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Some Considerations with Zone Control Systems

hot-cold-house-iconsYou may have heard about advances in climate control for homes that allow for the division of the house into a series of “zones,” with each zone having its own thermostat and climate adjustments. The standard form for central heating and air conditioning is an “all-or-nothing” system where heated or cooled air travels through the ducts of an HVAC system to every room vent, regardless of whether the room is occupied or needs conditioned air. Using a zone control systems, this no longer needs to be the case. Instead, each room only receives the level of climate control that matches its needs.

Installing zone control systems for homes is becoming increasingly popular. However, there are some considerations to think about if you’re debating on zone control as a way to lower your comfort costs or create more even distribution of heating and cooling around your household.

Zone Control Is About More Than Shutting Off Ducts

The simple description of a zone control system is that it involves placing dampers into the ductwork to shut off airflow to specific vents. Each of the dampers connects to a local thermostat, and then all network into a central thermostat.

In practice, however, simply shutting off parts of the ductwork doesn’t improve energy efficiency. After all, the blower fan of the AC and heater isn’t doing any less work; the air in the ventilation system is simply being stopped from reaching particular areas. This will cause a pressure increase inside the ductwork that can lead to damage and poor performance from the heater and AC.

For zone controls to work properly, technicians need to do more than place dampers and into the ventilation system. Changes need to be made to the rest of the HVAC system to allow for pressure balance and a change in how much energy the blower fan consumes. Putting in a variable-speed blower fan and a multi-stage furnace and air conditioner that will lower the amount of power they use as the dampers shut off is necessary to create an effective zone control system.

For this reason, it’s often not practical to attempt to retro-fit a current HVAC system with zone controls. It’s better to instead have zone controls included in a new HVAC system installation. It’s a larger project, but if you are considering having a full HVAC replacement sometime in the near future, we strongly recommend using this time to have zone controls put in.

The Ductless Heat Pump Option

There’s another way to have zone control in a home, and that’s to have a ductless mini split heat pump installed. This type of heating and cooling system is ideal for new construction and homes that lack the space for standard duct work. A ductless system operates through wall-mounted blower units placed around the house that hook to a single outdoor unit. Each blower can operate separately from the others using remote controls, and that means they automatically offer zone heating and cooling.

If you’re curious about the best next step for your HVAC system when it comes to zone controls in Edgewater, NJ, contact us today. Our experts will take you through the options for better heating and cooling.

Advanced Mechanical Services offers HVAC service throughout the Tri-State Area.

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