In some homes, maintaining consistent temperatures throughout the structure can be difficult. This is especially true for multi-story homes or larger, rambling homes with an expansive floor plan. Homeowners may also want to restrict cooling to rooms and areas that aren’t used very often, such as storage areas and guest rooms. Typical HVAC systems don’t have effective ways to restrict the amount of cooling that gets to specific areas. You can close a register, but that’s about it. A zoning system provides a way for homeowners to control the airflow to specific rooms or floors of the house, increasing or decreasing the amount of cooling those areas receive as needed. Even better, a zoning system can be installed to work with your existing air conditioning system.
What Is a Zoning System?
A zoning system provides a method for allowing or restricting the flow of conditioned air from your air conditioning system to particular areas, or zones, inside your home. If you have a room or entire floor in your home that doesn’t need as much cooling as the rest of the structure, you can use a zoning system to restrict the amount of cool air that reaches that portion of the home. If you have a problem with inconsistent cooling, you can use a zoning system to increase the amount of cool air that gets to spaces inside you home that need it.
Zoning systems are also useful if you have family members who prefer significantly different temperatures in their rooms. You can set up the zoning system to provide these individuals with the temperature control they want without affecting temperatures in nearby zones.
Zoning System Types
Newly installed zoning systems often use a series of motorized dampers in the ductwork and individual thermostats for each zone. The dampers open and close in response to temperature changes and system settings, allowing precise temperature control in each zone.
Retrofit zoning systems work in much the same way, but they often use a different type of damper called a flex damper. These devices fill with air to block airflow within the ductwork. Flex dampers are available to fit either round or square ductwork and are appropriate for use in steel or flexible ducts. They’re also very tough and resistant to heat, moisture and other stresses.
A retrofit zoning system will require a separate thermostat for each zone, which is wired to an electronic control panel where each zone’s temperature can be adjusted. However, they don’t need large motors or bulky components for operating the dampers, which means they can easily be installed in existing ductwork. The flex dampers are usually installed inside existing registers, so they can be accessed easily.
Benefits of a Zoning System
A zoning system offers multiple benefits to homeowners and building occupants.
- Cost savings: By using a zoning system, you’ll see reductions in the cost of operating your air conditioning equipment. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests that a zoning system can reduce indoor comfort costs by as much as 30 percent. This can represent significant savings from month to month. The initial costs of installing a zoning system may seem high, but remember that the significant monthly savings should allow you to recover the initial investment within a few years.
- Energy savings: A zoning system allows you to reduce the amount of energy expended to keep your home cool. This is better for the environment and helps reduce demands on the local utility company.
- Improved comfort: Overall comfort in your home can be significantly improved by using a zoning system. When you need more (or less) cooling in a particular room or area, you can use the zoning controls to make adjustments to the temperature. If a zone has presented problems with inconsistent temperatures in the past, you can use a zoning system to make cooling more consistent within that zone.
- Better family harmony: Since a zoning system can give individual family members the means to control temperatures in their room or area, there will be fewer fights over the thermostat to increase or decrease cooling. When family members are more comfortable, tempers are less likely to flare and conflicts are less likely to develop.
Learn more about Conditioned Air’s zoning system options, or contact us today at (281) 561-6911 to discuss what may work best for your Houston area home.