A zone control system is in charge with maintaining the optimum temperature in various rooms of your house. But isn’t that a thermostat’s job? While a thermostat has to control the heating and cooling settings in your home, most of the time, it only does the job successfully in one out of five rooms. One of the reasons why a thermostat is sometimes not enough is that second and third floor rooms tend to be warmer, while the basement or downstairs rooms are on the colder side. This happens because warm air is lighter than cool air and tends to rise up. Tall rooms are difficult to warm up during winter months and require their own individual settings as opposed to a small bedroom on the second floor. This is where heating system zone control comes in handy. It doesn’t only tell you which room is cooler and which needs a different temperature settings, it takes care to preserve the optimum heating, cooling and humidity levels.
How do zone controls work?
HVAC zone control systems are very simple. They comprise various thermostats that are all wired to the same panel. This operates the dampers in the ductwork within the air system. All the thermostats in your home work around the clock, reading the temperature in the room or area where they are installed, and automatically operating the dampers. According to their settings, thermostats will proceed to either cool down or heat up individual bedrooms. You can say goodbye to walking from a warm, cozy bedroom into a freezing bathroom. This is also the perfect solution for the spare guest room that seldom gets used. In the long run, HVAC zone control systems save homeowners money on energy bills. By turning off the heating or cooling settings in spare bedrooms that are rarely or never used by anyone, you can cut costs by as much as 30%.
Who needs to implement HVAC zone control systems?
Anyone who wishes to increase the comfort within their house and wants to be able to control the temperatures in various areas can opt for a zone control system. A thermostat does its job properly if you live in a studio or a two bedroom apartment. But larger apartments and multiple story houses would only reap the benefits of such a system. Who else needs to convert to a zone control?
- Houses that have more than one level – warmer air rises above cool air, which can easily create an imbalance in a two story house. A single thermostat in a house that has more levels will most likely heat up the upstairs bedrooms and leave the basement and downstairs feeling cooler.
- Homes with very large, tall rooms, vaulted ceilings, and atriums – warm air doesn’t sneak up only in houses with more than one level. It will also rises up to the ceiling in a large, open area. These spaces need their own settings during summer time as well as in the winter.
- Basement or attic rooms – the appeal of an attic room with a glass ceiling or a home gym in the basement is unquestionable. But it can be tough to reach the optimum temperature in these spaces when they have different needs. The attic is bound to heat up faster, therefore it would require a lower heating setting. On the other hand, the basement takes longer to warm up, and requires more heat air.
- A room with glass walls or big windows – it’s common knowledge that this kind of rooms loose heat faster. To maintain a comfortable temperature during winter days, the thermostat would have to compensate for the lost heat and bring in extra warmth. Likewise, in summer time, the windows are bound to heat up excessively because of the Sun. A zone control system would take care to continuously monitor the temperature and run enough cool air to keep a steady temperature.
HVAC zone control system benefits
Most homeowners are reticent to embrace the new HVAC zone control system technology. The initial cost is a substantial investment and many are still in the dark about the advantages of using a zone control system in their homes. So why would you need this kind of system?
- Energy efficiency – by heating or cooling only those rooms in your house that you are actually using, you can save money on your energy bills. The US Department of Energy estimated that implementing zone control systems could help homeowners save around 17% to 30% on their electricity bills.
- Home comfort – by maintaining the desired temperatures in various rooms of your house, a zone control system will constantly monitor and adjust the cooling or heating settings accordingly. You won’t need to worry you are comfortable in the living room, but your guests are cold in the guestroom.
- Convenience – zoning systems are extremely convenient. Instead of manually adjusting the temperature for the entire house on a single thermostat, you can leave it to the zone control system to monitor and adapt the temperature in all the areas in your house.
Zone control systems specifications
This type of zoning systems are nothing new under the Sun. In fact, they have been used in stores, offices and large building for years. Their convenience and energy efficiency are now helping them make the jump from commercial areas into our homes.
- A zoning system would be installed next to an existent furnace or air conditioning system;
- Zone control systems can easily be installed by a HVAC contractor;
- It is recommended to implement a HVAC zone control system in a house that is being built. This way, running wires through the walls and floors is made easier and more accessible. However, it’s not impossible to install zone control in an existing house.
- You can choose from a wide variety of zone control systems: the Honeywell zone control system and the Aprilaire zone control system are among the most popular devices, known for their reliability and multiple functions.
- Some zoning systems come with a portable control device that allows homeowners to change the temperature settings in various areas of the house without getting up from their chair.
Installing a HVAC zone control system in an existent home
If you’re tired of some rooms being too hot and others being too cold, you can rely on zoning control to fix that issue. Even if you live in an old house that never had zone control systems, you can hire a contractor to help you out with everything. To proceed with the installation, you’ll need:
- A thermostat for each zone or room that requires unique temperature settings;
- A solenoid pump and panel;
- A zone control panel that will operate all the thermostats within the house;
- A transformer;
- Flex dampers that will enable individual thermostats to automatically adjust the temperature within a room.
Bear in mind that the ductwork you’ll need to implement in an existing house will rely completely on the number of zones you plan to set up. For example, if your design only includes two zones that are roughly the same size, the air ducts will have to handle as much as seventy percent of the HVAC system’s CFM. A system comprising three zones will need to handle fifty percent of the CFM.
Central air vs zone control systems
It can be difficult to believe that, in this day and age, there are still systems that we could be missing from our homes. While central air systems are incredibly useful and help us stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, they are not flawless. Since they use a single thermostat, they tend to be very inaccurate and they often only manage to maintain the optimum temperature level in a single room. Most homeowners are already familiar with this drawback, whether we’re talking about bedrooms that are too cold or kitchens that are unbearably stuffy.
Zone control systems take central air to a whole new level. By having various thermostats throughout the house and with all of them wired to a single power panel, users don’t only get instant comfort and convenience, they are also looking at lower power bills. HVAC zone control systems allow you to virtually divide your apartment or home into different areas, each having a unique climate control. Ideal for large houses with several family members, zone control systems will keep everyone happy at all times. No more dashing to the thermostat to turn up the heat every time someone is cooking dinner in the kitchen. Zone control systems eliminate the need to monitor the temperature in your house and completely take over the hassle.
Temperature zoning solutions might not have been originally designed to be implemented in homes and apartments, but their advantages can no longer be denied. They make controlling the temperature you want in specific areas a piece of cake, while helping you reduce costs. HVAC zone control systems keep all family members in a pleasant environment at all times. You can have custom made areas that comprise one or more rooms. Leave it to the thermostat to automatically activate the dampers and make sure the room temperature is continuously kept at the desired levels. Combining power efficiency, with comfort and convenience, zoning systems stand out of the crowd by allowing you to fine tune the heating and cooling settings in specific areas according to your own preferences.