You pay high energy bills month after month, yet still find it a challenge to achieve comfortable temperatures throughout for your Largo-area home. Perhaps you make thermostat rules or maybe even debated sacrificing and trying to use the system less, but you need more realistic and long term solutions. Particularly if you have a large home, a zoning system could be the solution to having the right temperature where you need it most.
The typical forced-air HVAC system provides cooling and heating to the various rooms in the home through air ducts. These single-thermostat homes potentially have many comfort issues because that one thermostat is expected to provide comfortable temperatures throughout the entire home. This can be problematic for several reasons:
- Heat gain/loss – To keep your home comfortable, the cooling and heating systems must replace the amount of heat gained or lost inside the home. There are several factors across many home systems and occupant activities that affect heat gain/loss. The orientation to the sun warms one side of the home more quickly than the other side. Meal preparation on the stove-top or oven adds heat. If you have two or more floors to your home, the upstairs will be warmer than downstairs, since heat rises. The number of occupants and activities, such as bathing and clothes washing, contributes to heat and moisture gain. The list goes on.
- Different comfort preferences – Does everyone in your household enjoy the same temperature settings? If not, there’s always the likelihood that persons might be too hot or too cold, which could lead to the typical thermostat wars.
- High energy bills – A malfunctioning system, one that is poorly maintained, or one that is old, can affect your ability to save energy and keep bills manageable. However, even the newest and most efficient system can only do so much unless recommended guidelines for programming your thermostat are observed.
Zoning System Basics
Zoning systems put control of home comfort and energy efficiency in the homeowner’s hands. You control the time of day or night, duration and temperature that each designated zone in the home is cooled or heated. Here’s how it works:
- The home is assessed for heat/gain loss issues, which includes consideration for occupant habits and energy usage, among dozens of other measurements and calculations.
- The home is divided into two or more zones accordingly.
- A thermostat is installed in each zone. (Programmable or WiFi thermostats offer more convenience, comfort control, and savings.)
- Motorized modulating duct doors (also called dampers) are installed throughout the air ducts for each zone.
- The duct doors permit or restrict airflow to their respective zones in order to maintain thermostat settings in the zone, which you set or program.
Tips for Zoning Your Home
To maximize zoning system benefits, work closely with your HVAC professional to design a system that fits your home’s comfort and efficiency needs. Here are some basic tips:
- If your home has multiple levels of living space, including remodeled basements and/or attics, all rooms of the same zone should be located on the same floor. Upstairs and downstairs rooms should not be combined in the same zone.
- Install zoning thermostats in central areas most occupied in the respective zones.
- If your home has room additions or retrofitted spaces, it’s wise to place those rooms into a separate zone. Room additions and retrofits are often constructed of different materials than the original home structure, which gives them different heat gain/loss properties.
- Install an air-return register in each zone. Free airflow and balanced ventilation are vital for comfort and healthful indoor air quality. If each zone has its own return duct, airflow is maximized and airflow won’t interfere with temperatures in a different zone. For instance, if a home office is a one-room zone, where does the air return go without its own return duct? Airflow from the home office would need to travel through other zones.
Targeted comfort, control, and energy savings are the driving forces behind zoning system benefits. To learn more about zoning system benefits, or to schedule a home evaluation to start designing your comfort zones, please contact United Air Conditioning today at 727-470-6803.