A zoning system for your forced-air cooling and heating system may be the answer to uneven temperatures throughout your home, as well as high energy bills. These systems make it possible to customize your HVAC system by creating separate sections for individualized comfort. Without zoning, room temperatures can vary a good deal.
Zoning systems use motorized dampers inside the ductwork that automatically open and close the ducts based on each zone’s need for conditioned air. Each zone or section has its own thermostat, and instead of sending the cooled or heated air through the entire house when only one area needs it, the air handler sends it just to the area where it’s required.
Nearly all homes benefit from zoning systems. It can be challenging to maintain even temperatures throughout a home, due to solar orientation and room functions, which make a difference in heat gain and loss.
If your home has any of these characteristics, it may be a good candidate for a zoning system:
- Raised ceiling plates or vaults in some areas
- Large expanses of windows in one area
- Two or more floors
- Rooms above a garage
- A sprawling floor plan or layout
- Areas you seldom use
- A family member who needs or wants different temperatures
Homes with a second story often experience warmer temperatures upstairs summer and winter. Having many windows in one area increases the heat gain, and areas with high ceilings require more conditioning year-round because of their volume.
Trying to keep each of these areas at an equally comfortable temperature is difficult, at best. In a zoned home, it’s easy because each zone’s thermostat sends a signal to a central control panel that turns the system on when it needs cooled or heated air. The damper for that zone opens, supplying conditioned air.
Zoning makes sense if you have an area of your home you don’t use a lot, like a guest or hobby room. Instead of closing the area off by shutting the ducts to it and keeping the door closed, you can place those areas on a separate zone. Closing off an area of your home can result in ductwork leaks due to increased air pressure in the ducts. Leaking ducts increase energy consumption and degrade indoor air quality. Zoning that area solves air pressure problems.
What Zoning Involves
It’s possible to retrofit existing HVAC systems with a zoning system, as well as installing one during a system replacement. Installing these systems isn’t a do-it-yourself project, since it involves an evaluation of your home and its HVAC equipment. The contractor will select the best places to install the dampers inside the ducts, run wires, and locate a thermostat in the optimal area inside each zone.
You and your heating and cooling professional can decide which areas of your home should constitute a separate zone based on its thermal requirements and your home’s physical layout. You’ll also be able to choose the thermostats and their features. Programmable and WiFi-enabled thermostats will provide you with the most energy savings and convenience, since you won’t need to adjust each thermostat daily based on your occupancy patterns.
- Energy savings – Because your system doesn’t have to condition the entire home when just one area needs it, it will use less energy. This saves money on monthly cooling and heating costs, especially when you use programmable thermostats.
- Improved comfort – Areas that receive more sunshine throughout the year are almost always warmer. A zoning system will compensate for the heat gain without overcooling or heating the rest of the home.
- Increased system life – A zoned HVAC system doesn’t work as hard because it doesn’t run at full capacity as much. Extending the life of your HVAC equipment delays having to replace this expensive appliance.
Learn more about Davis Air Conditioning & Heating’s zoning system solutions, or call us today at 888-929-0049 from Brazoria County or 888-710-5530 from greater Houston.
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