Installing and operating any HVAC system is an investment. But zoned heating and cooling can save you over the long run, even with ductwork. If you use a mini-split system without ducts, you can save as much as 30% on energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.1 But you don’t necessarily need a mini-split system to benefit from HVAC zoning.
How Does HVAC Zoning Work?
Traditional HVAC systems use one thermostat to control the temperature of your entire home. The problem with this is you may not need to heat or cool certain rooms, but closing vents can further reduce efficiency and strain the system. Zoning allows for independent control of temperature in different areas of your home. You can direct more cooling into the living room and kitchen during the day and instead to bedrooms at night.
A zoning system uses motorized dampers to control airflow. Installed in the ducts or air vents, these open and close mechanically depending on signals from the thermostat. Each component is wired to a control panel that enables the dampers to respond on command.
How Is Zoning Implemented?
Configurations can include a dual-zone system for two rooms or floors. Multiple zones, consisting of three or more zones, can be set up as well. A less costly upgrade may be to install manual dampers. They’re usually placed on the trunk duct but can’t be closed remotely. It may also take some experimenting to get the best airflow.
Automatic dampers allow remote temperature control in independent zones. With multiple zones, you can install a zoning panel for optimal control. All dampers are remotely operated. If your home has dedicated trunks and ducts for specific areas, you already have the infrastructure in place to establish zoning. Otherwise, you may have to retrofit ductwork to create a zoned system.
Why Is Zoned Heating and Cooling a Good Investment?
Zoning is initially a major investment in both equipment and labor. But the long-term benefits can offset the initial cost in a few ways. We’ll look at some of these below:
- Improved Efficiency: As we’ve said earlier, HVAC zoning is energy efficient. You’re not having unused rooms heated or cooled. The dampers provide better sealing while closing off areas doesn’t put excess pressure on the system.
- Better Temperature Control: Hot and cold spots can be an issue with many HVAC systems. Zoning reduces this problem by allowing you to naturally cool or warm areas that are occupied. The system can pump extra heat to where it’s needed to balance temperatures.
- Personalized Settings: Setting the temperature of different rooms independently means members of your family or other occupants of a household don’t conflict over the most comfortable setting. This improves the comfort and well-being of everyone in your home.
Whether zoning is right for your home also depends on where it’s used. It can improve temperature control in a two-story home, basement, or attic. Occupants of living spaces over a garage, sunroom, or room with a cathedral ceiling can realize improved comfort. HVAC zoning also works for spaces with large windows and wide layouts.
Contact Oregon Ductless
We install single and multi-zone ductless systems that include the latest high-performance models. Our team can set up a new system in as little as a day. Homeowners across Oregon, including those in single-family homes, condos, and apartment buildings, have benefited from our solutions. To understand more about how zoned heating and cooling works, learn about financing options, and request service, call 503-563-8201 today.