Does your Mid-Atlantic home have uneven temperatures, making it difficult to control comfort from one room to the next? Zoning system benefits include total comfort control in all areas of your home, allowing everyone to enjoy comfortable temperatures where and when they like. And, you get the bonus of lower energy bills.
Problems With One-Zone Homes
The job of the thermostat is simple – signal the cooling and heating systems to power on when the temperature setting and room temperature are more than a few degrees apart. When the temperature in the area near the thermostat meets the temperature setting, the thermostat signals the cooling or heating system to shut off.
The problem with single thermostat, one-zone homes is comfort control. There are too many heat gain/loss variables in the typical home for one thermostat to handle. Sun-facing rooms are warmer than shaded rooms. Homes with multiple levels have multiple temperatures, and more.
After all, the thermostat is only monitoring temperatures in the immediate area where it’s located. It needs help, and that’s where zoning system benefits come in.
Zoning System Benefits: Total Comfort Control
A zoning system consists of a network of thermostats and motorized duct dampers that are added to the ductwork and comfort systems. Instead of one thermostat for the entire home, a zoning system offers a thermostat for each designated zone of the home. Each thermostat controls motorized duct doors that automatically open and close to maintain the corresponding thermostat’s temperature setting.
Configuring multiple thermostats and duct dampers for your home offers the following zoning system benefits:
- You can curb energy consumption by conditioning zones according to occupancy. Why cool and heat your entire home when only one or two areas are occupied? Why cool and heat rooms that are infrequently used, such as spare bedrooms and guest rooms?
- A comfortable temperature for one household member may not be the same comfort temperature of another. A zoning system allows you to simultaneously cool and heat any number of zones at the same time, but at different temperatures.
- Many one-zone homes only have one air-return grille. It is very difficult to maintain healthful indoor air quality and balanced airflow in such homes. This issue is exacerbated if doors are shut and in homes with intricate floor plans. A properly designed zoning system offers multiple air-return ducts – ideally one for each zone.
- Optional programmable thermostats and WiFi control panels allow you to program temperatures in each zone to correspond with the schedule of household occupants 24/7/365. Remote access is available so you may adjust program settings from a smartphone app, work computer or anywhere you have Internet access and a computing device.
- With a password-protected control panel, you can lock-out unauthorized changes to your temperature settings, and lock in energy savings.
Tips for Designing Your Zoning System
Every home is as different as its address and occupants. That’s why a well-designed zoning system is so effective. Your zoning system is specifically designed for your home, energy usage, and habits and needs.
A simple zoning system may consist of one zone upstairs and one zone downstairs. Or, large homes may need as many as eight zones. Perhaps you want a separate zone for a particular bedroom or a home office.
The zoning details are determined by a thorough home assessment, and zoning system design and installation should be determined by the following best practices:
- Sun-facing rooms naturally absorb more heat than shaded rooms. Window coverings and window treatments help to block heat gain through windows, but heat gain still exists through exterior walls. Separate sun-facing and shaded rooms into different zones.
- If your home has multiple floors of living space, do not combine rooms on different floors into the same zone. Heat rises, and this fact will always cause problems if rooms on different floors are grouped together.
- If your home has newer room additions or retrofitted rooms, these may be better off in a separate zone if construction materials and insulation are significantly different quality.
- Consider programmable or WiFi systems. Whichever thermostat network you select, install thermostats and temperature sensors away from sunlight and ventilation.
- Work closely with your HVAC contractor so that he or she has all information about energy habits, temperature preferences among occupants, household size and more.
- Also, consider an energy audit to find and seal air leaks, and to see if your home is properly insulated. When it comes to energy bills and comfort, better sealed than sorry.
For further information about zoning system benefits for your Baltimore and Mid-Atlantic area home, please contact us at Griffith Energy Services.
Written by Kevin Spain.
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