Unless you happen to own a home that is LEED certified or built with Passive House standards in mind, chances are good that you have some issues when it comes to heating and cooling your home. These certified structures are designed to be airtight and they feature better-than-average insulation, ventilation, and overall energy efficiency. But since most homes aren’t built to these levels of quality, you’re bound to notice drafts and spots in your home where it’s cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer, no matter how much you run the HVAC equipment in your home.
Luckily, you can hire a home energy auditor to detail problem areas so that you can make your home more airtight and energy efficient overall. But you should also consider implementing a zoning system for your HVAC. There are just a few things you might want to know beforehand.
- Zoning uses your current system. Although you can certainly upgrade to more energy efficient HVAC equipment when you decide to zone your home, the sensor, dampers, thermostats, and electronic controls that are used to split your home into heating and cooling zones can definitely be added to your current HVAC system. This equipment will simply redirect air as needed to ensure that every area of your home provides the comfortable interior environment your family desires.
- You can select the zones. If you have a multi-level home, the easiest way to zone it is by floors, since the top floor tends to get the hottest in summer, the basement tends to get the coldest in winter, and the main floor suffers temperature extremes as you try to heat or cool the other levels adequately. But you may not have a multi-level home. Or one side of your house may get a lot hotter in the afternoon sun. Luckily, the dampers and thermostats you install allow you to set up zones to your preference, in most cases, so if two bedrooms are perennially hotter or colder than the rest of your home, you can put them on a separate zone from the rest of the house, just for example.
- Zoning increases comfort and convenience. If you’re tired of berating your spouse and your kids for fiddling with the thermostat, you’ll find that zoning can cure what ails you. When different areas of the house are separated by temperature zoning, the kids can stay cool upstairs during the summer without blasting the common areas on the main floor into the ice age. And if you need to adjust the temperature, you no longer have to go up and down flights of stairs to do it. Every level can have its own thermostat, or you could place one in often-used rooms like your bedroom or the kitchen.
- Zoning can save you money. Zoning alone will not necessarily optimize your home’s energy efficiency, but when used in concert with programmable thermostats, it can decrease your usage by as much as 30%. And when you pair it with other energy conservation efforts, such as bulking up your insulation or increasing the airtightness of your home, you stand to decrease your reliance on artificial heating and cooling even more, lowering your utility bills in the process.
- You can add extras. If you’ve been reading up on the benefits of high efficiency air conditioners and furnaces, you may be keen to install them when you implement your zoning system as a way to maximize energy conservation and monetary savings over time. But you should also know that there are smart home options like wireless thermostats that you can control remotely with your smartphone or other handheld devices. So if you forget to adjust the thermostat before you leave the house, you can fix it on the go, saving energy and money in the process.