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A Homeowner’s Guide to Zoned HVAC Systems

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Zoned heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems have become increasingly popular in recent years. Like traditional HVAC systems, they feature either a furnace and an air conditioner or a heat pump. Zoned HVAC systems go one step further, however, by allowing you to control the temperature in specific areas of your home. What is a zoned HVAC system exactly, and how does it differ from a traditional HVAC system?

What Is a Zoned HVAC System?

A zoned HVAC system is a type of centralized heating and cooling system that’s able to condition the air in two or more spaces independently of each other. If you have a two-story home, for instance, you may be able to set the upstairs floor at a lower temperature than the downstairs floor.

Zoned HVAC systems separate multiple spaces into zones, hence their name. In the previous example, the upstairs floor and downstairs floor are each a zone. Zones typically have their own thermostat. You can raise or lower the temperate for a specific zone by adjusting its thermostat.

How Zoned HVAC Systems Work

Zoned HVAC systems work by using dampers. When the conditioned air enters your home’s ducts, dampers will route it to the zone or zones where it’s needed.

Dampers are simply motorized valves within ducts. They’ll open and close automatically in response to your thermostat settings. If you set the thermostat for a zone to heat, dampers for that zone will open so that warm air will be expelled into it. Dampers for the other zone or zones will remain closed.

Is a Zoned HVAC System Right for You?

While they are usually more expensive than traditional HVAC systems, zoned HVAC systems offer several attractive benefits. You can warm or cool specific areas of your home with a zoned HVAC system.

Some people prefer warmer indoor temperatures, whereas others prefer cooler indoor temperatures. If your preference disagrees with that of your family members, a zoned HVAC system may be a smart choice. You can set the zone for your living space to your preferred temperature, and your family members can set their own temperature for their zones.

Many homeowners save money after upgrading from a traditional HVAC system to a zoned HVAC system. It will allow you to warm or cool specific areas of your home, such as floors or rooms that are occupied. As a result, a zoned HVAC system won’t waste energy.