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Is a Zoned HVAC System the Answer to Your Problems?

Technician Installing Zoned HVAC System - Cates Heating and Cooling

Is it hard to find the perfect temperature around your house, no matter how hard you try? Do the rooms in your house always feel like they are at different temperatures? Do some areas of your home never reach the desired temperature? While these might seem like unfixable problems, if you answered yes to any of these questions, it might signify that your home needs a zoned HVAC system. Zoned HVAC (or dual HVAC) systems are often recommended for certain types of living situations including homes that are multi-story houses, or homes with basements, large windows, or high ceilings, to name just a few

HVAC zoning is increasingly popular as many homeowners look for custom, eco-friendly, and high-tech upgrades to classic central air systems. But how do you know if a zoned HVAC system is right for you? Here’s what you need to know:


What Is a Zoned HVAC System?

A zoned HVAC system heats and cools separate areas of your house from the same central HVAC unit. Using a complex system of zone dampers and demand balancing, a zoned HVAC system can heat or cool each section of the house based on local temperature. Rather than using one central thermostat that heats or cools rooms to the same temperature, despite vastly different room climates, this HVAC upgrade can heat or cool one area at a time. This function allows a room’s temperature to be moderated only as much as needed, saving money and creating a more pleasant room temperature for all areas of the house. 

Each zone is moderated to a comfortable temperature and air pressure, including parts of the house that usually display different temperatures on the same thermostat setting. Zoned HVAC systems are most common in two-story homes and in homes with high sun exposure in one space. However, they can be an excellent solution for any home that suffers from uneven heating and cooling.

What Are the Benefits of a Zoned HVAC System?

Do you have a room that gets regularly drenched in sunlight from picture windows? Or perhaps you have a basement that feels like a tundra at the smallest gust of cold? A zoned HVAC solves these problems. Sounds great, right? And we’ve barely scratched the surface!

Greater Comfort with Balanced Temperature Throughout the Home

If you’ve struggled with uneven heating and cooling in your home, HVAC zoning is the answer. With a local thermostat, you can keep each room moderated with the right amount of hot or cold air, ensuring each room is pleasant and relaxing. Homeowners find this relieving and highly preferable to a regular one-setting-fits-all solution that often leaves specific areas too hot or cold.

Improved Energy Efficiency with Select Heating/Cooling

No one likes their energy bill in the heat of summer or the deathly cold of winter – and it adds insult to injury when you notice that not every room needs the full force of A/C or heat. With a zoned HVAC system, if your family rooms are downstairs, you can let the upstairs use less power during the day. If the sunny side of the house is pleasantly warm in the winter, you can crank up the heater only for the colder rooms. This system allows you to use less power overall for a more comfortable home, and happier energy bills.

Better Air Quality

The registers that separate zones also help to prevent dust and dander from circulating throughout the house. Setting up zoned HVAC is also an opportunity to place more air filters or install an in-line air filtration system, leading to better air quality for your home.

Ability to Adjust for Individual Personal Comfort

Even if your house has equal temperature and air distribution, you can also use a zoned HVAC system to split the temperatures in your house based on personal preference. If you have two people working from home, a zoned system can allow two entirely different office temperatures, warm or cold. Additionally, this zoning function promises safety by keeping a bedroom warm for an infant, elderly resident, or napping children while maintaining a cool bedroom for optimal sleeping temperature for adults. To summarize, zoning allows more personal flexibility that is perfect for providing perfect indoor temperatures, such as a cool bedroom and a cozy living room, all under one roof.  

How Do Zoned HVAC Systems Work?

Zoned HVAC heating and cooling works by using remote-controlled dampers. Dampers open and close to allow air through, controlling the zones inside your ducts and allowing the HVAC to send certain levels of hot or cold air in either direction or even hot air in one direction and cold air in the other.

A multi-zone control panel and local thermostats control the zoned HVAC system, allowing it to monitor temperature and air, and function correctly. Modern systems have the added bonus of having compatibility with mobile apps, smart homes, and smart thermostats, allowing you to control your system remotely and conveniently. 

Can You Convert an Existing HVAC System to a Zoned System?

Yes. By rebuilding your ductwork into multiple zones or installing control dampers into your existing zones, it is possible to upgrade an existing HVAC system to a zoned system.  Once the dampers or ducts are in place, simply attach a zone controller to your current HVAC system, provided it is in good condition. Experienced HVAC specialists will be able to answer your questions about whether you’d benefit from a zoned system, and help you make the upgrade when necessary.

Should You Just Get a Zoned System or Two HVAC Systems?

What is the difference between a dual-zone system and two HVAC systems? A zoned system handles multiple zones from one HVAC unit – a unified AC and heater system. Installing two HVAC systems, typically one upstairs and one downstairs, provides the horsepower of two separate HVAC systems. They might run on separate power circuits but cost twice as much to keep running. Aside from the cost, most homes are not large enough to require two HVAC systems, and therefore a zoned system is what most residential homes are looking for when inquiring about two separate HVAC systems.


Is a Zoned HVAC System Right for Your Home?

If you have felt the struggle of keeping an unevenly tempered house or the desire to set different areas of your house at different temperatures, a zoned HVAC might indeed be the solution you need. If you have a home business, medically equipped suite, sun-drenched side of the house, or just want a bedroom that’s always cool without a kitchen that’s freezing, then it’s worth making the switch to a zoned HVAC system.

If you have hot and cold areas of the house, you can even start with air balancing – the service of having your ducts cleaned and vent registers checked to ensure each room gets an equal amount of air. If air balancing does not solve your hot and cold problems in the house, then zoned HVAC then it’s time to call the professionals to chat about your dual system HVAC upgrade to guarantee that every area of your home is comfortable and fresh.

Cates Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can provide you with expert consultation, and zoned HVAC upgrade service with the latest HVAC and zoning equipment. Contact us today to explore the possibilities of a zoned HVAC system in your home. Our HVAC experts upgrade, install and service your HVAC systems and take care of all your HVAC maintenance and care, monthly.

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