Say that you have both a home office upstairs and a family room in the basement of your multi-storey home. You probably spend a great amount of your time in the home office, Mondays to Fridays, and evenings and weekends in the basement. In such situations, you want your HVAC system to focus heat in the occupied spaces and not others. In the summer, you probably need more AC in the upper floors. This is where a zoning system comes to the rescue.

What is a zoning system?

When we design HVAC installations, we look at dividing the area inside of a residential or commercial space into different zones. And why is this crucial? Each area can then receive variable amounts of heating or cooling depending on usage and occupancy. So, what are these zones? The zones can be individual rooms or even entire floors. Much depends on the climate, and the size of the property.

How does a zoning system work?

A zoning system goes beyond just dividing areas. That’s just the start! What is required to make a zoning system effective is a series of motorized dampers. These then open or close the ductwork that leads to the various zones. As usage and occupancy differ across the areas, so should the temperature. This is precisely where a programmable thermostat comes to the fore. Note that the zoning system is not designed independently – it operates in tandem with your existing HVAC system.

Who should use a zoning system?

A zoning system is perfect for homes with multiple levels, rooms over the garage, and areas that are consistently too hot or cold. Zoning is also perfect for households where one might be working during the day in a home office.
Although zoning systems are a great idea in principle, there are a few considerations. Firstly, they raise the cost of your HVAC system. They also complicate the system. Professional contractors can install the thermostats and dampers for you. The advantage overall is clear: comfort and energy efficiency.

Choices in Design

Depending on your lifestyle and budget, consider one of three zoning systems:
  • Zoning by equipment: In this system, you might have one heater (ie. Furnace or ductless heater) on the first floor and another on the second floor. Balance out the additional investment with more directed heating efficiency.
  • Zoning by refrigeration: The method requires ductless mini-split systems. The solution is ideal when heating specific rooms or areas on demand.
  • Zoning by airflow: This is the simplest. The dampers direct the airflow.

Alternatives to zoning systems

If redoing your HVAC system isn’t an option, there are alternatives that we can help with. They are rerouting of ducts and floor vents, and energy upgrades such as adding more thermostats or sealing ducts to prevent leaks, or installing jump ducts.

Get in the zone!

A-1 Heating and Air Conditioning offers end-to-end HVAC solutions. We would be happy to discuss adding zones to your residential and commercial spaces. Contact us today for a free quote!