The goal of a zoned system is to accurately control the temperature for each room or zone while also reducing total energy use and reducing cost. Zoned systems are a good idea when you have unoccupied rooms or when you experience a temperature imbalance in your home such as hot spots or cold spots. A zoned system is an investment, especially for existing homes that need to be retrofitted with the proper equipment so you'll want to carefully consider whether the investment in a zoned system will bring you the comfort and energy savings you want. So, is a zoned system right for your home?
What is a Zoned System?
A zoned system is when one HVAC unit is used to provide different temperatures to two or more rooms or zones in the home, rather than having two separate HVAC systems. Dampers are installed in the ductwork to help direct the flow of heated or cooled air into different rooms to meet the temperature needs of each zone. The dampers are managed through a damper control panel that uses data from the thermostat system to direct the right amount of air into each zone. The thermostat system can be individual thermostats that communicate with a central control panel or a single thermostat that controls the temperature in the various zones in the home. A good analogy to understand how a zoned system works is to compare it to your lighting. If one switch turned on all the lighting in the house and you couldn't control the lighting room by room, this would be a standard HVAC system. If you have a switch in each room that controls the lighting for each individual room, that is like a zoned system.
How Much Do Zoned Systems Cost?
The cost of a zoned system is usually around $2,000 to $2,500 for two zones and goes up by about $500 per zone in existing homes where a zoning system is being retrofit into the home. When installed in a new construction home, the cost of two zones runs about $750 cheaper and increases by about $250 per zone. Installing a zoned system in a new home under construction requires less work and labor and is thus cheaper overall. If you're considering installing a zoned system in a new build home, that is the optimal time to do it, rather than having to retrofit an existing home for a zoning system. That doesn't mean that putting a zoned system into an existing home is a bad idea. It can be very beneficial if you experience hot and cold spots or rooms or if you have unoccupied rooms you don't use much.
Spring is here and summer is right around the corner, along with the heat and humidity. You'll want to take steps now to prepare your HVAC for spring and summer to make sure you are cool and comfortable all season long.