How Zoning Works
A zoned HVAC system has automatic dampers in the ductwork that open and close based on the thermostat’s setting. Each zone has its own thermostat connected to a central control panel that turns the system on and off based on the thermostat. Zoning systems are often paired with programmable thermostats to achieve the most control, convenience and accuracy possible.
When Zoning Makes Sense
Zoning a home involves dividing it into separate areas that are close together and have similar thermal properties. Factors that impact the temperatures include:
- Each area’s orientation to the sun - Rooms located on the south and west sides of your home tend to be warmer than those facing east and north because the sun plays on these sections of your home more intensely in the summer time.
- Size and placement of windows - An area or space within your home that has a large expanse of glass will require a different level of conditioning. Even insulated glass losses more energy than the walls of your home.
- Structural position of the rooms in multi-story homes - Rooms in upper levels tend to be warmer throughout the year because heat naturally rises.
- Usage patterns - Kitchen areas and the places where your family congregates are warmer because of cooking and body heat. Conversely, if you have an area in your home that you seldom use, a zoning system lets you adjust the temperature for that area based on when you do use it instead of blocking it off or conditioning it regardless of occupancy.
Benefits of Zoning
A zoned home saves energy because your HVAC system doesn't work as hard since it's not providing conditioned air for the whole house at once. Zoning provides increased comfort as well, as the thermostat in each zone provides precision information to the control panel about current temperatures in that individual area.