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How Does a Zone Control System Work?

heating-cooling-zones-homesAre you concerned about how much energy your home uses each season? We hope you are, because when you take a close look at energy expenditure in your home, you can often pinpoint ways to lower costs. Or, you can work with professionals who will help improve your home to lower those costs.

A method for lowering home energy use that we recommend for houses that use a forced-air heating and cooling system (a furnace and standard air conditioner or a heat pump) is to outfit the HVAC system with a zone heating and cooling, i.e. a zone control system.

What Is a Zone Control System?

The simple answer is that it’s a way to control which rooms in your house receive heated/cooled air and which don’t. The standard central comfort system uses a blower fan to send the conditioned air into the duct network that branches out to the various vents that open on the rooms. However, the air goes to all the rooms, regardless of whether anyone is in the room or not to need the climate controlled. This is similar to having ever light in a home turn on when your flip a single light switch: it’s wasteful and unnecessary.

How a Zone Control System Operates

To install zone controls in an HVAC system, licensed technicians must put in place two sets of components:

  • Dampers: These dampers are fit into the ducts, and they can close off to seal airflow through a section of ducts to one of the vents. Installers will put in as many dampers as you want, depending on the number of “zones” you wish to divide the house into. It can be as few as two to as many as there are rooms in the house.
  • Local thermostats: Each damper has a thermostat directly controlling it, and this thermostat is placed in the zone the damper effects. The local thermostats all connect to a central control panel that can operate them all.

When a thermostat makes a request for a climate control change (either cooling or heating), the HVAC system turns on and the dampers to the other zones seal up—unless one of those zones is also receiving a request. Air flows only to the vents with open dampers. When a thermostat registers the set temperature is reached, it will signal to the control panel to shut its damper and also cycle down the HVAC system, unless there are other pending requests. When all requests are met, the system opens a vent in the return air ducts to help balance the pressure in the ventilation system, and then it shuts off.

Call Us to Find out More about Zone Controls

If you are interested in having installation of a zone control system in Westfield, NJ, talk to one of our staff members and they can go through all the steps necessary with you and help you to get started. We can retrofit your current furnace and AC system, or we can make it part of a new HVAC system installation. (Why not have that old furnace replaced as part of the job?)

Air Creations, Inc. offers service throughout Central and Northern New Jersey. “We Do It Right!” since 1987.

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