Zoned HVAC systems allow you to divide a building or a home in Columbus, North Carolina, into two or more separate zones. These types of systems give you more control over your heating and cooling system, providing individual control of temperatures in each zone. For example, you can keep the temperature lower in the kitchen and higher in the bedrooms.

Typically, you’ll divide the home 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 you don’t need it. Although zoning doesn’t affect the efficiency of an HVAC system, it does make the most efficient use of it. 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, zoned HVAC systems come with other advantages:

  • Enhanced Comfort: With just one thermostat in the home, you can’t control the temperature in different rooms 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. That includes 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, you’ll improve overall comfort. Zoned HVAC systems also eliminate hot and cold spots.
  • Modern Convenience: Zoned HVAC systems offer the convenience of modern living. You can set the temperature in one room without walking to another area of the house to change it. 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 HVAC Systems

Although the installation of a zoned HVAC system is pretty straightforward, it’s not a do-it-yourself job. It’s best left to the pros. Most of the single-zoned split systems come with three main components: a controller, an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. A service 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, you can set every zone in a house to achieve a different level of comfort. You can configure these zoned systems to meet individual needs, and they come in ducted and ductless models. Depending on the number of zones you install, the job can take anywhere from one to three days.

A zoned HVAC system is a cost-effective solution when compared to dual-air systems that require separate furnaces and air conditioners for different areas of the home. It’s 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 HVAC systems. You can convert or retrofit just about any forced-air system for zone control.

What’s Needed to Zone an Existing HVAC System

All you need to install a zoned HVAC 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: A service technician will install the zone dampers in the ductwork to regulate and control airflow to zones in the house. These devices connect to a specific zone on the control panel. Depending on what thermostats are calling, the dampers automatically close and open.
  • Bypass Damper: Although you might not always need a bypass damper, it’s usually installed to relieve air pressure in the ducts as certain zones close.

Smart Vents vs. Zoned HVAC Systems

Smart home HVAC products have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. They’re easy to install, integrate seamlessly and increase energy efficiency. While most smart products are worth serious consideration, some aren’t as effective at producing results as their traditional counterparts.

Smart vents work by cutting heating and cooling to unused areas of your home. The vent will detect if you’re using the area and redirect airflow as necessary. Although the idea might seem logical, HVAC professionals advise against installing smart vents in your home. Instead, homeowners should install a zoned HVAC system.

A zoned HVAC system works with your home’s heating and cooling equipment, not against it. That’s why HVAC professionals prefer zoned HVAC systems over closing vents. When you install a zoned HVAC system in your home, zone dampers will control the airflow into each zone, channeling conditioned air to the right areas. Closing vents can build pressure that can damage your HVAC system. Bypass dampers help eliminate the buildup of this pressure and prevent system damage.

HVAC Services and Products in Columbus, North Carolina

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 HVAC systems.

At Gentry Heating, Inc. in Columbus, North Carolina, we install zoned HVAC systems for both residents and commercial business owners. Our NATE-certified service 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 coupons for savings on select equipment.

*Originally published 2/14/2014; updated 8/18/2018