Zoning and Your Central HVAC System

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Zoning and Your Central HVAC System

If you are installing a new central heating and air conditioning system, ask your contractor about zoning.

Zoning divides your home into—you guessed it—zones, which are different temperature areas that are controlled by their own thermostats. This gives you more control over indoor air temperature and comfort in different spaces/areas—upstairs and downstairs, or an addition, for example. While it is possible to retrofit an existing HVAC system to be a zoned system, doing this in a new installation is more effective. That’s partly because with a new installation, the zoning design will be factored into your ductwork specifications from the start, which will be more effective in terms of expense and performance.

Technically, you can have as many zones as you want; most homeowners with two-story homes opt for two zones. A multi-zone system is idea for a multi-story home and/or one with a finished attic or basement, a spare room that’s seldom used, or rooms that are much larger than others or have exposures or large windows that affect the room’s temperature differently than other spaces. Zoning enables you to set thermostats separately, or as needed; the thermostats are connected to a central control panel that activates dampers within the HVAC system. The dampers open and close to allow or stop air flow in the zone.

HVAC zoning elements

A damper opens or closes to moderate airflow to various zones in your house.

Aside from your new furnace and air conditioning system, zoning comprises:

  • Motor-driven dampers – these go into the ductwork; the ductwork design will inform whether you’ll need dampers just in the major branches off the trunk or in the smaller branches as well. The dampers can be made to open fully or to close, or modulated to open partway, depending on the zone.
  • Thermostats for each zone that monitor and control temperature, or multizone thermostat with sensors in each zone. Sensors will communicate with the thermostat that monitors and controls each zone’s temperature. Your HVAC contractor will explain the differences and potential benefits of a multi-zone thermostat, and which design makes the most sense depending on your home’s layout. At Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric, we recommend programmable smart thermostats.
  • Damper control panel – this is where the information is sent regarding temperature per zone. The control panel will open or close dampers to produce or limit airflow accordingly.

Benefits of central HVAC zoning

  • Regulates energy use and saves on your heating and cooling bill – your HVAC system works more efficiently, as the system’s output is reduced.
  • Enhances your family’s comfort – by eliminating hot or cold spots around the house, everyone stays more comfortable (no more arguing over who’s too hot or too cold!)
  • Improves temperature imbalance throughout the house
  • Optimizes your HVAC system’s capacity

Working with Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric

As a full-service contractor for heating, air conditioning and ventilation, Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric has the certified technicians on staff who will take proper measurements to make sure your new HVAC system is properly sized and the ductwork design provides maximal heating and cooling to the various areas of your home. We can work with architectural plans as well, in the case of new home construction, to ensure you have the proper zoning design for your needs. We even have our own sheet metal shop on our premises where we craft our ductwork—the same ductwork your dampers will be located.

Contact us to discuss zoning for your new HVAC system or to find out if retrofitting your existing system will meet your needs.

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