What is Zone Control, and Is It Right for Me?

Some Philadelphia homeowners have found success switching to a zoned heating and air conditioning system. You, too, may find that a zoned system is exactly what your family needs. To help you make a decision, let’s take a look at what a zone system does and under what circumstances it can be most beneficial.

Zoning: What Is It and How Does it Work?

Zoning refers to separating the home into divisions, each with its own temperature setting. Your HVAC will work as it does normally, but the heated or cooled air is directed into some areas of the house more than others. In contrast, in a traditional non-zoned system, one temperature is set for the entire home and the air flows equally throughout the house.

As a result, with a non-zoned system you’ve probably noticed that not all the rooms in your house are comfortable. The rooms receiving sunlight are warmer than those rooms in the shade. Upstairs is warmer than downstairs. And there’s always at least one person in the family complaining that his bedroom is either too hot or too cold.

Wouldn’t it be great if rooms that needed more heating or cooling than the rest of the house could be just as comfortable as the other rooms? And what about unused rooms? Wouldn’t it be ideal not to waste money heating or cooling them when they’re not in use? Zoning allows you to choose individual comfort levels for each sector of the house.

How does it work? You can have a thermostat installed for each area of the house, or you can have one centrally located thermostat that allows you to set separate temperatures for each sector.

As the HVAC system runs, dampers located in the ductwork open and close to allow the proper amount of air to reach each part of the house.

Is Zone Control Right for You?

A zoned system works best with modern HVAC systems equipped with variable speeds rather than those having only one predetermined speed. When conventional blower motor fans run, they run at their only speed, which is at full capacity. On the other hand, variable speed fans will operate at a variety of speeds depending upon the need. Compressors are similar. Variable speed compressors can operate at a wide range of speeds to meet the changing demands of the HVAC unit.

Variable speed technology is an ideal match for a zoning system. If you’re using a zoning system to restrict the airflow to certain parts of your home, it doesn’t make sense to have an HVAC unit operating at 100% capacity. It would be like filling up a five-gallon bucket to pour water into a teacup. It would be a waste of water. With an HVAC, it would be a waste of electricity.

So ideally, if you’re considering installing a zoned system, it would be best to simultaneously upgrade to an HVAC model with variable speed. There are other considerations to keep in mind, too.

Take notice of the temperature inside your house. If you can answer “yes” to at least one of following questions, a zoned system may be right for you:

  • Does your house have more than one level of living space?
  • Do you have a finished attic or finished basement?
  • Does your house have cold rooms in the winter?
  • Does your house have hot rooms in the summer?
  • Are there rooms in your house that are seldom used?
  • Do you have a sunroom, solarium, or patio enclosure?
  • Do you have an exercise room, home office, or children’s playroom?

If you think that your home and family would benefit from a zoned system, contact HVAC Philly today to speak with an experienced technician. He can answer all your questions about zoned systems and keeping your Philadelphia home comfortable.

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