7 Characteristics That Make Zoned HVAC Ideal for a Home

When it comes time to upgrade your HVAC system, the right system type can mean the difference between efficient, cost-effective home comfort and heating and cooling that falls short of your expectations.

When it comes time to upgrade your HVAC system, the right system type can mean the difference between efficient, cost-effective home comfort and heating and cooling that falls short of your expectations.

Many homeowners assume that whole-home systems are the best approach to all heating and cooling challenges. While you should have climate control in every area of your home, a change from your current system to another whole-home system may not be your best or only option.

Instead, you may want to consider investing in zoning your current HVAC system if it is still in good condition. You can also consider replacing your HVAC system with a new split system. You may be able to choose between a full-zoned HVAC system or a smaller scale mini-split air conditioning system that supplements your heating system.

In this blog, we list seven characteristics of homes that can benefit from zoned HVAC.

1. Big Temperature Discrepancies

Think about the hottest and coldest days of the year and how your home feels during these temperature extremes. Do you find that certain areas of your home never seem to be the same temperature as the rest of the house?

Whole-home systems direct treated air pretty much equally throughout the house. However, some rooms may need more or less heating and cooling than others. For example, rooms with direct daytime sunlight tend to be warmer than those without.

Zoned HVAC allows you to dictate the temperature for each room individually based on its conditions.

2. Divided Living Spaces

If you rent a portion of your home, have an in-law suite, work from a home office, or have otherwise divided living spaces, you may find yourself frustrated working to find a temperature that suits the entire house when the house is technically broken up into multiple units.

When you employ a zoned system, the residents of each portion of the house can choose their own temperature. This principle can also reduce your heating and cooling costs since you won’t have to supply treated air to vacant rental spaces or your office after hours.

3. High Ceilings

Vaulted ceilings look beautiful, but they dramatically alter the way that your HVAC system functions. Most whole-home HVAC systems simply don’t have the precision to keep rooms with vaulted ceilings at a constant temperature because a higher ceiling often means less attic insulation.

If you have a zoned system, you can give the rooms with higher ceilings a little extra help without cranking up the heat or air everywhere else in the house as well.

4. Large Windows or Glass Doors

As mentioned in section one, the sunlight that comes through your windows can have a significant impact on indoor temperatures. Additionally, large windows and glass doors can allow more heat to escape if the panes are not insulated.

Like rooms with vaulted ceilings, rooms with larger glass pieces may need a little more help to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

5. Multiple Stories

While an HVAC system provides you with a measure of control over the temperature in your home, physics still comes into play. Because heat rises, upper floors are almost always warmer than lower floors. This rule can hold particularly true when your lowest floor sits above an unfinished basement that leeches heat.

With a zoned system, you can set the temperature for your home’s stories separately with air movement and the habits of your family members in mind.

6. Multiple Wings

Whole-home systems can struggle to deliver air to the portions of a home that sit farthest from the HVAC unit itself. This inefficiency happens because the air loses some of the heat or cold put into it as it’s pushed through your ductwork. By the time the air arrives, the temperature may not adequately heat or cool that wing of your house.

Zoned systems don’t just have thermostats for different areas of the home, these systems also have multiple delivery systems. This design ensures that your HVAC is efficient and your family stays comfortable even when they’re farther away from the center of your home.

7. Specific Temperature Needs

Aside from the architectural characteristics that can make zoned HVAC a good choice for a home, you may also want to consider this type of system if you have family members with varying temperature needs.

For example, if you’re a caregiver for an elderly loved one, he or she may get excessively cold at the summertime temperatures the rest of the family prefers. A split system ensures that these family members can keep their living spaces comfortable.

If you recognize any of the characteristics of your home on the list above, consider opting for a zoned or split HVAC system as you prepare to upgrade your current system. If you aren’t sure of the best choice for your home, consult with an HVAC expert about your options based on climate, home architecture, and other specific factors.

For comprehensive heating and cooling services, including installation of split room air conditioners, trust the team at Ragan Mechanical.

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