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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Weiss

When Is It Right to Zone Your HVAC System?

Although your home’s HVAC system works hard to heat or cool the space, as required, you may not always have the desired temperature in all parts of your home at all times.

In such cases, where the temperature isn’t uniform all around, HVAC zoning may be the best solution. Here’s what you should know about it and when it’s right to do so.



Should you zone your HVAC system?

While HVAC zoning has several advantages, there are a few things to consider before doing it:

  • What an HVAC zoning system is

  • Which HVAC system works best for your home

  • Whether you have the right equipment and ductwork to facilitate the installation


You’ll get the best of your HVAC zoning if you have one of the following:


What is an HVAC zoning system?

An HVAC zoning system (also called “zoned HVAC”) is a heating and cooling system that employs dampers in the ductwork to control airflow to specific areas in your home.

A zone board and individual thermostats control the zones, and the sensors close and open the dampers to redirect airflow into the zones. 


This allows for the creation of customized temperature zones throughout your home for increased comfort. With a zoning system in place, a larger room can remain cool without freezing a smaller room. 


Advantages of HVAC zoning systems

The pros of HVAC zoning systems are as follows:


Energy savings

A central thermostat means you’ll have to change the temperature in your entire home frequently whenever it is too cold or hot in just one room. 

Zoning helps you save energy by only adjusting the temperature in the rooms where they’re needed rather than the entire house.


More control and comfort in your home

HVAC zoning systems give you control, as you can set the temperature for each room based on your preferences, making you more comfortable at home.


Improved air quality

The controlling HVAC zoning dampers ensure that air is only diverted to the zone it’s intended for, keeping unwanted dirt and debris that escaped the filtration system from circulating throughout the entire house every time you turn on your HVAC system.


Can you zone an unzoned HVAC system?

It’s best to zone your HVAC system from the start during building construction. However, if you have an existing single-zone HVAC system, you have to determine the following:

  • Whether the equipment is two-stage or modulating

  • Whether the ductwork is adequately sized, distributed, and connected


Two-stage or modulating

You need two-stage equipment or modulating for your HVAC zoning system to work in an unzoned space.


Single HVAC systems only operate at a high level but cannot provide the lower BTUs or CFMs (Cubic Feet per Minute) of airflow required to condition smaller spaces. This can cause the HVAC system to overheat or freeze up, ultimately causing short cycling. 


On the other hand, modulating systems can run at a variable output ranging from very low to full blast. On average, they can work at 60 percent capacity, which helps you to save energy.


Ductwork’s connection and distribution 

You should also consider the ductwork return paths, ensuring that the return is open to whichever zone is being heated or cooled at any particular time and separated from whichever zone is not being heated or cooled. 


For compartmentalized homes, you’ll need multiple returns. In some cases, some of the return ducts will have to be dampered. The ducts also have to be of the correct size to correctly accommodate each zone’s CFM so that you can get your preferred temperature.


Is a zoned HVAC system right for me?

You’ll get the most out of HVAC zoning if you have one or more of the following:

  • A multi-story home

  • A living space in the attic

  • High ceilings

  • A sunroom

  • Several large windows

  • A rarely used part of the house


Let the Lehigh Valley HVAC experts bring comfort and more to your home

There’s much to gain from zoning your HVAC system, but it’s important to reach out to a professional to help you determine whether you have the infrastructure to make it work.

Contact us today to learn more about HVAC system zoning and how to integrate it into your home. 

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