Here in the greater Phoenix area, there are neighborhoods that primarily have 2-story homes. These include many of the relatively newer communities in Ahwatukee, Gilbert, and Peoria. While these homes can be great for growing families, they can be challenging when it comes to maintaining a consistent, comfortable temperature with a single air conditioning unit.
There’s the obvious issue of warm air rising. In general, upstairs bedrooms will be warmer than the rest of the house. Thus, one area of the house can seem too hot or too cold. With separate central air conditioning units for each floor of your home, you can maintain a comfortable temperature for each defined space. This not only improves comfort but can also enable you to save money on utility bills.
With a single, non-zoned air conditioning unit, you have to keep every area cool at the same time. With a second unit, you can choose to cool just the upstairs bedrooms at night. Or, if you primarily spend your time downstairs, you can turn off your upstairs unit when you’re not up there. This can reduce the square footage you’re regularly cooling considerably.
As many Arizonans know, air conditioners have a habit of failing at the worst possible time. With two units, you can at least keep the house cool enough while repairs are being made. However, it’s also important to note that two units double your chances of a system failure and increase your overall cost of repairs over time.
Other Cost Considerations
Yes, two air conditioning units are more expensive than one to purchase, too. But the cost difference is often not as high as you think. This is because you will need two smaller units compared to one larger unit to cool the entire home. The added cost of the second unit can also be offset by the ongoing energy savings. Much of this depends on your home’s floorplan and how you plan to use the air conditioner.
A Zoned System
Another option is to install a single air conditioning unit with two or more thermostats. This is particularly beneficial for larger homes. A zoned system uses dampers within the ductwork that open and close to control the temperature and flow of air within each zone. This type of system costs more than a regular zone-less system, but the energy savings can add up over time.