. Fixed speed units can handle more pressure and strain when compared to variable-speed models. Repeated straining of these systems usually results in more HVAC repairs, as well as part replacements.



There is no doubt that energy efficiency is on the rise. As such, it is inevitable that people are going to be making the transition from traditional air conditioners to modulating ACs. Improvements in inverter technology allow for less expensive heating and cooling solutions. Apart from reducing costs, variable speed units effectively control humidity and temperature; making your home comfier, smarter and greener.

Call Lawes Company For All Your HVAC Needs

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Lawes Company offers unmatched heating and cooling services in Monmouth and Ocean County, New Jersey. We hire top-certified technicians who can provide you with outstanding HVAC repairs, replacements, installations, and tune-ups. All our techs have the experience and skills to service your HVAC unit properly.

Lawes Company guarantees the least expensive heating and cooling services in the area. Our maintenance services can increase power efficiency and enhance your comfort while lessening your heating and cooling costs. Should you require an HVAC repair or replacement unit, we can recommend the right one for your home, that is within your budget. All our work is backed by a guarantee to ensure that our clients are satisfied with our services. To schedule a service appointment, call Lawes Company today. We also offer free, in-home estimates.

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