How to Choose the Best Zoning Method for Your HVAC System
May 31, 2019
There are so many important benefits that come from upgrading to a zoning system to heat and cool your home. However, choosing the wrong method for your house can undermine the energy and money savings you stand to gain from a zoning system upgrade. Are you wondering how you can choose the best zoning method for your HVAC system? Well, the OnTime Service team is here to share our guide to choosing the perfect method for your house!
Factors to Consider:
When it comes to choosing the best zoning method for your HVAC system, there are a number of important factors to consider. From the layout of your house to the day-to-day load of different rooms, a lot goes into mapping out the right zones for maximum balance and comfort. To plan the most effective method, evaluate the following:
First of all, you should evaluate the layout of your home. Essentially, the goal is to look for parts of your house that might have higher or lower workloads than other areas. In addition to separating zoning areas between separate floors, you should evaluate spaces that fall into separate architectural categories. This includes factoring in the following architectural features:
- How spread out your house is
- Exposure limits
- Basement and attic spaces
- Rooms with glazing
- Rooms over exposed floors
- Hot tub or swimming pool rooms
- Bonus rooms, like sunrooms, solariums, or atriums
Time-of-Day Load Patterns
In addition to separating your zones by architectural features, it’s important to factor in the time-of-day load patterns of different spaces in your home. For instance, the peak time for people to be in your living room is in the daytime, while bedrooms are occupied the longest at nighttime. Therefore, the priority of heating or cooling common areas of your house during the daytime tends to shift to heating or cooling bedrooms at nighttime. Another part of evaluating the time-of-day load patterns is considering the amount of solar exposure each room or zone gets over a 24-hour period.
Air Flow Balance
When planning your zones, it’s important to consider the ratio of cool air flow to heat air flow within each room. This is an especially important factor to consider if you are using the same ducts for cooling and heating.
Openness of Zoning Areas
Finally, you should evaluate the openness of your zoning areas. To achieve the best temperature balance and overall efficiency, you’ll want to make sure each zoning area contains rooms that are open to one another. Because more open zones keep the air circulating, this allows the zoning system to do what it’s designed to do, which is eliminate hot and cold spots in your home.
Types of Zoning Methods:
Once you’ve taken stock of these factors, you are ready to explore your zoning method options. To help narrow the field of possibilities, here are some common zoning methods that are used:
If you are planning a zoning system for a smaller, single-story house with a relatively open floor plan, a whole-house method could be a viable option. However, if your house is more spread out and there are large loads from windows, you should explore alternatives to whole-house zoning.
For houses without cooling systems, single-room zoning is sometimes the ideal method. Essentially, this method entails having each room in your house as its own zone. For the best results, this method uses ductless mini-split heat pumps. However, because these heat pumps don’t always come in a small enough size to fit some rooms, you may not be able to zone every single room.
Small Mini-Split Zoning
If you are unable to properly execute a single-room zoning method, the next best solution may be a small mini-split zoning system. With this method, you create small zones that include only a few rooms each. If your floorplan is less open and more spread out, this could be an ideal zoning method for your house.
Forced-Air System Zoning
For zoning a home with conventional forced-air equipment, you’ll need to use separate trunk lines to carry air to each zone. Based on what the thermostat tells it to do, a zone damper will open and close to facilitate the distribution of air. However, the best way to execute this zoning method is to use a variable-capacity system. With this system, you can more effectively adjust the air flow to the needs of each separate zone.
Discover the Best Zoning Method for Your HVAC System!
Are you ready to discover the best zoning method for your HVAC system? Let the professionals at OnTime Service help! With years of experience helping homeowners find the best HVAC solutions, we are ready to help you with your next big project. For help from one of our knowledgeable HVAC experts, call us today at 251-272-3595 (Eastern Shore) or 205-943-1405 (Birmingham), or schedule an appointment through our website!