An HVAC zoning system is the most efficient and cost-affordable way to keep your home properly cooled during the grueling summer months. Why is this the case? There are a number of different ways to answer that question.
Proper Temperature Control Throughout Your Home
The one thermostat conundrum: Most traditional HVAC systems include just one thermostat used to cool your entire house. The problem with that method is that your house is probably a little bigger than the one room in which that lone thermostat is located.
What about rooms in the upstairs portion of your house, an area known to be among the hottest and stuffiest in any home? Or what about rooms with a higher exposure to sunlight than other rooms in your home? Those rooms might require cooler temperatures than the room in which your thermostat lies. With one thermostat it’s impossible to set different temperatures in different rooms throughout your house.
The zoning solution: Zoning HVAC systems work to solve this problem. With the zoning method, you still only need one HVAC system, but it’s linked to multiple thermostats throughout your home that allow for varying climates depending on the room.
Think about it this way — would you ever buy a house in which flushing one toilet caused every toilet to flush? Or where flipping one light switch turned on every light in the house? It’s simply not efficient, and the same principle applies to your HVAC system if you have only one thermostat.
Zoning systems are also the most cost-efficient way to keep your home cool as your HVAC battles Mother Nature’s summer heat.
Let’s say the common area in your home is lit with plenty of natural sunlight throughout the day, but that sunlight is constantly warming the room to uncomfortable temperatures. If your thermostat is located on the other end of the house, you’d have to crank it up much higher than you’d like in order for that cool air to do its job in your common area, even if other rooms don’t need as much cool air.
At that point, you’re gradually raising your energy bill for the purposes of cooling just one room in your home.
Zones would allow you to only put your HVAC to work in the areas of the house where it’s needed. This would save energy in the form of rooms in less need of cool air, which will be reflected on future energy bills.
Best Situations for a Zoning System
While zoning systems are convenient for any living situation, they’re especially convenient for a few particular home setups:
Homes with high, cathedral-like ceilings: Homes with a room with high ceilings may require a zoning system, as cooling a room with so much open space might require an added effort from your HVAC system.
However, asking your HVAC to put in that kind of work throughout your entire home is unnecessary, especially when you’re just trying to cool one room in particular. This is where a zoning system comes into play.
Above-garage apartments, and basement or attic living spaces: These living situations can require that same extra work from your HVAC system if you have just one thermostat because they are so removed from the rest of most homes. A zoning system can keep these spaces nice and cool.
Sunrooms and other rooms with many windows: These homes let plenty of natural light into your home, which can be a lovely effect but can also allow plenty of unwanted heat to enter your home.
Again, focusing your entire HVAC system on cooling just these rooms can be inefficient, and it can turn interior rooms in your home into a freezer of sorts. Zoning systems can battle heat from the sun knowing not every room in your home gets the same sun exposure.
Any room above the first floor of your home: Heat rises, so it should come as no surprise that the upper stories of your house will often run a bit warmer than the main level of the home. This can be especially unpleasant for homes in which most bedrooms are located on higher floors.
Still, cranking your HVAC into high gear to cool the upstairs portion of your home could lead to discomfort on the main level, as well as a spike in your energy bills. Even simply using a two-zone system that separates the lower and upper floors can make a noticeable difference.