A basic function of your air conditioning system is to keep you comfortable. If your central air system makes you cold in the summer, or if your air is feels cool but muggy, then your AC isn’t doing its job. There are a lot of factors that may explain why some parts of your house aren’t as comfortable as others, but even the best air conditioning unit may need a little help. If your house has more than one floor, or lots of room, or a finished basement, then you may want to think about a temperature zoning system.
Why Temperature Zoning?
First think about the concept of zoning. Does your home have a zoning system? Your first reaction may be “No, it’s just standard heating and air.” But I assure you that everyone here at GAMA Air has a zoning system in their home, and so do you. Don’t believe me?
Think beyond your HVAC system. When you walk in your front door and turn on the light switch, do all the lights in your house come on? Of course not; that would be ridiculous! Your lighting system is designed by zones. Then when you go to your kitchen and turn on the faucet, does water come out of every faucet and fixture in your house? Again, the thought is ridiculous. Your plumbing system is designed by zones. Why? You want to save energy and save water.
When you think it through, how much money are you saving by turning off lights that you aren’t using? To put it in perspective, a 100 Watt bulb burning 24-hours a day for a full year may cost you about $40. By turning it off 3/4 of the time you save $30. That’s nice pocket change, but fairly insignificant for an entire year.
Now think about this: If two of the three major mechanical systems in your house are zoned, why not the third and most expensive system to operate: your heat pump, furnace or air conditioner system? It just makes sense, doesn’t it?
What is Temperature Zoning?
So just what is a temperature zoning system? Basically it allows for a consistent temperature in a given part of your house, regardless of external conditions, such as sun, rain, snow, clouds, wind, moon phase, or if your favorite team is winning or not. It also allows for different temperatures in different parts of the house at different times as desired by the occupant, all the while using a single heating and air system. Simply put, within reasonable limits, each zone can have its own climate.
You could, for example, have some rooms that are cooler or warmer than others based on individual preferences. It is also possible to keep those rooms at different temperatures depending on whether the rooms are occupied or not.
Consider some realistic scenarios: The room above the garage is almost impossible to keep comfortable with a typical central air system and one centrally located thermostat. And then there are enclosed porches, entertaining rooms, kitchens, exercise rooms, babies’ rooms, to mention a few. All of these types of areas are very difficult to keep comfortable with only one thermostat and a basic air conditioner or forced air furnace.
So let’s sum up: We pointed out that your home already has zoning systems for light and water. So you only use the light or water when and where you want it. That makes sense and saves money. However 40% of your annual energy usage is from your heating and air system. Shouldn’t that also be zoned? We also explained that a temperature zoning system essentially provides the ability to independently control the comfort level in different parts of your home with a single air conditioner unit or furnace.
Do I Need a Zoning System?
Now we’re getting down the vital question. There are lots of factors that need to be considered to answer that question. And in a future post we’ll tackle the issue. Stay tuned!
Want to ask us a question about a zoning system? Visit our “Ask an Expert” page and fill out the form. Our resident expert will respond quickly with an answer.