February 14, 2024
Why Zoned Heating Systems Are a Smart Investment

Over recent decades, one type of heating system that has become relatively common in new homes is a zoned heating system. Zoning can be done in ductwork or by using a series of ductless mini-split units. Here are the basics about this energy-efficient system.

What is a Zoned Heating System?

With a traditional heating system, one thermostat in your home is connected to your furnace or other heating unit. You set the thermostat to whatever temperature you want the inside of your home to be, and your heating system will heat up your home to that set temperature. One of the problems that many homeowners run into with this traditional type of heating system is that it can waste a lot of energy heating rooms that you never use. It can also leave some rooms colder than others.

This is where a zoned heating system can help. Instead of having just one thermostat in your home, you can have a series of thermostats. Each thermostat will control a specific zone or area in your home. For example, you may have a thermostat to control the temperature of the first level of your home for rooms like your living room or kitchen. You could then have a second thermostat that controls the temperature for the second story of your home.

If you have a traditional ducted HVAC system, each zone has its own temperature sensors. The zones are electronically controlled by vents or dampers installed in your air ducts. These dampers regulate the flow of conditioned air throughout your ductwork and into the rooms you want. Your thermostat will communicate to open and close the necessary vents based on your different thermostat settings.

If you have a mini-split, each indoor air handler will have an independent thermostat. The number of zones will be based on the number and location of these components. You can choose a separate schedule for each unit. If you have an indoor unit that heats a rarely used space like a guest bedroom, you can keep it off until needed.

What Types of Homes Can Benefit From Zoned Heating?

Investing in a zoned heating system can be a smart investment for most homeowners. While all homeowners will likely see energy savings after installing this type of heating system, some homeowners will see bigger savings than others. These include those with homes that have any of the following attributes:

  • Open layouts
  • Unused rooms
  • Multiple stories
  • Large windows or sunrooms
  • Basements
  • High ceilings
  • Attic living spaces
  • Rooms or spaces for rent

Fully Control the Temperature in Your Home

Perhaps the most significant benefit to investing in a zoned heating system for your home is that you can fully control the temperature throughout all the rooms. You can set different temperatures for different rooms so that everyone is happy.

For example, you can set the temperature to be warmer in the living room, where you spend your time in the evening, and colder in your bedroom so you can sleep better. This is especially helpful when you have certain rooms in your home that are naturally heated by the sun and become too warm on a single thermostat heating system.

More Energy Savings

A great benefit of a zoned heating system for any home is that it can increase your energy savings throughout the winter months. When you can specify which rooms need heat and which ones don’t, your heating system doesn’t have to constantly run to heat every room in your home. A shorter run time means less fuel used and more energy savings for your monthly budget.

Longer Heating System Lifespan

Since a zoned heating system allows you to better control where the heat goes and how much of it needs to be produced in your home, your heating unit will likely run less often than with a traditional thermostat system. When your furnace runs less often, it will naturally have a longer lifespan because its internal components won’t wear out as quickly. With a zoned heating system, you’ll essentially get more bang for your buck when it comes to the overall investment of your entire heating system.

The Zoned Setup Works for Air Conditioning Too

If you currently have a centralized air conditioning and heating system, upgrading to a zoned heating system will allow you to take advantage of that selective temperature control during the summer months. Just as the thermostat controls the electric dampers to bring heat to select areas of your home, it will control those same dampers when it comes to providing air conditioning to certain rooms of your home. This will help to make your family even more comfortable during the summer months, too.

Reduced Noise Level

With a one-zone heating system, anytime your furnace kicks on, you’re going to hear the sound of the blower fan coming out of all the vents as it delivers heat throughout your home. This can be slightly irritating, causing you to turn up the volume on the television. One benefit of investing in a multi-zoned heating system is that the blower fan will only be heard from the open vents. For example, if your living room thermostat tells your furnace to kick on to increase the ambient temperature, you’ll only hear the blower fan while in your living room. You won’t hear it in the bedrooms that are controlled by a different thermostat.

How Many Zones Do You Need?

If you’re convinced that a zoned heating system is a great investment for your home, the next thing you’re likely thinking about is how many zones you need. While it’s assessing your needs on your own is a good start, it’s best to rely on a professional. They will be able to determine where major temperature fluctuations are throughout your home and recommend the ideal number of zones to meet your needs.

Remember that the layout of your ductwork will play a large role in the number of zones you can have. If a set of rooms cannot be discretely separated from other portions of your ductwork, they cannot be grouped as a single zone without reconfiguring the ducts. Because dampers must be installed directly into your existing ductwork, you will need to choose points where your ductwork is easily accessible or commit to opening holes in your floors, ceilings, or walls during the placement of dampers. Because of this, it’s a good idea to work with a professional early in your planning process.

Let Us Assist You Today

White Mechanical, Inc. offers zoned heating systems for commercial and residential customers in Foothill Ranch, CA and throughout Orange County. We’re also more than happy to provide you with top-quality heater and air conditioner installations, repairs, and maintenance. We also offer indoor air quality solutions and duct cleaning services. Be sure to contact us today to get one of our highly experienced HVAC technicians on the way to your home.

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