Zoning Your Air Conditioning and Heating System
Do you ever find yourself bundling up just to head into your basement during the winter? Or maybe you’re losing layers each time you head into your warm upstairs room? In many homes, room temperatures can vary thanks to vaulted ceilings, amount of sunlight coming in each day or wall insulation. The best way to flatten out the temperature roller-coaster? System zoning.
HVAC system zoning is simple. Multiple thermostats are wired to a control panel that operates dampers within your duct system. The thermostats do continual readings on the room or specific ‘zone’ and adjust the dampers to allow or block airflow according to the results. If you never use your half-bath, shut your damper and close the door. You won’t have to waste money to heat or cool zones in your home that don’t get a lot of foot traffic. If your bedroom upstairs has the hot sun beating in all day, you can keep the air running in that room to cool it down, so it’s comfortable when you go inside.
System zoning is helpful for houses with inconsistent room temperatures, but it’s also great for saving energy and money on your utility bill. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, system zoning can save up to 30 percent on a heating and cooling bill. Because system zoning allows you to choose which rooms you heat and which you cool, it saves you money by running air into those rooms only when necessary.
If system zoning sounds like a good fit for your family, but you have a relatively new HVAC system and you don’t want to upgrade, rest assured that you have other options. Consider a damper system that can be retrofitted to existing ductwork to save you the money and hassle of installing a new system.
Flex dampers, as they’re called, come in circular and square duct models. They are resistant to heat, aging, moisture, airborne chemicals and even physical damage. Consult a professional if you are interested in learning more about flex dampers or if you suspect that your duct work may not be suitable for these inserts.
If you are interested in making the switch to system zoning, you’ll need a thermostat for each home zone. The initial cost of purchasing multiple thermostats is miniscule compared to replacing your entire HVAC system, and system zoning will pay for itself in saved utility money many times over. You also need to decide how many zones your home will have, and where in your home they will be. A two-zone system could simply have an upstairs and downstairs zone. If you’d like a three-zone system, the zones should be relatively equal in area.
If you think that system zoning sounds like a good fit for your home and family, consult a professional today. They can help you decide how many zones you’ll need, and assist with instillation and retrofitting. Why not slice your utility bill by one third? Install system zoning and keep your home consistently cool.