Zone Control Systems Could Cut Costs for Homeowners

Heating and cooling expenses seem unavoidable. After all, it wouldn’t be beneficial to sit inside a home that was uncomfortable hot or cold. The summer and the winter bring extremes in temperature, and those extremes won’t stay outside. The cold air, in particular, will drive down temperatures in the home. While comfort and, presumably, safety increase when properly regulating temperatures, monthly expenses rise. Solving comfort and safety issues, however, could lead to woes about the household budget. Paying bills with credit cards often leads to debt for already cash-strapped homeowners. Or does it? A solution may exist in the form of zoned control systems. Thanks to zone control setups, a home may maintain a better-regulated temperature in a home.

What are some issues of concern that might lead someone to go with zone control setups? Here is some information, just to get you started.

What Homeowners Get with Zone Control Systems

A family may live in a relatively sizeable home, one with many rooms. Not every room ends up occupied all the time, and some rooms may remain empty for weeks and weeks. For example, a spare bedroom might not have an occupant when a young person goes away to college. Regardless, the heating and cooling systems can only do one thing: send hot or cold air through the ducts. If someone sets the temperature at 65 degrees, then air heated or cooled to 65 degrees goes on its way. And yes, that “way” also includes delivering the air through vents in unoccupied rooms.

Then, the monthly heating bill arrives. When it does, the figure reflects the cost of heating an entire house. If there are two floors, the furnace sends air to those locations. In short, the homeowner pays for heating and cooling the entire interior. Without installing a zone controlled system, the it’s “all or nothing” with interior heating and cooling.

However, with a zoned setup, here are three scenarios:

  • The most occupied room, such as the living room, maintains 68 degrees.
  • The kitchen, a room partially occupied during the day, maintains 60 degrees.
  • The spare bedroom, the virtually always empty room, doesn’t receive any hot or cold air.

The impact of such systems becomes hard to ignore when the monthly bills arrive. By better regulating the distribution in specific rooms, homeowners save money and cut out waste.

Cutting Costs and Waste

It proves difficult not to see the value of the zone control system. Spending money to heat rooms that are either infrequently used or not used at all is wasteful. That money could be put to better use elsewhere, including taking steps to bring down heating and cooling bills even further. For example, the money saved could go towards purchasing weather enforced windows and doors.

Remember, money isn’t the only thing people waste when heating occupied rooms. Energy waste can be a problem, especially when you’re looking to cut back on your carbon footprint. A zone control system could assist anyone with such concerns.

Different Zoning Options

There is more than one type of zoned system to select. A homeowner might opt for sensor-based zoning or system-based zoning. As the name suggests, sensor-based zoning relies on various sensors to keep tabs on each room’s temperature. Sensor-based zoning commonly goes with a central thermostat. System-based zoning intends to serve the same purpose, but homeowners would need to install separate thermostats in each zone. As far as efficiency goes, system-based zoning may have an edge, as sensor-based zoning relies on the thermostat picking up temperature figures in the room where it is located.

The option also exists to integrate a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats allow homeowners to program temperature settings and utilize smartphone/tablet-based remote commands. Smart thermostats may work better with sensor-based zoning. Consider it wise to speak with an HVAC technician to determine whether a smart thermostat works effectively with the zone system you wish to install.

A smart thermostat could eliminate issues with heating the house when you aren’t home or if you wish to make changes from work or elsewhere. Ultimately, a smart thermostat assists with efficiency and staying on budget.

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Dampers Support the System

Homeowners may wonder how a zone control system facilitates the heating and cooling levels in particular areas. As most correctly assume, there needs to be some mechanical components installed to facilitate the temperature’s regulation. What many would-be zone control customers might not realize is that the components are not all that sophisticated. Zone control doesn’t require an elaborate mechanical setup. Instead, somewhat simplistic add-ons to the ducts known as “dampers” facilitate temperature regulation.

A damper, also known as a zone damper or a volume control damper, serves the same role as a valve on a water or gas line. Air escapes through the dampers placed inside the ducts. The more the damper opens, the more air escapes. The tighter the opening, the less air that will escape. Allowing more or less hot/cold air escaping via the dampers factors into a room’s temperature. Completely closing the damper would eliminate any hot/cold air from entering the room.

Dampers might not reflect a mechanical design that is overly sophisticated, but they deliver enormous benefits. A sink’s faucet doesn’t reflect complex engineering, but its simplicity keeps water from flowing non-stop, which proves highly valuable.

How does a damper know what to do? The thermostat tells it how to work. And that’s to say the person programming the thermostat makes the determination.

Keep in mind, there are some situations where better control could avert possible problems.

The Plumbing Scenario

Comfort isn’t the only thing to worry about when attempting to regulate temperatures in a house. No one wants to see their pipes freeze because frozen pipes could burst. In the best-case scenario, someone in the home immediately discovers the problem and shuts off the water flow. Even then, there will be plumbing repairs and water restoration work required. Worst-case scenarios could mean thousands and thousands of dollars in damages, as some homeowners insurance policies exclude burst pipes.

In areas where pressurized pipes run inside the walls, a homeowner might want to keep that area appropriately heated even when heating the rest of the house is unnecessary. Case in point, someone going away for the weekend might not need the house to be all that warm but might want to play it extra safe with the plumbing. Heating bathrooms or rooms with “hidden” pipes seem wise, so why not let a zone control system do the “targeted heating?” The system could cut down on costs and concerns. Adding a smart thermostat could even make the process more streamlined and efficient.

At Air Max HVAC, our company serves as a Better Business Bureau member and is a Dave Lennox Premier Dealer. Besides offering heating and cooling work, specifically repair, installations, replacements, and maintenance, we could perform indoor air quality assessments and solutions as well as indoor energy audits. Please call our offices today to discuss any HVAC work you are curious about. We look forward to serving all of your indoor home comfort needs.

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