If you live in a house with more than one story, you may benefit from a zoning system for your heating and air conditioning. Zoning allows you to set the temperature independently in different areas, or zones, of your house to match the needs of the occupants of those areas at any given time. This also leads to lower energy bills and a much more comfortable home. Zoning can easily be incorporated into new HVAC systems, as well as added to existing heating and cooling systems that have existing ductwork.
What Homes Benefit From A Zoning System?
A house with a single thermostat controlling its central air conditioning and heating systems is easy to keep comfortable in the room with the thermostat. The temperature in the other parts of the house may vary by several degrees due to architecture, site orientation and the activities the rooms are used for.
For example, rooms with a lot of north-facing windows will tend to be colder than the rest of the house on cold days, while rooms with south-facing windows tend to overheat in the summer. Multi-story houses will be cooler on the lower floors and warmer on the upper floors. The kitchen will heat up when the oven is on, while the family room may be chilly if the only person in there is doing nothing but watching television.
Setting the one thermostat governing the HVAC system to compensate for those temperature differences can be costly and expensive. Lowering the A/C temperature to keep a busy kitchen cool will waste a lot of energy chilling the rest of the house to uncomfortably low temperatures.
A zoning system can address these problems by grouping rooms with similar heating and cooling needs into isolated zones with individual thermostats. For example, you can keep the kitchen and dining room at a comfortable temperature for the family members who are preparing meals in that zone while the kids doing homework in the shaded back bedrooms have their thermostat set at a warmer setting.
How Zoning Systems Work
A zoning system works by controlling the flow of heated or cooled air to different parts of your house using motorized dampers installed inside the ductwork. Low-voltage motors connected to the thermostat for each zone open or close the dampers to their zones to block or allow conditioned air to flow into the zone. All of the zone thermostats are wired into a central controller that turns the heating or cooling system on whenever one of the zones calls for conditioned air.
A zoning system must be carefully designed to keep the airflow balance in the ductwork correct. Modern HVAC equipment with variable air handler speeds automatically supplies the correct airflow to match the number of zones calling for conditioned air. Systems with single-speed air handlers may need to have zone bypass ducts installed to maintain correct airflow when some but not all of the zones are taking air.
Zoning Systems Reduce Costs
A zoning system can lower your monthly energy costs by reducing how much of your house has to be served by the heating system or air conditioner at any given time. If your entire family spends its evenings in the family room, you can set the other zones in the house at energy-saving levels while keeping the family room at a comfortable temperature.
Your zoning system can operate with manual thermostats for every zone, but you’ll save more on energy costs with programmable thermostats that automatically adjust zone temperatures based on normal usage patterns.
By reducing the overall demand on the HVAC equipment, zoning systems can also reduce your long-term costs by extending your equipment life and delaying the time when major repairs become necessary.
Learn more about Griffith Energy Services, Inc.’s zoning system solutions, or give us a call at 888-474-3391. Our experienced pros can design and install a zoning system for your home’s HVAC system.