When spring arrives this year, you may be looking to have a new HVAC system installed for your home. Spring is a good time to have this done, between the winter and summer weather, and it’s easier to schedule the service with our technicians at a convenient time because we aren’t as busy handling major troubles for cooling or heating in Raleigh, NC.
If you’d like a head start thinking about spring installation plans, we have a proposal for you: making zone controls part of your new HVAC system.
What are zone controls?
They’re a way to divide up how your home is heated and cooled. The standard central HVAC system that uses ductwork—probably the type you have—is usually an “all or nothing” comfort system. When you turn on the AC or the furnace, cooled or heated air goes to every room connected to the ventilation system. There’s nothing wrong with this, since you end up getting the comfort you want. But it isn’t a terribly efficient way of heating and cooling, since some of those rooms may be unoccupied, or not need major temperature changes. Think of it as if a single light switch turned on all the lights in your house—it may be convenient, but it’s also wasteful.
Zone controls divide up the ventilation system using dampers, local thermostats, and a variable speed fan to allow for the HVAC system to modulate how much power it uses and which rooms receive conditioned air. The dampers can shut off certain rooms to airflow, while the blower fan reduces the power needed to deliver comfort to the smaller number of rooms that do need it. The dampers can be controlled either through the room thermostats (for comfort in each room) or through a central thermostat (to manage comfort around the house).
What are the benefits?
Here’s why we recommend zone controls for new HVAC installation:
- Energy savings: The most immediate positive effect of having zone controls is it cuts down on energy bills throughout the year. For larger homes or homes that have frequently empty rooms (such as a guest bedroom), the savings can be significant. You only need to spend money to heat or cool rooms that need it.
- Personal comfort: Because of the room thermostats, individuals in your household can adjust the temperature where they are to suit their own needs. No more fighting over thermostat settings because people can’t agree on the temperature!
- Customized climate: Different rooms have different climate needs. Kitchens often benefit from more cooling, while an infant’s room may need to be warmer. Zone control lets you tailor the temperature to fit specific rooms.
- Even heating and cooling: A house can become either too cold or too stuffy when every room is receiving conditioned air at once. With zone controls, you can heat and cool separate parts of the house to allow for comfort to spread evenly—such as first heating the downstairs and then allowing the heat to rise without also heating the upstairs.