ZoningSupply.com - Zone Control

HVAC Zone Controls & Zoning Dampers

SmartZone Advanced: Method to reduce/eliminate pressure relief with variable speed fan systems

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We have discussed here the myths and facts about zone control and bypass.  As the debate still continues, ecojay SmartZone has yet another innovative way to reduce or possibly eliminate pressure relief (bypass, dump zone, etc) in certain circumstances.
 

REQUIREMENTS:

  1. Variable/Multi speed fan (DS/BK/DH* Terminal on equipment)
    *DS/BK/DH energized = High speed fan
  2. Two (2) Zone systems only (although a 4 zone board can be used)
  3. One of the zones cannot be smaller than 30% of total airflow

This method will only allow high speed fan when BOTH zones are calling.  If only one zone is calling, low speed fan will run.  NOTE: The system, depending on duct sizes, may still require some method of pressure relief even if it is much less.  Typically, a small amount of "leakage" into the largest zone when the smallest zone is calling will accomplish what (if any) pressure relief is needed.  If using ecojay SmartZone dampers, they can be set easily to leak any amount of air necessary.

ecojay smartzone - low fan DS-BK when 1 zone calling using y2.JPG

SPECIAL NOTE: This method is VERY similar to using zone 1 thermostat for controlling DE-humidification.  For more about this see the article here.

SmartZone-4X
199.00 299.00
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PRO-Grade Power Zone Damper (Round)
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Always find out more by contacting us at ZoningSupply.com about your application.

De-humidification and SmartZone - Zone 1 Thermostat Control

HVAC Contractors, Other HVAC, Supportzoning supplyComment

Although SmartZone does not have any built-in capabilities for controlling DE-humidification (DH) or Humidification, some applications are possible by using a thermostat on ZONE 1 that does have the capability to control DH.

DE-humidification, in most residential systems, is simply running the equipment in COOLING with LOW speed fan instead of HI speed fan.

Before we get to zoning, the equipment being used must have the capability to control humidity.  This usually means it has a terminal (DH/BK/DS) that is energized or DE-energized by a thermostat to control fan speed of the equipment.  Controlling fan speed allows the equipment to DE-humidify the air when the fan is running in low speed.

Back to zoning, using zone 1 thermostat to control DH is not as simple as wiring directly from the thermostat to the equipment.  PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS.  The equipment and the zone thermostats are running on different transformers and this will case problems and potentially damage to some components.  You could isolate the output from the thermostat with a relay to get around this issue of different transformers but you would still have an issue with this method of wiring "around" the zone controller.  The issue can arise when zone 1 calls for DH but the equipment is already running in heat, this mixed signal might just be ignored by the equipment but we cannot take that for granted... all equipment works differently.

ecojay smartzone de-hum using y2 -BASIC.JPG

The best way to control DH using SmartZone on single stage equipment is by using the method below.  It may seem a little UN-orthidoxed but it is a valid APP note from the engineer at Ecojay (It's intended to work this way).

  1. Select a DH enabled thermostat of your choice
  2. Connect Y2/ECO on SmartZone Zone 1 to Zone 1 Thermostat DH/DS/BK
  3. Connect Y2 on SmartZone Equipment toEquipment DH/DS/BK
  4. Set Zone 1 "STAT TYPE" to G2
  5. Set DIP switch #4 to "LOCKOUT"

Zone 1 thermostat will now enable and disable DE-humidification any time the equipment is running in the cooling mode.
NOTE: When starting cooling from OFF state, 90 second delay will occur before HIGH speed fan will energize.

Using this method we are assuming that the equipment is expecting DS/BK/DH input terminal to be ENERGIZED for high speed fan and DE-ENERGIZED for low speed fan.  This method should not be used for more than 3 zones or with multi-stage compressor equipment.


SmartZone-2X
149.00 199.00
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This application will work with Ecojay's SmartZone-2X and SmartZone-4X.  Learn more

Click for SmartZone-2X/4X Install Guide

Click for SmartZone-2X/4X Install Guide

MEP Drawings & Specs for Generic HVAC Zone Control System

HVAC Contractors, HVAC Industry, Zone Control Infozoning supplyComment

Typical wording for HVAC Mechanical drawings to include SmartZone Zone control (2 to 8 zones):

ECOJAY SMARTZONE ZS2X (2 ZONES) OR ZS4X (UP TO 4 TO 8 ZONES)

1. SMARTZONE CONTROLLER SHALL INCLUDE FLASH BASED MICROPROCESSOR FOR AUTOMATIC CONTROL OF UP TO 2 ZONES (ZS2X), 4 ZONES (ZS4X) OR 8 ZONES (TWO-ZS4X CONTROLLERS) ON A SINGLE HVAC SYSTEM.

2. SMARTZONE CONTROLLER SHALL INCLUDE LED DISPLAY WITH FULL TEXT STATUS
MONITORING AND DIAGNOSIS OF THE ENTIRE SYSTEM STATUS AND SUPPLY TEMPERATURE.

3. SMARTZONE CONTROLLER SHALL CONTAIN ELECTRONIC LIMIT CONTROL (ELC) SUPPLY AIR SENSOR WHICH ALLOWS CONSTANT MONITORING OF THE LEAVING (SUPPLY) AIR TEMPERATURE

5. PUSH BUTTONS SHALL ALLOW FOR DIGITAL ADJUSTMENT OF HIGH AND LOW LIMIT

4. IN THE EVENT OF SUPPLY AIR SENSOR OR SENSOR WIRING FAILURE, THE CONTROLLER SHALL CONTINUE OPERATING THE HVAC SYSTEM AS A SINGLE ZONE SYSTEM WITHOUT INTERRUPTION

6. ON HEAT PUMPS SYSTEMS, EMERGENCY HEAT MUST BE INITIATED FROM THERMOSTAT #1, NOT A SWITCH ON THE ZONE CONTROL BOARD.

7. EACH ZONE CONTROLLER THERMOSTAT TERMINAL AND EQUIPMENT TERMINAL SHALL HAVE A COLOR-CODED LED ALLOWING FOR EASY MONITORING OF THERMOSTATS AND SYSTEM CALLS.

8. ROUND ZONE DAMPER MOTORS SHALL BE 2-POSITION (OPEN/CLOSE) DESIGN WITH A SOFT-EDGE BLADE DAMPER SIZE AS ROUND DUCT IN WHICH BLADE GASKET AND SHALL BE POWERED BY 24VAC POWER OPEN / POWER CLOSE MOTOR DEVELOPING MINIMUM 10 IN-LB. OF TORQUE AT MAX 4 VA

9. RECTANGULAR ZONE DAMPER MOTORS SHALL BE 2-POSITION (OPEN/CLOSE) DESIGN WITH EXTRUDED ALUMINUM FRAME & LOUVERS & METAL SHAFT LINKAGES AND SHALL BE POWERED BY 24VAC POWER OPEN / POWER CLOSE MOTOR DEVELOPING MINIMUM 10 IN-LB. OF TORQUE AT MAX 4 VA

10. ALL ZONE DAMPERS SHALL INCLUDE ACCURATE, NON-ADJUSTABLE & ADJUSTABLE, BLADE POSITION INDICATOR AND ADJUSTABLE MINIMUM STOP CAPABILITY (MIN OPEN & MIN CLOSE).

11. AUTOMATIC, ELECTRONIC BYPASS DAMPER WITH STATIC PRESSURE CONTROL IS REQUIRED WITH 24V ELECTRIC ACTUATORS UNLESS NOTED OTHERWISE.

12. ZONE CONTROLLER, DAMPER MOTORS AND THERMOSTATS SHALL BE POWERED WITH A SEPARATE 24V FUSED TRANSFORMER (TYPICALLY 40VA) PROVIDED BY HVAC CONTRACTOR.

13. CONTACT ECOJAY.COM or 1-888-523-ECOJAY FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TRAINING

WiFi Thermostat Roundup 2017

homeowners, Other HVAC, thermostatszoning supplyComment

Just a few short years ago, WiFi thermostats were only made by a very few companies starting with Ecobee and RadioThermostat, followed by Nest.  A couple of years pass and big names in the HVAC industry (Honeywell, Emerson, Venstar, etc) join the WiFi thermostat party.  In 2017 we have more to chose from than can easily be kept up with.  Note: All prices as of this article publish date.

All of the WiFi thermostats listed below will work with any SmartZone

I am sure there will be even more on the market in 2018, we will keep watching the WiFi thermostat bubble grow!  More than 15 are listed here (and I know they are not all listed).  If you know of any more, comment or tweet to us @zoning_supply


wifi stat - bosch connected.JPG

Bosch - $ 170, 4-Heat, 2-Cool, GE/HP, Hum, deHum, Color: White
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073XHD8BB



TOP PICK

*Ecobee 3 - $ 169, 3-Heat, 2-Cool, Best for zoning in our opinion.
https://www.amazon.com/ecobee3-Smart-Thermostat-Works-Amazon/dp/B06W56TBLN/


wifi stat - ecobee4 w Alexa.JPG

PREMIUM CHOICE

Ecobee 4 - $ 247, 3-Heat, 2-Cool, Alexa-Enabled
https://www.amazon.com/ecobee4-Alexa-Enabled-Thermostat-Sensor-Amazon/dp/B06W2LQY6L/


wifi stat - emerson sensi color.JPG

Emerson Sensi Color Touch - $ 169, 2 Heat, 2 Cool, GE/HP
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3CEUDH?psc=1


Emerson Sensi - $ 99, 1 Heat, 1 Cool, GE/HP
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HHE6CW2?psc=1


wifi stat - nest.JPG

Nest - $ 249, 3-Heat, 2-Cool
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0131RG6VK/





wifi stat -Honeywell 7-day.JPG

Honeywell Basic 7-day - $ 90, 1-Heat, 1-Cool, GE, Color: White (Yes this is WiFi--even though it doesn't look like anything other than an inexpensive thermostat)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Y6M2OUC/




wifi stat - Lux Pro Black.JPG
wifi stat - Lux Pro.JPG

VALUE CHOICE #1

Lux PRO GEO - $ 115, Geofencing, Mount Vertical or Horizontal, Color: Black or White
https://www.amazon.com/Lux-Products-GEO-WH-Thermostat-Amazon/dp/B010PTKWW6/


wifi stat - RadioThermostat.JPG

RadioThermostat - $ 99, 2-Heat, 2-Cool, GE/HP, Modules for Zigbee & Z-Wave
https://www.amazon.com/Radio-Thermostat-Programmable-Enabled-Controls/dp/B00KQS35XA/


wifi stat - Vine.JPG

VALUE CHOICE #2

*Vine - $ 99, Settings Knob, Color Screen & Night-Light
https://www.amazon.com/Vine-Programmable-Thermostat-Touchscreen-Nightlight/dp/B01JU1DZN8/



Any information in this article should be verified with the manufacturer of each product listed.  Specifications, prices & availability are all subject to change and will not be kept current on this post.  Please email us if you have any questions.

ALSO NOTE:  We (I) have not been paid or compensated in any way for this article by any of the manufacturers of these products.  I have not even received any free product... anything reviewed has been purchased through retail outlets and tested with SmartZone zone control products for the use of ZoningSupply.com customers.  This information is not intended to be exhaustive or claim expert knowledge about all of these thermostats.  Thank you.

Need more than 40VA to power LOTs of dampers on one SmartZone?

HVAC Contractors, Supportzoning supplyComment

Some systems with many small ducts leading to each zone can require lots of dampers.  The example below is a 2 zone system that requires 6 dampers per zone (12 total).  If you look at the zoning guide, you will find that you should budget for at least 55VA for this system... but you only have 40 VA transformers.  75 and 100 VA transformers can get VERY expensive!  Instead you can use two 40VA transformers, but not how you think.  It can be dangerous and unreliable to connect transformers in parallel to create ~80VA.  We recommend the method below that employs the use of a simple relay to separate half of the dampers to be powered from a second transformer and the other half being powered by the SmartZone and it's transformer.

See the SmartZone Install Guide to calculate required VA.

It is always necessary to verify that the PRIMARY side power is sufficient to power the transformer connected.  A dedicated PRIMARY circuit is best but not always possible.  If sharing the 110V or 220V circuit, make sure the total power required for all devices connected (including zoning transformers) doesn't exceed the capacity of the circuit (usually 15 or 20 AMPS).

Where to get a relay?
Any 24V relay with a DPST or DPDT configuration will work.  The one pictured in the above diagram is available at ZoningSupply.com (see below).   If you are chosing your own relay, the "Contact" current rating will determine how many dampers can be connected.  (For example: A 10 Amp relay can handle up to 10 power open, power closed dampers)

24V Relay - DPDT
16.00
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Power Open/Close Motor
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HVAC Zoning - SMALL office application - More comfort, less fighting... over temperature

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If you have a small office or commercial building that has multiple rooms & different people using these rooms, you have probably experienced that some rooms or areas can be comfortable while others are not.  Temperature can fluctuate throughout a building depending on the time of day, time of year, activity or usage.   Sophisticated and complex systems for LARGE commercial buildings use sensors placed throughout and computer-controlled equipment at adjust capacity of cooling or heating when needed.  Smaller commercial buildings, however, use basically a "residential" type thermostat control with just larger equipment than you would find on a home.  (Side note: Residential HVAC equipment up to 5 ton, "Light" Commercial HVAC equipment can be up to 20 ton as long as it uses standard 24VAC control)

In "light" commercial applications like:

  • Shared office spaces
  • Doctors offices
  • Churches
  • Schools
  • Small to medium office buildings
  • Massage / Salon
  • Many more!

SmartZone can be added to give control in each different area of the office.  Occupants of different offices might simply have different comfort preferences or some rooms might have specific needs for temperature control such as an IT / computer room.  Also, rooms that are occasionally used (conference room) can be turned off when not in use to reduce HVAC equipment run time and help keep the rest of the building comfortable.

Having a thermostat for control in each room has obvious advantages in many applications, additionally, SmartZone offers an ECO-mode feature that is especially useful for commercial/business applications.  The ECO-mode feature allows the building manager to put the entire system (up to 20 zones) into "setback" either on a schedule with a timer OR with a basic switch.  You can even tie the ECO mode to most security systems so that, when it's armed, the SmartZone goes into "setback."  ECO mode will prevent thermostats from running the equipment unless ZONE 1 is running.  It can be a hassle to make sure that all your thermostats have been turned off at the end of every day, with SmartZone, you can turn them all off in one place.

SmartZone-4X
199.00 299.00

Universal 4-Zone Controller

BEST ZONE CONTROL AVAILABLE!
Replace almost any brand existing zone control ... use with any thermostats (even WiFi like nest and ecobee).

Control heating and cooling comfort room by room.

  • EASY INSTALLATION - no screwdriver or voltmeter required
  • UNIVERSAL COMPATIBILITY - drop in replacement for many models (see list in Additional Info)
  • BEST FEATURES - built in Fresh Air Control, expansion port up to 20 Zones
  • SUPPLY AIR TEMP SENSOR - included for Smart-Staging & equipment protection
  • DESIGNED & ASSEMBLED IN THE USA
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SmartZone is simple to install and setup & it can be used with virtually any equipment (Gas, Electric, Heat Pump, Fossil Fuel, Dual Fuel, Up to 2 stages cool, 3 stage heat).  Many applications call for different types thermostats and SmartZone works with all of them, giving the building owner the flexibility to purchase any thermostat that suits their needs.  WiFi thermostats are a popular option and SmartZone is the perfect match for Nest, Ecobee, LuxPro, RadioThermostat, etc.  Literally any thermostat you choose!

If you have any questions or would like DESIGN help on your zone control system, please contact us via email or phone.

New & Improved Rectangle Dampers available at ZoningSupply.com

Products, HVAC Contractors, ZoningSupplyzoning supplyComment

Tired of flimsy residential-grade rectangular dampers that easily bend and bind and, worse yet, stop working prematurely.  We, at ZoningSupply, are too!  And, we have the answer with this commercial-grade, super-duty rectangular damper.  Like all of our power dampers, it includes the best motor in the industry (Belimo) and now is constructed with heavy guage aluminim for rigidity and long-life.

Heavy-Duty

Rectangle Damper

Rectangular HVAC Dampers
from 175.00

8" X 8" thru 24" X 24"
New & Improved Heavy-Duty
Aluminum rectangular damper w/ Ecojay by Belimo motor
Built to stand up to use and abuse

SPEC SHEET

SHIPPING TIME: 2 Weeks (because they are made to order)
RETURNS for rectangular dampers require 35% restocking fee because they are custom made to order... make sure you order the correct size.

NOTE: Order "Height" for the side with the motor.

Height:
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No other rectangle zone damper on the market is as sturdy or reliable.  Simplicity of design and precision manufacturing in the USA (Ohio & Texas) make for the BEST rectangular damper that has ever been available to the residential zone control market.  Try it for yourself today.

Ashrae 62-2 Ventilation (Fresh Air) sizing & calculation

HVAC Contractors, Support, Other HVACzoning supplyComment

Many homes these days have such tight seals around doors, windows, and even closed-cell foam insulation... they are almost air-tight.  You can think of an old house like an antique metal or wooden ice box where modern homes are more like Yeti coolers.  While this is great for keeping temperatures steady inside the home, it also can trap moisture and toxic gases inside.  Fresh air ventilation is necessary to keep a healthy and efficient home.

But how much fresh air is needed?  If you bring in too much, you will make your HVAC equipment work too hard and loose efficiency.  If not enough fresh air is brought into the home, the air can become humid and allow mold growth or VOCs and other toxins can build up.  Luckily, the national organization ASHRAE has a specific recommendation for the amount of air based on occupancy and square footage of the home.  See table below.

However, this table should not be taken as gospel.  Just like other HVAC calculations and estimations, many factors are not really being taken into account with this rough estimate based on # of bedrooms (occupancy) and square footage.  Some adjustments may be needed based on factors such as climate, ceiling height, other air-leakage, etc.  To comply with 62-2 is the baseline & adjustments can be made in the field by setting run-time.

Learn more about how SmartZone-4X can control fresh air more efficiently than a separate fresh-air controller in the Install Guide

Zoning for comfort and / or economy... basics of HVAC Zoning

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We have explained in other posts on ZoningSupply.com, when it comes to HVAC zoning, each application must be evaluated individually.  Situations vary widely from building to building, but, in all cases HVAC Zone Control puts the user (homeowner, building manager, etc) in control of comfort.

Let's rewind, what is zoning?  Homes and buildings that have "central" heating and air conditioning typically have 1 thermostat that controls the whole house temperature.  With zoning, multiple thermostats can be placed throughout the house to better control temperature throughout.  SmartZone connects to all of the thermostats & automatically controls dampers (air valves) installed in the air ducts.  These air ducts direct air from the heating & cooling equipment to the different areas or "zones" of the home/building.  The dampers allow SmartZone to direct air only where needed.

Once a SmartZone has been installed, you will have the ability to set each of the zone thermostats to whatever temperature or settings you desire.  SmartZone will, within reason, keep each zone at the correct temperature by running the equipment and directing hot or cold air into the zones only when necessary.  This achieves the purpose of comfort control to manage hot or cold areas of your home. 

As for energy savings, if some of the zones are rarely used and can stay off for a sufficient amount of time, the equipment will run for a shorter time to heat or cool the rest of the building.  This and other applications that allow the user to turn off or set-back one or more of the zones can, in some cases, result in energy savings.  Some sources have published % energy savings possible with zoning, however, this is too arbitrary to have any real meaning.  Like stated at the beginning, every application is different & the real possibility of energy savings is in the hands of the user and how the thermostats are set. 

Zoning is an amazing solution to comfort issues and gives the user ultimate control over comfort throughout the home or building.  However, zone control is NOT a magic bullet for energy savings.  HVAC Zoning only puts more control in the hands of the user & it is ultimately the thermostats and how they are set that determines potential energy savings.

Use Wifi thermostats with SmartZone for ultimate control over comfort and energy use.

Use Wifi thermostats with SmartZone for ultimate control over comfort and energy use.

The reality is that in a normal home with one thermostat, the only way to get more "comfort" is to spend more energy (ie run the AC or heat).  With zoning, you can stay more comfortable in some areas while reducing run-time by not heating/cooling other areas.

SmartZone is the best hvac zone control for upgrades or new-installs.  Order today and install yourself of call any HVAC contractor in your area for installation.

SmartZone is great opportunity for DISTRIBUTORS.

Other HVAC, HVAC Industryzoning supplyComment

There are many reasons that distributors should take a look at stocking SmartZone, but basically because they can make more money & have a higher customer satisfaction with a very low up-front investment.

  1. Only 2 models needed to cover all applications.
    A lot of manufacturers require stocking 5,6... even dozens of different products to get the best price.  With SmartZone, you only need the SmartZone-2 and the SmartZone-4X.  That's right, only 2 models will cover everything from 2 zones to 20 zones, single & multi-stage, gas/electric & heat pump (including dual fuel).  As a bonus, the SmartZone-4X has built-in Fresh-Air control.
     
  2. Best wholesale pricing.
    Options for small and large volume distributors with 30 day NET terms pending credit approval.  Start with a small order or only 10 zone controllers.  Contact ECOJAY (www.smartzoning.com) for details.
     
  3. Documentation & training.
    Ecojay is committed to supporting distributors with documentation, signs, marketing materials, phone & online support.  Ecojay will even do an in-person training for contractors at new distributor locations (minimum order required for free training - normal price for training $500)
     
  4. Increase zone control profits & sales.
    SmartZone has allowed many of our distributors to increase sales of zoning because it is so much easier for contractors to use & install... they buy more.  Distributors of SmartZone also have increased margins on the higher-end controllers because SmartZone-4X can do everything the Honeywell HZ432 can do at a much lower price.
     
  5. Contractors will love you for it.
    Even contractors that "don't do zoning" occasionally come across a system that needs it or a customer that wants it.  SmartZone is the best the the occasional zoning contractor or the contractor that does it every day.  Most contractors that try it, don't want to use anything else.


Right now, only about 25-35% of the US has physical distribution of ECOJAY products, specifically SmartZone.  This is a HUGE missed opportunity.  Online distribution reaches nationwide, but even this is in it's infancy.  SmartZone deserves to be on the shelf of your local distributor and contractors deserve to have access to it.  Right now it is available on Amazon.com, Ebay, ZoningSupply.com for contractors in the US & Canada to have in a couple of days shipping time.

It would be great if some of the large online supply houses like ... Supplyhouse.com or AlpineAir.com would stock SmartZone so it could be purchased and shipped along with systems.  Or some of the national-chain distributors like Johnstone would also carry SmartZone for the sake of availability and exposure to SmartZone style zoning.

SmartZone is not a new gimmic in zoning, it is simply the BEST traditional forced-air zone control board that is available.  SmartZone has been designed with the HVAC contractor in mind and it shows with the feedback that is received over and over again from contractors.  SmartZone has been shipping since 2004 and has had rave reviews from the beginning. 

Contractors that never liked zoning before even love SmartZone.  Many of the problems that people had 10 or 15 years ago with zoning such as freezing coils or short cycling have been solved by more sophisticated zone controls but SmartZone made it simple.  Using Ecojay SmartZone makes zoning simple.

 

Fact or Myth? #HVAC #Zonecontrol can save energy

homeowners, HVAC Contractorszoning supplyComment
SmartZone zone control

First of all, if you are not familiar with HVAC Zoning (Zone control) for your home you can click here and learn more about how it works.

Sometimes, zoning is pitched as a device that can be added to your current HVAC system that will "save you energy" because you are able to turn "off" heating and cooling to areas that are not being used.  Sounds good, right?  Well...there a "but."  This as actually a highly debated or more aptly put... highly contested claim among HVAC professionals.

The simple fact is that it isn't a simple answer but the simplest version is:  HVAC Zoning CAN save energy in some applications.

Not all applications of zoning are intended to save energy, some are set up to optimize comfort.  In these situations, energy savings may not the top priority but it can still be set up to help save energy when the comfort is not in demand.

Zoning puts the control in the hands of the user (homeowner) via the thermostats.  These thermostats can be set to optimize energy savings or comfort... or, most likely, somewhere in between.

Some believe the primary purpose of zoning is comfort & I would agree, but, SmartZone can be used in some applications to save energy by reducing necessary run-time.

As far as I have found there have been very few and NO independent studies on the energy savings capabilities of hvac zone control but I have personally been in the industry for 14 years and I believe I know why.  Every test I have seen is try to prove some % of energy savings and yet there is a flaw with even the question that is being asked.  The problem with this question is that it is looking for an automatic percentage saving when zoning is installed.  I think this gets to the heart of why the professionals that dispute zone control's ability to "save energy" do so. 

This is an IMPORTANT NOTE:  HVAC Zone Control by itself will NOT save energy.  However, it CAN be used to save energy.

A proper study to prove that zone control CAN save energy would be straight-forward.   Two identical houses with identical hvac systems, one with a 2 zone system & the other with a single thermostat.  On the house with zoning, set one thermostat to OFF 12 hours per day and the other thermostat to run a normal 24hr / 7 day schedule.  The thermostat schedule should be the same as the 24hr / 7 day schedule in the house with only one thermostat.  This study would show that zoning can save energy if used in certain ways.

SmartZone has been around since 2004 and we have over 200,000 installed in the field.  We have seen direct feedback that empirically shows energy savings, not just in isolated cases but in extremely high volume.  First hand, real-world experience shows that it can be done, but it also shows that in cases where comfort is the priority... energy savings isn't a guarantee with zone control.

Check out SmartZone at ZoningSupply.com

SmartZone-4X
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Eliminate BYPASS on a Zoning System?

zoning supplyComment

There has been a lot of buzz around eliminating bypass more so lately, but it has been talked about for 20+ years.  Some states have even mandated that all new Zoning systems be installed without bypass in certain types of buildings.  Others have argued against bypass for many years but only recently have HVAC zone control manufacturers offered products specifically designed to eliminate bypass.  Although these products are new, the principals they employ are NOT.  The different products on the market are just elaborate ways of "leaking" air into zones or areas that are not calling for it.

At ZoningSupply.com we rely on more than 2 decades of HVAC Zoning experience to come up with our recommendations and with regard to eliminating bypass, we do have some suggestions of applications with SmartZone that have worked well.

First of all, how many zones do you have?  The more zones you have the more difficulty you will have operating without a bypass.  It becomes more challenging because the amount of surplus air and air pressure in your duct work increases when (worst case scenario) your smallest zone is the only zone calling and all other zone dampers are closed.  A zone system with more than 4 zones needs bypass almost certainly.

Secondly, how large are your zones ducts?  Are they capable of handling the excess CFM of air that will be generated when other zones close?  Most duct can handle much more airflow than it is designed for but only up to a point.  Make sure that the smallest zone is capable of handling most or all of the airflow when the other zones are closed.  If the smallest zone is NOT capable of handling ALL of the airflow then there are at least a couple of options of techniques that can be used to possibly still eliminate bypass.

Airflow management techniques that can be used in conjunction with each other to reduce or eliminate the need for bypass on a zoning system:

  1. Over-sized ducts - increase the size of ducts and dampers beyond normal spec.
  2. Leak into zones - adjust the dampers stop screws so the dampers "leak" a fixed amount of air into some or all zones (no more than 25% recommended into each zone).
  3. Dump zone -  a room or rooms where the duct does not have a damper and will receive air flow any time the hvac system is running.
  4. Managed dump zone - use a "bypass" damper connected to "dump" duct into any or all zones.  Adjust the bypass damper to stabilize the static pressure when the smallest zone only is calling.  This is much preferable to the other "Dump Zone" because you are not dumping air when it isn't necessary which can affect air speed.
Use set screw on ecojay motor to "leak" air into NON-calling zones.

Use set screw on ecojay motor to "leak" air into NON-calling zones.

Multi-stage HVAC equipment - If your current hvac system has multi-stage (2 or more speeds) SmartZone can select the appropriate speed based on the number of zones calling (if set to 2nd-Stage Lock).  This capability can significantly reduce the amount of surplus air volume and pressure that would normally be bypassed because when only 1 zone is calling, the equipment will be in low speed.

Even with all of these techniques there are some systems and applications that just must have a bypass & for that we recommend the static pressure controlled version.  You can find more about why this is best in another blog post on ZoningSupply.com.

When it comes down to it, with Bypass or any other type of pressure relief on a zoning system, there is a balancing act between air velocity/noise.  You want to relieve or bypass as little air as possible to maintain efficiency of the HVAC system, however, with zoning it is inevitable that the air velocity will be come too high when only one zone is calling and that is why some combination of the techniques discussed should be used with any zone control system.

NEW to ZoningSupply - Insertable (Retrofit) Dampers

HVAC Contractors, Productszoning supplyComment

We are proud to announce the continuation of our damper product line here at ZoningSupply.com with the "Insert-able" damper.

Ecojay SmartZone Slip-in insertable damper

Some applications call for dampers that can be "slipped" into round duct that is spiral or other hard pipe style duct.  This is not intended for use with flex-duct but can be used with any other type of hard duct.  Simply cut a slit in the duct, insert the damper and screw it down.

Ecojay SmartZone Insertable Damper
PRO-Grade Insert Zone Damper (Retrofit)
from 89.00

4", 5", 6", 7", 8", 9", 10", 12" ROUND Diameter Dampers

FEATURES:
Industry-leading quality & highest reliability, Belimo Motor, Full-seal gasket blade, makes mounting in any round duct easy with these super-heavy duty retro-fit slip-in dampers

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Spring is HVAC maintenance season... think about Zone Control.

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With warmer weather approaching, upstairs or certain areas of your home can become uncomfortably warm without SmartZone. HVAC zone control can make the entire home more comfortable in the hottest Summer months. 

Most homes with a single thermostat have some issues with keeping everyone, everywhere in the house comfortable.  With SmartZone, thermostats are places throughout the home to achieve comfort everywhere... and if you choose to turn off some of the areas (zones), you can even save energy.  Most importantly, however, SmartZone can make your home more comfortable than it is now.  See the slides below for how it works.

How it works...

  1. SmartZone is connected to several Thermostats placed in "zones" throughout the home or building.
  2. SmartZone is connected to the Air Conditioning (AC) and Heating equipment.
  3. Dampers (air valves) are installed in the existing ducts that connect to room vents in the "zones."
  4. SmartZone controls the AC & Heating equipment AND opens/closes dampers to control air to the zones based on the thermostats.

There is obviously a lot more to HVAC Zone control than the above bullet points.  Bypass & static pressure, duct sizing & damper leakage, thermostat & equipment types, equipment modes & changeover, compressor staging, emergency & auxiliary heat... and much more.  The good news is that SmartZone takes the guess work out of the potential complications of zoning.  Check out more about why SmartZone is the best choice here.

NEW Take-Off (Starting-Collar) Dampers from ECOJAY

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Introducing Take-Off Dampers

ecojay smartzone take-off damper 1
ecojay smartzone takeoff 2

A great value... priced at the same as standard PRO-Grade dampers.  Sizes from 6" - 18" available.

NOW available from ZoningSupply.com

Save time & money with these "TAKE-OFF" dampers.  Simply cut a hole in the plenum or duct & use the adhesive flange to attach to any flat surface.  Add a couple of screws for stability and you are done.  No need to strap or anything.  Just connect the duct.

  • Low profile for tight spaces
  • Belimo Motor
  • Sturdy construction
  • Made in the USA
  • All metal shaft, collar & can
  • Flex-poly for best seal
from 99.00
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Ecojay continues it's tradition of quality and innovation with it's latest release of the "take-off" style zone damper.  It is made in the USA and comes with a 5 year warranty.  All-metal construction & a BelimoTM motor make this the most reliable take-off on the market.  The poly-seal blade has been specially selected for durability inside the environment of ductwork.  Just like the PRO-GRADE dampers from ECOJAY, this take-off style is built with durability and longevity in mind.   Many others on the market are flimsy and not made to last... if you have ever been frustrated with a poor quality damper, Ecojay dampers are the answer.  You won't ever want to use any other damper brand again after trying the PRO-GRADE SmartZone dampers from Ecojay.

ALSO TRY SmartZone HVAC Zone Controllers:
 

SmartZone-4X
199.00 299.00
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SmartZone-2L
from 99.00
TEMP SENSOR:
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New energy regulation standards force 24VAC Transformer change

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As of RIGHT NOW, ZoningSupply transformers will no longer have LED indicators or "resettable" fuses built in.  This is due to some new governmental regulations that apply to all power supplies less than 250W.  They must have lower power usage (wattage) when not in use.

http://www.upgi.com/the-buzz/news/2016/upg-plug-in-transformers-evolving-to-new-level-vi-energy-efficiency-standards/

24Vac Transformer
19.99 24.00
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You can thank the Department of Energy (DOE) for this rule they implemented back in 2012 that is just now taking effect.  A few milliamps to power an LED seems like a lot of effort for not much gain... however, anything that reduces energy usage is ok with us.

SmartZone-4X Zone Panel - Quick Wiring & Setup Video

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Introducing a new video (no Audio) showing the simple wiring process & quick setup procedure of the SmartZone-4X board.  (Applies to SmartZone-2X also).

In less than 5 minutes (real-time) this SmartZone board is wired and configured for single stage compressor with electric heat & four zones with power dampers.

To learn more about DIP SWITCH settings click here.

SmartZone-4X
199.00 299.00

Universal 4-Zone Controller

BEST ZONE CONTROL AVAILABLE!
Replace almost any brand existing zone control ... use with any thermostats (even WiFi like nest and ecobee).

Control heating and cooling comfort room by room.

  • EASY INSTALLATION - no screwdriver or voltmeter required
  • UNIVERSAL COMPATIBILITY - drop in replacement for many models (see list in Additional Info)
  • BEST FEATURES - built in Fresh Air Control, expansion port up to 20 Zones
  • SUPPLY AIR TEMP SENSOR - included for Smart-Staging & equipment protection
  • DESIGNED & ASSEMBLED IN THE USA
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Hot upstairs "bonus" room? Cold downstairs during the winter?

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SmartZone HVAC Zone control

These and many other common problems can occur during the winter months when the heater is running more than normal.  This can especially happen in areas that have cooling systems to handle warm and hot summer months.  The duct is often designed to be optimized in the summer months and when heat season rolls around, the airflow balance is all wrong.  The solution is Zone Control.  Even in the best designed duct systems, dampers are often used to balance the airflow on site.  This is tedious and inexact... but with SmartZone controls and power dampers, your home can be comfortable everywhere year round.

"I have personally been in too many to count homes with two stories that NEED zoning... there is nothing wrong with the equipment capacity or the ductwork, they just need the ability to direct airflow in the areas that need it in different seasons of the year or even times of day"  -- SmartZone Contractor

See how it works in more detail here

Introducing SmartZone Rectangular Dampers

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After many requests, we are now excited to be offering the Ecojay SmartZone series of rectangular power-open, power-closed dampers on ZoningSupply.com.  Available in over 80 different sizes from 8x8 to 24x24, these all-aluminum rectangular power dampers come equipped with the same top-quality Ecojay actuator (made by Belimo).  Much like our round dampers, the rectangular dampers have the highest-in-class reliability and come with a manufacturer's 5-year warranty.  If you have any questions, please contact us.

 

Rectangular HVAC Dampers
from 175.00
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NOTE: Because rectangular dampers are custom built to order, there is a 2 week lead time & all orders are subject to 25% re-stocking fee if returned.