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Should I Zone My HVAC?

Do you have rooms in your home that always seem too hot or cold? Do you question whether your thermostat reading is accurate throughout your entire house? HVAC zoning is a great solution for maintaining consistent and optimal temperatures, regardless of the season.

While it is possible to add zones to your existing HVAC system, even if you use a single air handler or furnace connected to one compressor or heat pump, your best bet would be to update your equipment for optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Want to learn more about how zoning could improve your home’s energy efficiency and comfort levels? Contact Mountain Home Services' team of HVAC experts today!

Adding Zones To Your Standard HVAC Equipment

While adding zones to your current HVAC system could provide consistent temperatures throughout your home, it would probably increase your overall energy costs. When it comes to zoning your HVAC system, your options fall into two categories:

  1. Add zoning to your standard HVAC system, often resulting in decreased energy efficiency and service life of your system due to added strain on your equipment.
  2. Add zoning by upgrading to variable speed equipment within your HVAC system to comfortably heat and cool different areas without the added strain to your system or monthly energy bill.

Given the limitations of using standard equipment to zone your home, you’ll need to consider a few things before moving forward with option one.

  • Installing HVAC dampers, or duct dampers, is the most common way to incorporate zoning into your current system. These movable plates are located in your ductwork and regulate airflow, redirecting it to specific areas of your home as necessary.
  • Since your standard ductwork is only set up for a single zone, you’ll need a bypass duct installed. This connects your supply air to your return plenum, connecting your return ducts back to your HVAC system.
  • Your evaporator coils will experience colder-than-ideal temperatures. Your return plenum works to send air back to your evaporator coils, which hold chilled refrigerant and produce the cold air that creates a comfortable temperature in your home. If your evaporator coils get too cold, they need to work harder to keep up with increased cooling demands under a single-speed blower.
  • Your single-speed blower will experience higher demand. When cooling your entire home through the installation of duct dampers, your air handler will need to work harder, decreasing efficiency and putting a strain on your cooling system’s equipment. A single-speed blower was designed to work at 100% or 0%, creating static pressure as it works continuously to push out air.

The result of zoning with standard equipment is less efficient operation and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system. Alternatively, the solution to zoning your home’s HVAC while maintaining efficiency and saving money on energy costs is the use of variable-speed equipment.

Zoning Your HVAC With Variable-Speed Equipment

The best way to cool your entire home and eliminate seasonal hot or cold spots is to invest in what’s known as variable-speed equipment. Unlike the standard “one speed fits all” air handler, variable speed equipment will intuitively match your home’s heating or cooling needs for specific zones of your house, eliminating the need for bypass ductwork installation.

In the long run, opting for variable-speed equipment provides the best value and comfort when aiming to maintain consistent temperatures throughout your house.

Here’s what the process of variable-speed equipment functionality looks like:

  1. Your HVAC technician will still install electronic dampers inside your home’s ductwork. However, they won’t need to install a bypass duct due to smaller volumes of air being sent on demand.
  2. You won’t need to worry about your evaporator coils operating inefficiently. Without the need for a bypass duct, your evaporator coils won’t be overloaded with cool air. This will increase energy and performance efficiency, saving you time and extending the service life of your HVAC system.
  3. You can be sure that hot and cold spots in your home are getting the attention they need. Your technician will work with you to determine that the smallest zone is only accounting for 30-35% of your compressor or heat pump’s capacity. This will allow your equipment to be fully capable of responding to the needs of various zones, and heating or cooling them appropriately.

Variable-speed equipment ensures that you enjoy consistent heating or cooling with the added benefit of energy efficiency and a longer service life for your system’s equipment.

Is Zoning My HVAC System The Best Option For My Home?

Zoning your home allows you to have independent control over the temperature in various areas, whether you want each zone to be the same temperature or different based on the needs of other occupants. If you have a room with high sun exposure that is frequently too hot during the afternoon, zoning will solve this problem. The ability to set temperatures catered to specific zones or conditions, or to only operate in zones you use, provides greater control over your energy usage without limiting your comfort.

To learn more about zoning your home’s HVAC system for optimal temperature versatility, contact our team of friendly professionals. Whatever your home’s heating or cooling needs may be, we will provide long-lasting comfort solutions!

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