AC System Zoning
Many homes have rooms that are often warmer or colder than the rest of the house. There can be many different reasons for this. Heat rises, so rooms on second or third floors are often warmer. Rooms with
vaulted ceilings do not retain heat well, while rooms that receive more sunlight are often difficult to keep cool. These are just a few reasons, but regardless of why a room’s temperature is too hot or too cold system zoning will give you the ability to even out the temperature throughout your home. You also will have the ability to save money on heating and cooling costs by choosing which zones (rooms) you want to heat or cool.
System zoning can be pretty simple. It involves wiring multiple thermostats to a control panel, which operates dampers located in your systems ductwork. Temperatures are monitored by the thermostats for each zone, then based on the temperature the system will open or close dampers to maintain the temperature. Not only is system zoning helpful for homes with inconsistent room temperatures, but it’s also great for heating or cooling individual bedrooms based on the desired temperature setting. If you have a usually empty guest room, just shut the door and close the damper.
When used properly, system zoning can help you save money on your energy bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, system zoning can save homeowners up to 30 percent on a typical heating and cooling bill. Those savings can add up over time, heating and cooling account for 40 percent of the average home’s energy costs. Because guest rooms and other seldom-used rooms don’t require constant heating or cooling system zoning allows you to save money by heating or cooling those rooms only when needed.
Installing a typical zoned system is not typically a do-it-yourself project. The flex dampers, which come in circular and square duct models, fill with air to constrict or block the airflow within the duct. They’re resistant to heat, aging, moisture, airborne chemicals and ozone, and even if they’re punctured, which is unlikely, most holes will not affect the performance. Flex dampers should be installed in steel or flexible ducts. The dampers can be serviced easily by gaining access through a register. Flex dampers also work with most brands of zone-control panels.
The number of zones your home needs will affect the way you set up the system. In a two-zone system, with the zones being fairly equal in size, each zone’s ductwork must be capable of handling up to 70 percent of the total CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air produced by your HVAC system. In a three-zone system, the zones need to be as close in total area as possible. In this case, each zone’s ductwork should be able to handle up to 50 percent of the total CFM. Installing a four-zone system requires a bit more work. The ducts need to be enlarged by one inch, and they require a static pressure relief damper and high- and low-limit protection. To avoid major damage, be sure not to completely cut off the airflow over the heat exchanger or coil of your HVAC system.
Velocity Air offers both residential and commercial services in Clearwater, Tampa, St Petersburg and surrounding areas. Give us a call (727) 265-2300 in Pinellas, (813) 370-0299 in Hillsborough or you can schedule online for all of your heating and cooling needs.