A Guide to Multi-Zone HVAC and How It Works

If you’ve been searching for an option to make your cooling and heating systems more energy-efficient and more effective, a multi-zone HVAC system is one of the best choices. In a multi-zone configuration, your central HVAC system is split into smaller parts or zones to provide much greater control over your air conditioning and heating. Instead of cooling or heating the whole building at once, multi-zone systems enable you to independently control the temperature for each zone. This can not only save you money on your annual energy costs but also overcome issues with cold and hot spots or uneven AC and heating.

An Introduction to HVAC Zone-Control

A zone-control system works exactly like any other central HVAC system in that the conditioned air is circulated throughout the home via the air ducts. However, these zone-control systems can shut off the airflow to different branches or sections of ductwork using air dampers so that air only reaches certain zones. The dampers are basically small metal plates located within the ductwork that can automatically open and close when needed.

In a multi-zone system, every zone has a thermostat that controls the temperature for that zone only. When a zone needs heating or cooling, the thermostat signals the main control board to open the dampers so the conditioned air can reach that zone. Once that zone reaches the desired temperature, the thermostat will signal the system to close the dampers and stop the airflow to that zone no matter what the temperature is in the rest of the building.

With HVAC zone control, you can adjust the temperature in each zone to be as hot or cool as you want without impacting the rest of the building. This can be a huge help if you have some rooms or areas that constantly stay warmer or colder than the rest of the building as you can create separate zones for those areas to overcome the hot or cold spots. The only real limitation is that the system can still only cool or heat at one time.

When installing a zone control system, it is up to you how many zones you want to create. Most commonly people will set up individual zones for each floor of the building or create different zones for the living and sleeping areas. You could also create a separate zone for every room if you so desired.

Benefits of Upgrading to a Multi-Zone System

Converting your existing HVAC system to a multi-zone set-up will generally cost a few thousand dollars, but the benefits it will provide can make it more than worth the cost. Reducing your energy bills is one of the biggest benefits of HVAC zone control as you will no longer need to cool or heat areas you’re not using. This type of system can also save you additional money by reducing the strain on your heating and cooling equipment, which can lead to fewer repair needs, less wear and tear, and a longer lifespan.

Multi-zone systems are highly recommended for buildings with multiple levels. In buildings with more than one floor, it is not uncommon for the upper levels to always stay warmer and the basement or lower levels to be cooler. By setting up a separate zone for every floor, you can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your system by directing the heated or cooled air to wherever it is most needed.

The same is also true if you have high ceilings or rooms with lots of big windows or skylights. High ceilings tend to make a room much cooler during the winter as all the heat from your furnace will rise to the ceiling. With a multi-zone system, you can create a separate zone for those rooms so that the heating system will run more often in that zone to overcome this issue. Large windows and skylights can also drastically increase the temperature of a room during the summer due to a large amount of heat gain from the sun shining through the windows. In this situation, you can set it so that that zone receives more air conditioning in the summer and less heating in the winter to compensate for the heat gain.

If you’re thinking about upgrading your home or commercial property to a zone control system, the expert HVAC technicians at BELOMAN are ready to evaluate your building to determine if this type of system is right for you. We’ve been providing outstanding cooling and heating services for customers in Belleville and the Metro East area for more than 60 years. In addition, we offer plumbing services. If you have any questions or need to schedule an appointment, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.