What Are Modulating Air Conditioners?

image of a modulating air conditioning unit

Innovation never stops for air conditioner manufacturers. Cooling equipment continues to evolve with the latest HVAC technologies, and much of the efforts revolve around the improvement of energy efficiency. In fact, the standard air conditioning unit is now giving way to the modulating air conditioner with variable speed designs.

This new kind of variable-speed air conditioner provides smart energy consumption and reliable performance. With this type of air conditioning system, homeowners will be able to manage their indoor temperature and humidity better than ever before. This should result in a cool and comfortable environment. Read on to learn more about variable-speed air conditioning units.

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Standard Units & Modulating Air Conditioners

Before you can understand why modulating HVAC technology is so revolutionary, you need to have a basic grasp of the current standard units. Traditional air conditioners use a compressor that works at a single speed all the time. If it’s on, then it will operate at full capacity. If it’s off, then it will not move. There is no middle ground.

Despite getting the job done, this air conditioning design results in high energy consumption. It requires a massive amount of power every time a cycle needs to start from zero. Cooling the house comes at the cost of soaring monthly utility bills.

Standard systems function at a fixed speed, so the temperatures are not as flexible as they could be. The flow of air is fast and intense, creating a very cold environment. Cooling may be uneven with certain spots being colder than others.

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How Does A Modulating Air Conditioner Differ?

image of a woman feeling comfortable after air conditioner installation

As the name suggests, modulating air conditioners don’t have to run at 100% every time. It can go as low as 40% and as high as 120%. Since it can operate within a wide range, it can adapt to current conditions better and provide a more even temperature across the space. This enhances comfort and air quality for everyone.

Inside these modulating air conditioning units is a compressor that can move at variable speeds. You can adjust the settings to achieve the current temperature requirement. This ability to control the system output results in lower energy consumption.

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Fixed vs. Flexible Temperature Control

Standard units typically blast spaces with cold air. That’s how they were designed to work: intense and aggressive from the time they are switched on. That’s why the air temperature often gets very cold, very fast.

Temperature is not the only one confined to a limited range. The airflow is also strong throughout its operation. On the other hand, indoor spaces that don’t receive as much airflow may have hot spots, and therefore feel uncomfortable.

Engineers tried to fix this problem by using modulating technology. With variable settings, the units can adjust the flow of air based on the home’s changing needs. The output is not as intense, so extreme temperatures are avoided along with problem spots.

Air conditioners that can operate beyond a single speed can produce steadier airflow. The output can be adjusted to the occupant’s desired temperature. By managing the output, people can get their exact cooling preferences.

The airflow quality is influenced by several factors. A modulating air conditioner cannot perform at its optimum level unless it is installed to match the home’s specifications. Discuss the matter with an HVAC professional to get more information.

High vs Low Humidity

man cooling himself with a fan due to high humidity levels at home

Standard air conditioning units need to cycle on and off frequently to achieve the desired results. This manner of operation is not ideal for removing moisture in the air. Thus, the home may suffer from excessive humidity levels.

Homeowners will feel the effects of high humidity such as persistent sweat and discomfort. The home itself may suffer, as well, with mold growing at a higher rate in the moist environment. This can damage wooden panels and compromise the health of the family.

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Modulating Air Conditioners Improve Indoor Air Quality

Variable-speed air conditioners can help prevent the growth of mold. They do not need as many cycles, so the units can remove moisture in the air for longer periods. This should lower the humidity better than standard units. Temperature can increase without worries about mold or clamminess. Another positive consequence is the longer filtration time which results in fewer pollutants in the indoor air. With better air quality, families will have fewer worries about respiratory problems.

In fact, a lot of modulating air conditioners are designed to prevent indoor humidity from exceeding 50%. It is the upper limit of the ideal range recommended by most experts. On the other hand, standard air conditioners can let 60% humidity or higher persist. This results in a moist environment that fungi and bacteria love. They will require a high level of maintenance to avoid these issues.

Remember that modulating air conditioners are not built the same way. Some are better at handling humidity than others. Therefore, you should put a lot of though into equipment selection. A professional technician can point you to suitable options.

Set vs Smart Energy Use

image of efficiency depicting modulating air conditioner

With standard air conditioners, homeowners should expect high power consumption. This is the norm because of the way they operate, particularly during summer.

Homeowners who want to reduce consumption are often forced to take measures like increasing insulation and boosting airflow. However, traditional units make it extremely difficult to lower the bills unless you cut down usage. It may not always be possible.

Modulating air conditioners were designed to tackle this problem head-on. By operating at variable speeds, they can consume less energy when the home requires less cooling. Owners get the ability to control energy use while keeping the air conditioner on for longer. There is no need to sacrifice cooling time for savings.

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Air Conditioner Maintenance Cost & Short Payback

Modulating air conditioners can save you a lot of money over time thanks to lower utility bills. If you add up these savings, then you can cover the cost of the equipment upgrade, installation service, and maintenance work. It all makes financial sense because of the short payback period.

When it comes to air conditioner maintenance, standard units cost more to maintain over time. That’s because they are subjected to greater stress when running compared to variable speed units. The repeated strain results in frequent breakdowns. These will require repairs and part replacements.



Energy efficiency is on everyone’s mind. Pushing this higher is good for the environment and great for homeowners who must pay the bills. Eventually, modulating air conditioners will replace standard air conditioning systems because of the benefits. Aside from boosting efficiency, these are also better in controlling humidity and making the home feel comfortable. It is truly the smart choice.

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Miller Oil Company is head-and-shoulders above everyone when it comes to heating and cooling services. We hire the best technicians in Hartford County, Connecticut for the benefit of the customers. Our team provides reliable installations, replacements, repairs, and tune-ups. Just tell us what you need and we will be there to assist you in no time.

Miller Oil Company understands that people are sensitive to cost. We make every effort to deliver outstanding service at competitive prices. What’s more, our services can help you save money because you will end up with a more energy-efficient system. So if you need HVAC services today, don’t hesitate to give us a call. You can tell us all about your current concerns. We will offer you sensible solutions backed up by a satisfaction guarantee. Schedule your appointment with us and we will be there to provide a free, in-home estimate.

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