HVAC For Beginners

Zoned Comfort Controls

Providing Consistent Comfort From Room To Room

With zoned comfort controls, you can achieve consistent comfort throughout the home. Have you ever been in a larger home and noticed a difference in temperature from floor to floor?

A simple principle of physics is that warm air rises. That is good for hot air balloons but not so much for a home.

There are two basic solutions to the problem. Each floor can have its own separate hvac system. With the price of units and materials, that can be really expensive. In other cases, the floors will share hvac equipment but have separate duct systems.

A properly designed system will include dampers in the separate duct systems. They will usually be manually operated and allow you to control the amount of air supplied to each floor.

As the seasons change, the airflow requirements change ( due to the warm air rising thing). If the dampers are not repositioned, your comfort will suffer. Unfortunately, most homeowners don't know the dampers exist. Therefore, they are never adjusted. This wastes energy and causes higher utility bills.

Zoning systems solve that problem. In the simple system, each floor has it's own thermostat and associated damper. The thermostat tells it's associated damper to open or close as well as turning the hvac unit on and off. Each floor acts independently of the others. These simple systems allow you the comfort at less cost than multiple units.

The most advanced systems use dampers for each individual room in the home. This allows you to achieve maximum comfort and energy savings. But, it is more expensive than the simple system.

These systems are an economical solution to overcome existing duct system shortcomings. Instead of replacing the entire duct system, dampers and thermostats can be added.

Types of zoned comfort controls

There are two main types of zone systems. The first type we will look at are air operated systems. Theses systems use compressed air to operate the dampers. The system uses a small compressor to build up air pressure. Solenoid operated air valves control the flow of air to the dampers which causes them to open and close.

The other type of system uses small electrical motors to open and/or close the dampers. The motors use 24 vac power and can be spring loaded to return to their normal position.

The latest innovation in zoning systems is using ductless heat pump units. With modern inverter technology, the outdoor units can vary their output based on the load. Some of the units can be connected to as many as eight fan coil units which operate independently of each other.

How you save money with zoning

With zoned comfort controls, you can save money by only maintaining occupied rooms at the desired temperature. Unused rooms can be maintained at a different temperature. This will save on utility bills.

In some cases, a smaller hvac unit can be installed. This can result in substantial savings on installation costs.

Before purchasing a system for your home, you can check out our ratings page to select the brand that is right for you. We cover both traditional systems as well as the state of the art wireless systems for DIY installation.