Central heating and air conditioning is the optimal way to keep your home comfortable. If you've struggled to stay warm during Chicago’s bitter winters and cool during the humid summers, a new HVAC system could be exactly what you need. Unfortunately, central heating and cooling can get very expensive very fast. It also has trouble keeping the basement the same temperature as the south-facing living room. Upgrading to a zoning system is the solution to both of these dilemmas.
What is a Zoning System?
Zoning is when specific rooms are heated and cooled based on when and where you spend your time. Instead of trying to heat the whole house based on the readings of a single thermostat, upgrading to a zoning system introduces multiple thermostats that take readings in different areas of your home.
Upgrading to a zoning system is similar to the no-brainer concept that multiple light switches are needed to light certain rooms as needed. If your home had only a single light switch, your electric bills would climb due to the wasted energy. Similarly, heating and cooling your entire home based on the temperature readings of a single thermostat is bound to waste energy.
Do I Need Zoning?
You could benefit from upgrading to a zoning system if the following aspects apply to your home:
- It's multi-story.
- There are large open areas with vaulted ceilings.
- You have a finished basement or attic.
- There is a room or rooms with expansive windows, especially on south-facing walls.
- Your family lifestyle requires different temperatures in different areas of the home.
- Heating and cooling needs vary at different times of day based on where you spend your time, such as daytime hours spent in a home office.
- Only a portion of the home is built over a concrete slab.
- Your home features wings extending off a main living area.
A zone is an area of your home with independent heating and cooling. More zones mean you have more control over the temperature in every room. Typically homeowners upgrading to a zoning system choose to have three zones. The zones you divide your home into depend on various factors.
For example, you might separate the upstairs, main floor and basement into their own zones for more consistent cooling. You can also delineate zones based on occupancy, placing public living areas on one zone to keep this space comfortable during the day and the bedrooms in a separate zone so these rooms are the only ones being kept comfortable at night when everyone's asleep.
You can also consider the needs of individual occupants. For instance, the upstairs study may need additional cooling to stay comfortable while the main floor baby’s room needs to be warm and cozy. Clearly, these two spaces should be in independent zones to accomplish these needs.
How a Zoning System Works
Multiple thermostats are installed so each zone can be controlled separately. The thermostats are electrically connected to a control panel, which operates dampers throughout the heating and cooling system. These dampers open and close depending on what the thermostat reads, and conditioned air circulates throughout your home to automatically deliver peak comfort where you need it most. Zoning systems are being installed more and more in new homes, and existing homes can be retrofitted to include this advanced option in home comfort as well.
Benefits of Upgrading to a Zoning System
- Comfort: Zoning meets the specific temperature and airflow requirements of everyone in the home. With a zoning system, there’s no need for Dad to roast in the upstairs office in order for baby to be warm and cozy in his or her room.
- Efficiency: Employ the help of an HVAC professional to design your zoning system. The right design methods could result in tremendous savings over the course of a year.
- Control: Zoning divides the house into different areas you can control with the touch of a button. Change the settings as frequently as you want, and install a programmable thermostat to get even more from each zone.
- Extended equipment life: A reduced workload results from heating and cooling specific zones instead of the entire home. This puts less stress on the HVAC system and helps the most important components last longer, preventing repairs and saving you money.
- Quiet operation: Since zones require less heating and cooling than the entire house on the whole, your system operates at lower speeds instead of maximum capacity, which lends itself to a quieter system.
For more information about upgrading to a zoning system, please contact the experts at Comfort24-7. We proudly serve residents of Chicago, northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan.