What is Zoned HVAC?

What Is Zoned HVAC?Simply put, Zoned HVAC is the ability to control the comfort level in separate areas of your home/business independently from each other. That means you could have one temperature in your bedroom, while having a separate temperature in your living room or kitchen, at the same time. 

I have been installing HVAC systems for over 15 years, and zoned systems have grown a lot in popularity. Zoned HVAC systems provide more customized comfort, and also help you reduce your energy bills. 

This article will provide more information about how you can zone your heating and cooling, and what benefits come along with it! If you are interested in a zoned HVAC system for your 

Why Should I Zone My HVAC System?

Most homes have some hot and cold spots, usually caused by a combination of factors like high ceilings, lots of windows, insulation, whether the room is on the “sunny” side of the house, and how far the room is from the main HVAC system. For example, third floor attics are closer to the roof and farther away from the heating system, usually located in a basement. Attic rooms tend to be much colder in the winter and warmer in the summer, and are notoriously difficult to keep comfortable. 

Certain types of homes, like split or bi-levels, are notorious for having hot and cold spots because the air does not circulate as easily between levels in the home. Likewise, a ranch style home may be spread out and some areas may not get the comfort they need because of their distance from the main HVAC system.

You can set your thermostat to a certain temperature, and your system will work to try to make the whole home that exact temperature. However, if you aren’t using the second floor of your home all day, why do you need to spend the energy and money to keep those rooms as warm as you might want the family room and home office? Likewise, at night, you could save energy by not trying to keep the whole first floor as comfortable as you might want the upstairs bedrooms overnight.

In some families, there’s an argument over what the “right” level of comfort should be. If you have zones for your HVAC system, you can adjust the comfort level in specific rooms and areas, so one bedroom could be warmer and another cooler, for those with different sleeping comfort levels. And for anyone who has ever had an argument over whether it was “time” to turn on the heat or AC, and argued over the proper temperature for your home, zoning can help make everyone happy while saving money on energy bills.

How Zoned HVAC Improves Comfort

By creating zones within your home, you can make sure you are getting the comfort you want, right where you need it. Each Zone can be controlled independently, allowing you to have heat and cooling where and when you need it most. This also means you can save significant amounts on your monthly energy bills by not heating and cooling areas that are not in use.

You can create zones based on whatever works best for you.  Often people create zones by the level of the home, or by areas that are used the most. For example, you might consider having one zone for the bedrooms , while having another for the kitchen and family room, and a third for the less used formal living/dining rooms of your home.

Can Any HVAC System Be Zoned?

HVAC systems can be “zoned” in many ways.

Separate HVAC Systems

In some very large homes, some people opt to put in separate HVAC systems to control different areas of the home. Each system is controlled by its own thermostat, which controls the comfort level in that zone.

HVAC Zoning Dampers

Dampers, which are typically valves or plates, can be installed inside the air ducts of your home, to help regulate the air flow to the different areas or zones. Dampers can be programmed to open and close as needed to regulate the air flow, and temperature. By controlling the thermostat in each area, your HVAC system and the dampers will go to work to make sure you are comfortable.  Programmable thermostats can then make sure your bedroom is the right temperature by the time you go to bed, and the Kitchen is warm and cozy in the morning when you wake up. Newer smart thermostats can also help program your system based on what your activity in your home, to help maximize energy savings.

Supplemental Ductless Heating And Air Conditioning

In some homes, certain areas may be best served by having their own heating and air conditioning system. Mitsubishi Ductless and Daiken ductless systems can provide single or multiple zones of heating and cooling right where you need it most. 

Using a supplemental system helps take the pressure off your main HVAC system to keep those hard to heat and cool areas comfortable, while giving you better comfort control where you need it most. Areas like mud rooms, bonus rooms over a garage, basements, sunrooms, attics and more are areas where a single zone of high-efficiency Mitsubishi ductless might be just the thing to solve the comfort problems.

Mitsubishi and Daiken heat pump systems are also great ways to add additional zones of comfort in your home if you do not have ductwork.  For example, If you have an older home with radiator heat, zoning is trickier, because you do not have air ducts that can be easily adjusted with dampers. Mitsubishi high-efficiency heat pump systems, often called mini-splits, can provide both heating and cooling to those specific areas of your home and create a separate zone of comfort where you need it most. Each individual cassette or head will create a separate zone of heating and cooling, giving you pinpoint control over both temperature and humidity. Many of these systems can be controlled through a smartphone app, and can even be set up to go into standby mode when no one is using the space.

Zoning can Save you Money

Creating separate zones of comfort throughout your home not only can keep everyone comfortable, but it can save a lot of money on your energy bills. For example, while people are up and going to work/school, you really don’t need to be spending extra money trying to keep the bedrooms at a comfortable temperature. If you had a zoned heating and cooling system, you could reduce the temperature in those rooms during the day and then just add heat back before bedtime, or reverse during the summer!  

Family Member Accommodations

If you have family members that don’t regulate their own temperature well, such as older relatives who are always cold or too hot, or a baby that needs extra warmth, zoning your heating and cooling system can make sure everyone gets the comfort they need in their space without causing everyone else to freeze or swelter.

How Do I Get A Zoned System?- What Is The Best System For Zoned Heating And Cooling?

Choosing A Mini Split For A Garage: Ultimate GuideThere are several ways to create zones in your home. If you have a conventional forced air heating and cooling system, you can use dampers installed in your ductwork to regulate the flow of air to different areas of your home, to get a better balance of comfort. Most systems come with manual dampers you can find on your ductwork, or you can get a programmable automatic damper system installed by an HVAC contractor like the experts here at Compass Heating & Air.

If you are considering replacing or supplementing your existing heating and cooling system, Daiken VRV and Mitsubishi Electric heat pump systems can easily create separate zones of heating and cooling where you need them most. 

Here at Compass Heating and Air, we highly recommend Daikin VRV systems. These advanced systems use variable refrigerant flow, that can help modulate the airflow to various areas of your home, allowing you to create zones and have much better control over the comfort level in various rooms of your home simultaneously. This allows you to have different temperatures in different areas, increasing energy efficiency and giving your more personalized comfort.

VRV systems also use advanced sensors to help detect factors like sunlight, occupancy and outdoor temperature to help monitor and regulate the indoor comfort level. They are really great at optimizing your energy use while maintaining comfort, giving you both advanced comfort control and smaller energy bills at the same time!

Making The Choice That’s Right for You

Here at Compass Heating and Air, we know that every home is different, and everyone has a different budget. If you are interested in whether Zoning is right for your home, and what benefits it could provide, give us a call. We’ll be happy to come out and evaluate your current system, and make suggestions to give you the comfort you want, while enhancing efficiency and keeping your energy bills under control. And if you are thinking it’s time to replace your current HVAC system, we’ll be happy to discuss whether a new Daikin VRV home system is right for you- you could have the comfort you need in each room of your home, while increasing efficiency and saving money every month on your energy bills!