What Does Temperature Control Zone Mean? As we learn more about the importance of energy efficiency, we will answer the question, “What does zone control mean?”
You may find that this one factor of heating and cooling can make a huge impact on reducing your carbon footprint and save you money.
Control Zone versus Traditional HVAC
Most traditional homes are built with one thermostat that regulates the temperature for the entire home. This means all rooms are heated equally, regardless of usage. Consider the way you use lights. Most homeowners turn off lights in the rooms that are not in use. Turning off lights in unused rooms reduces the electricity needed to light the home. Similarly, zone control allows you to heat or cool the rooms in use, while turning off unused rooms through the use of a zone control panel and motorized damper.
Consider a two-story home with a single thermostat downstairs. During the heat of summer, the downstairs temperatures may be cooled to the 72-degree setting on the thermostat, however, the upstairs is usually five to ten degrees warmer because its closer to the heat of the roof and hot air rises. Without zones, the temperature upstairs can be considerably warmer and yet the thermostat doesn’t communicate the need for additional cooling. Zoning would add another thermostat upstairs, allowing additional air to be forced into that warmer area and bring the temperature to the desired setting.
Similarly, for homeowners who have different preferences in how warm or cool their bedroom is kept while sleeping, a zone control allows the thermostats of each room or zone to be set differently. And, for maximizing efficiency, if your household pattern is to go to bed at 10pm each night, the heat for the living room can be reduced while the bedrooms are being warmed. Reducing the temperature of an area by even a few degrees regularly can save you up to 30% on energy usage.
What does HVAC zone control installation entail?
A zone control panel is “the brain of the system” and is used to program the desired temperature settings for each zone of the home. Sensors are used in HVAC to control air flow and pressure, allowing for even air distribution. Thermostats determine the temperature of the zoned area and allow the modification of the heating or cooling based upon the readings. Motorized dampers are installed in new or existing HVAC systems for air distribution to be made based upon the thermostat reading and sensors.
Ductless mini split option
While adding zoning to an existing HVAC is less expensive, there is another option for homes without ductwork. A ductless mini split system has an outdoor compressor or condenser used with an indoor air handling unit. These systems are gaining popularity as they also utilize zoning technology, driving down energy costs.
Pros and cons of zone control
The two biggest pros for adding zone control are the ability to save energy and the improved temperature comfort in your home. Rather than arguing with family members about what temperature it should be, each person can select the temperature of their zone. This won’t fix the times you’re disagreeing while cuddled up on the couch together, however, there’s still a blanket for that.
The biggest con with zone control is the initial cost of set up. Zone control panels, thermostats, sensors and motorized dampers add up so it’s not a cheap update but can be considered an investment. However, if you currently have a heating and cooling HVAC system, adding zoning to your current system is doable and less costly than an entire new system.
Most homes can benefit from a heating and cooling zone control system. To request an analysis on your home, contact Three Rivers Heating and Cooling.