How Does a Zoned Heating and Cooling System Work? - Service ChampionsService Champions
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How Does a Zoned Heating and Cooling System Work?

May 7th, 2019

Based on the design and structural plan of your house, each room has different temperature needs. A traditional HVAC system cannot cope with these varying and unique needs of each room. This may result in wasted energy and discomfort in a few rooms. With a zoning system, you can heat and cool different rooms independently, making it a better option than having just a traditional HVAC system to address your heating and cooling needs.

Maximizing the comfort of your home is our job. One of the ways we can help you achieve this goal is through a zoned heating and cooling system.

What is a zoned heating and cooling system?

A zoned heating and cooling system breaks your home into different areas or “zones,” each controlled separately by a thermostat. Zoning your home allows for several benefits including elimination of hot and cold spots and individual control of different rooms’ temperatures.

You may need HVAC zoning if your home has multiple floors. Since warm air rises up, the rooms on higher floors will get warmer compared to the basement or main floor. Likewise, rooms with direct sunlight and large windows will be warmer compared to others. By zoning you can control the temperature of these rooms and keep them comfortable at any time of the day. Zoning also helps with minimizing the flow of conditioned air to the lesser-used rooms, without wasting any energy.

How does a zoned HVAC system work?

How Does a Zoned Heating and Cooling System Work? - Service Champions

The secret to a zoned heating and cooling system is electronically controlled dampers in your ductwork. Dampers are like valves that control the flow of your heated and cooled air throughout your home. You would work with a certified HVAC technician to divide your home into two or more zones. Each of these areas will have their unique heating and cooling controls.

The second part of a zoned heating and cooling system is the thermostat. A thermostat is placed in each zone so that it can control the electronic dampers in your air ducts.

Fit each zone with its own programmable thermostat and automated duct dampers. When one particular zone requires cooling or heating to attain the set temperature on the thermostat, the conditioned air will be routed from the home’s HVAC equipment to that zone. The other zones that do not require similar temperature won’t get any conditioned air.

Should you add zones to your existing HVAC system?

There are several reasons why Northern California homeowners would want to create HVAC zones in their home:

More even temperature distribution

The most common reason for installing a zoned system is to eliminate hot and cold spots. For example, most two-story or multi-level homes suffer from uneven heating and cooling. Because heat rises, the upper levels are always warmer than the lower levels.

To combat this, at least two zones are installed — one upstairs and one downstairs. As one zone reaches the desired temperature, the thermostat closes the damper to that zone, which forces more air to the other zones to create more even temperatures throughout your home.

Different comfort levels for different family members

Another common use of a zoned home heating and cooling system is to meet the temperature demands of different family members without fighting over the thermostat.

A zoned system lets you control the temperature of each area independently. If someone in your home likes it much colder or warmer than the rest of the household, this can be an ideal solution. Zones can be installed in the bedrooms, allowing each household member to change their room’s temperature without affecting the rest of the house.

Even if you all share the same comfort levels, when you have a guest or someone falls ill, you can adjust the temperature in their room to suit their comfort.

Lower energy bills

You have the power to minimize the energy distributed in different rooms. With zoning, you can manipulate the heating and cooling of different areas in your house. This helps in lowering your energy bills and saving more money. The savings will be even more significant if you pair the zoning system with programmable thermostats.

Extended HVAC equipment life

When you implement zoning in your house, you help in extending the equipment life of your HVAC system. Zoning reduces the load on compressors, air handlers, and other expensive equipment, thus resulting in less wear and tear. This will contribute to the longer life of the heating and cooling system.

Installing a zoning system seems a little expensive for some. However, with its temperature control features and benefits offered by energy savings you can compensate for the initial investment. Your savings will more than make up for the initial investment.

Learn about the other form of HVAC zoning — ductless mini-split systems!

Zoning your home heating and cooling system can provide a multitude of benefits. For more information, Ask a Champion!

Service Champions is known for trustworthy, on-time heating and air conditioning service throughout the East Bay, South Bay, and Sacramento areas.

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