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If you live in a large house or one with more than one level, chances are you'll benefit from a zoning system. These systems divide a home into two or more areas, or zones, with separate temperature control for each zone. This allows your HVAC system to account for differences in location, elevation, windows and other factors in the home. Zoning can save money on energy and add a lot of convenience in most households.

How Does Zoning Work?

However the house is divided into zones — whether by levels of the home, big rooms with lots of windows, add-on rooms or suites, or other factors — each zone is outfitted with a separate thermostat and motorized duct damper that controls the flow of air into that room. The thermostats are connected to a central control panel that can adjust temperatures in each area. When a thermostat in one zone signals it's time for cooling or heating, the duct damper opens, allowing conditioned air into that area. Other zones don't get the cooled or heated air unless their thermostat sends the signal.

In some cases, depending on the design of a home's ductwork system, extra conditioned air may be permitted to bypass a particular zone and take a detour into common areas such as hallways.

What Situations Call for Zoning?

A zoning system can benefit any home where some rooms, levels or areas take longer to heat or cool than others. Following are some examples of scenarios where zoning could improve comfort and save energy.

  • A home with a finished basement that takes longer to heat and dehumidify than other parts of the house –With just one thermostat in the house that's usually located on the main level, the heat never stays on long enough to warm the finished basement, so it stays chilly and damp all winter.
  • Any multi-level home where heat rises into the upper floor(s) – In the summer, the A/C will satisfy the temperature setting on the thermostat that's installed on the main floor long before those upstairs bedrooms get cooled off.
  • A home that has a big area with a large bank of windows on the side of the house that gets afternoon sunshine – Solar heat warms this area quicker in both winter and summer. If the thermostat is located nearby, it's controlled by those conditions, not climate factors elsewhere in the home. In the winter, all that window space allows more heat energy to transfer outside, resulting in the thermostat kicking on the heat before other areas need it.
  • Home additions or porches that have been renovated into living areas – The different building materials may allow the room to get warmer or colder than the rest of the house.

Benefits of a Zoning System

  • Energy savings – When you don't have to heat or cool the whole home and can instead direct cool or warm air to only those areas that need it, you'll save substantial money on energy bills. This is particularly beneficial if home occupants tend to congregate in one part of the house.
  • Satisfying household preferences – If you're part of a family, you're probably all too aware of disagreements about comfort. What seems too cold to one person will feel just right for another and too warm for a third person. This makes it impossible for a single thermostat setting for an entire home to satisfy everybody. With a zoning system, home occupant preferences can be accommodate in different parts of the house.
  • Versatile – Most zoning systems can accommodate programmable thermostats and other smart features of modern HVAC technology. You can program temperature changes in each zone to match your expected daily and weekly schedule. Zoning systems also can work in tandem with air cleaning and dehumidification systems.

For more information on a zoning system for your New Lenox area home, please check out Climate Master Mechanical Contractors, Inc.’s climate control options, or call 888-376-2450. We provide quality HVAC services to greater Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.