Zoned HVAC systems allow the building or home to be divided into two or more separate zones. These types of systems give more control over the heating and cooling system and provide individual control of temperatures in each zone. For example, you can keep the temperature lower in the kitchen and higher in the bedrooms. Typically, the home is divided into zones that have similar heating and cooling needs. Electronically controlled modulating dampers and electronic thermostats automatically adjust the temperature in each zone. This saves energy by not heating or cooling areas of the home where it’s not needed. Although zoning doesn’t affect the efficiency of an HVAC system, it does make the most efficient use of the system. On average, zoned systems can save consumers up to 30 percent off of their heating and cooling expenses.
Additional Benefits with Zoned HVAC Systems
In addition to lower energy bills, HVAC systems that are zoned come with other advantages.
- Enhanced Comfort: With just one thermostat in the home, the temperature in different rooms cannot be controlled properly. Often, a multi-level home has temperatures that vary from floor to floor and room to room. There are also many factors that affect the indoor temperature in the home, such as shading, wind chill, cathedral ceilings, appliances and cooking. Zoning solves these problems by allowing each zone’s thermostat to individually demand heating or cooling. With the zone thermostats reacting to individual changes in each room, the overall comfort is improved. Zoned systems eliminate hot and cold spots also.
- Modern Convenience: Zoned systems offer the convenience of modern living. They can be set in one room without having to walk to another area of the house to change the temperature. You can also either have a wall-mounted thermostat or a convenient remote for temperature control, fan speed control and humidity control.
The Installation of Zoned Systems
Although the installation of a zoned system is pretty straightforward, it’s not a do-it-yourself job and best left to the pros. Most of the single-zoned split systems come with three main components that include a controller, outdoor unit and indoor unit. A technician just has to mount the units, connect the refrigerant lines and make a few electrical connections. The multi-zoned systems are ideal for maximum comfort. With individual set point controls, every zone in a house can be set to achieve a different level of comfort. These zoned systems can be configured to meet individual needs and come in ducted and ductless models. Depending on the number of zones being installed, the job can take anywhere from one to three days.
A zoned HVAC system is a cost-effective solution to dual air systems that need separate furnaces and air conditioners for different areas of the home. It is especially effective in homes that have large open areas like solariums, multiple levels, large glass windows and sprawling designs. Homes with additions, attic spaces and finished basements are also good candidates for zoned systems. Just about any forced-air system can be converted or retrofitted for zone control.
What’s Needed to Zone an Existing Heating and Cooling System?
All that’s need for a zoned system is a zone control panel, thermostats, zone dampers and a bypass damper.
- Zone Control Panel: The zone control panel is the main control that communicates between the dampers, thermostats and the HVAC system. Simply put, it’s the brains of the zoning operation.
- Thermostats: Thermostats read the temperature in each zone or room of the home. If the temperature is too low or too high, it sends a signal right to the control panel to adjust the area’s temperature.
- Zone Dampers: The zone dampers are installed in the ductwork to regulate and control air flow to zones in the house. These devices are wired to a specific zone on the control panel. Depending on what thermostats are calling, the dampers automatically close and open.
- Bypass Damper: Although a bypass damper may not always be needed, it is usually installed to relieve air pressure in the ducts as certain zones close.
In sum, zoned HVAC systems offer comfort, convenience, conservation and make common sense. That’s why so many homeowners and businesses are either installing zoned systems in new construction or retrofitting their existing heating and cooling systems.
HVAC Services and Products at Gentry Heating in Columbus, NC
At Gentry Heating in Columbus, NC, we install zoned systems for both residents and commercial business owners. Our NATE-certified technicians have the skills, knowledge and equipment for a perfect installation. We also carry and install a broad range of heating and cooling systems, including air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hybrid systems and packaged systems. Be sure to take advantage of our Internet coupons for savings on select equipment.