Angie’s List: Comfort Zones in Homes

5 Zoning System Principles

Hire a qualified HVAC contractor who follows proper zoning system design principles to ensure efficiency when grouping rooms and areas of the home together, which will ultimately allow your heating and cooling system to operate more efficiently, and create conditions in your home that are conducive for comfort. Here are 5 basic guidelines the contractor should follow:

1. Use an air duct damper to control each floor of the home: Because heat rises, two-story homes are nearly always subject to drastically differing heating and cooling loads on the first and second floors. Therefore, these floors should never be grouped together.

2. Consider home construction materials: Unless all parts of the home were constructed at the same time, the builder probably employed construction materials that differ in efficiency from the original materials used. Newer, add-on sections of the home will be more efficient, while older sections of the home — even in spite of retrofits — are generally less efficient. Therefore, your contractor should never group an older section of the home in a zone with a newer add-on section.

3. Account for perimeter and interior walls: Rooms that run along the exterior of the home are generally subject to more heat loss/gain, whereas rooms that run along the interior of the home largely bypass these losses. Therefore, the HVAC contractor should never combine a room along the exterior of the home with an interior room in the same zone.

4. Properly locate thermostats: For optimal readings, the thermostat in each zone should be installed in a central location, where home occupants spend the most time.

5. Consider solar requirements: Rooms that face south/west are subject to high heat gain during the summer and should never be grouped into a zone with rooms that have differing solar needs. Grouping rooms with high solar gains together allows the zoning system to deliver a higher volume of cooling to the room to ensure comfort, without wasting energy cooling other rooms that don’t need it.

Homeowners seeking refuge from an uncomfortable home should find a cost-effective solution in a zoning system. Talk to your HVAC contractor today, and find out if a properly installed zoning system is right for your home.

Categories: Angies List, Daybreak

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