When summer rolls into Sacramento, CA, triple-digit heat is not far behind. This means that your AC unit gets a lot of use. The winters are not severe in this region, but there are nights when you need reliable heat too. This year-long use of the heating, cooling, and ventilation system costs you money. One way to make it more efficient is to use what is known as HVAC zoning. At Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, we can help you to set this up. Let us cover some of the ins and out of this strategy.
What Is HVAC Zoning?
HVAC zoning is a method that divides your house into heating and cooling zones. Cities like Sacramento have seen an increase in multi-unit buildings, which are heated and cooled differently. However, there are still plenty of properties that can benefit from zoning too.
Spacious, large homes that include more than one floor are difficult to evenly heat and cool. Then, there are those who live in sizable houses but tend to spend most of their time in one or two rooms. It simply does not make sense to change the temperature of the entire residence if there is not at least one person in each space to enjoy it. Therefore, HVAC zoning is a way to create energy efficiency, save on energy use, and remain comfortable indoors.
How Is HVAC Zoning Accomplished?
HVAC zoning is accomplished by using dampers in a home’s ductwork and installing a thermostat in rooms that have vents. The dampers are used to block airflow output. If you only want the HVAC’s output to travel to your bedroom at night, the combination of the dampers and the appropriate thermostat make that happen. Once the system is completely installed, you simply need to program it according to your preferences.
This has proven to be great for older adults on a tight budget who decide to remain in their house. They do not have to worry about being mobile because they can pick a room or two and be comfortable without paying extra for their energy use.
Benefit: Energy Savings
Using HVAC zoning leads to energy savings for homeowners. If you live in a multi-unit building and your space is not too spacious, heating and cooling it is not too big of a challenge. Houses with several rooms, however, have more square footage to worry about.
Since you are not heating the entire residence anymore, you’ll be saving on your energy use. Output is not wasted because it is not being sent to empty rooms. Larger properties are always going to be a challenge to heat and cool evenly. Portions of the home are going to naturally develop hot and cold spots because they are in the direct path of the sun’s rays. Heat rises, so the upper floors of a house are usually going to feel hotter than the ground floor, which presents its own set of challenges.
Then, you have to take into consideration the preference of every member of the household. One may not need his room to be heated because he has several tech gadgets set up that already give off enough heat. Others enjoy being toasty, so they prefer that the thermostat be set at a higher temperature. With zoning, everyone gets to pick their temperature in their space without impeding on the preferences of others.
Benefit: Increased Lifespan of HVAC Unit
HVAC is technology. It is just a different type of technology. Nonetheless, it should be no surprise that the HVAC industry is integrating smart technology into its thermostats and units. Studies show that installing a smart thermostat increases the benefits of zoning as well as the lifespan of an HVAC unit.
Even when the life of a heating, cooling, and ventilation system is waning, a smart thermostat can extend it a little bit more. A smart thermostat is programmed. Eventually, it optimizes itself because the device, through machine learning, learns your habits. Additionally, when you sync it with the corresponding app on your smart device, you get to program your preferences.
All of those steps put together lead to an HVAC unit that is no longer abruptly starting and stopping. Rather, it makes smooth transitions. If you think of the HVAC unit like a car that breaks suddenly instead of smoothly, you can understand the wear and tear that is caused for both the vehicle and the unit. When the appliance is no longer being asked to make rough transitions, its components are not working so hard. This is one way to add some time back to the life of the system.
Benefit: Improved Indoor Air Quality
Whether your house has a central system that utilizes ductwork or a ductless unit, the output travels less distance with HVAC zoning. Therefore, it is not picking up particles on the way to its destination. This leads to improved indoor air quality.
The air filter in your HVAC unit does its job to trap the particles in your home’s air, but it does not catch anywhere near 100% of them. When the air does not have to travel through an extensive duct system, the output is not going to pick up as much bacteria, allergens, and VOCs. Plus, it is not going to get spread them throughout your entire house.
As you use zoning, the output only travels to designated areas at any time. Empty rooms, therefore, do not end up accumulating layers of allergens that are precarious for those who suffer from allergies and respiratory issues.
Can Every Home Be Zoned?
Every residence can be zoned. Professionals like ours simply need to take a look at your current HVAC system. If your home currently has ductwork and a central unit, dampers will be inserted in the appropriate places. After installing the proper thermostats, we will then walk you through the ins and outs of your improved system.
Newer houses have started to move away from duct systems and are using ductless systems in increasing numbers. In this case, we can always install additional units if you believe that you are still not achieving optimal temperatures and comfort.
One of the purposes of an HVAC system is to provide indoor comfort. You should be comfortable inside throughout the year. If there are several members in your household, zoning helps to give everyone the temperature options they prefer.
You may need to allocate more cooling to certain rooms, such as a home gym, a room that has several electronic devices installed, or a home office. Houses that have large windows, more than one floor, or uneven temperatures benefit the most from this strategy. It is also worthwhile for anyone who plans to remain in their home well into their later years.
To learn more about HVAC zoning, give us a call at Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ll be happy to schedule an appointment in Sacramento. We also offer maintenance agreements, indoor air quality assessments, and plumbing services.