ZoningSupply.com - Zone Control

HVAC Zone Controls & Zoning Dampers

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
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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
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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
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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.

Happy New Year - 2017

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ZoningSupply.com is looking forward to serving zone controls customers in 2017.  We had a fantastic 2016 and in 2017 we will have even more to offer.

If you have any HVAC zoning needs, look no further... we have products to satisfy even the most discerning customers & fit almost every zone control application.  ALL of the products offered by ZoningSupply.com are the best-in-class... from super-duty dampers to sophisticated zone control panels.  We continue to offer free shipping and the BEST technical support available anywhere.  All products are easy to install, simple to configure & come with 5-year manufacturer warranty.

Click here to start exploring what ZoningSupply.com has to offer

SmartZone is great for fireplace season... no more cold areas.

homeowners, Other HVACzoning supplyComment

Most people enjoy a good crackling fireplace when it's cold and snowy during the winter months even it isn't the primary source of heat for our homes these days... at least for most of us.  One problem that is common with homes that only have a single thermostat (no zoning) is that when a fire is burning, areas away from the fire get colder than the rest of the house.  Zone control can be the perfect solution...

2016 USER QUESTIONS - SmartZone Advanced

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 Photo by BackyardProduction/iStock / Getty Images

QUESTION: I have two 9580 thermostats one in the office, the other in the main hangar bay (two zones).  When heating both zones or only the hangar, I need the furnace to go full blower with normal scheduling through stages 1 and 2.  When servicing only the small office area, I don't want the system to advance from stage 1.  Unfortunately, the office is so small and the modulating schedule of the furnace is still too much airflow for the office (the zone bypass when servicing the office is the main hangar modulating damper that is controlled via SPC (excess dumps into hangar)).  This damper will be wide open during call for hangar heat.  The main damper control logic is managed through a 3PDT  24 Vac relay. So, I need to block out stage 2 from only 1 zone (office).  The zone ramping schedule of the 9580 works well with the 100k modulating furnace control board, and would like to keep that capability. 

ANSWER: Configure the zone 1 thermostat connector STAT TYPE to G2 (conventional gas/electric) or H2 (heat pump) to allow the thermostat to control staging and use the hangar thermostat on zone 1. Wire only the stage 1 circuits (Y1 and W1) on the office thermostat to the zone 2 thermostat connector (Also connect R, C and G wires). Set dipswitch 4 to the LOCKOUT position. This will configure the zone controller to allow 2nd stage only when the hangar thermostat calls for 2nd stage regardless of whether the office thermostat is calling. When the office thermostat is calling and the hangar thermostat is not, SmartZone will not allow 2nd stage to operate.


I called last week to inquire about using this zone controller in a hangar that had a small office area and a large bay. I advised the call taker that I had Honeywell 9580. I also asked about the capability of the zone controller to handle the smaller office area’s lower CFM requirement and whether or not I could defeat the step-up from W1/Y1 to W2/Y2. I was told that the controller can be set up to defeat the stage step-ups.

After reading the manual, I found that there are no multi-stage inputs on the controller board from thermostats. So, basically, the capabilities of the Honeywell 9580 are wasted. Also, the stage defeat is for the whole system, not zone-specific as I need. It would be pointless to defeat stage increases while heating/cooling a large hangar space

ANSWER: The SmartZone controller typically controls staging based on the total system conditions which is the most efficient way to operate a multi-zoned multi-staged hvac system. However, the zone1 thermostat connector on SmartZone can be configured to allow the thermostat to control staging (refer to the top of page 10 of the installation manual). When the zone1 thermostat is configured for staging the ability to lockout 2nd stage with only 1 zone calling is disabled. With the thermostat controlling staging your ability to limit staging will be determined by the features of your Honeywell 9580 instead of the SmartZone control.


I have a honeywell mastertrol2 mm2, i wanted to update my thermostats but my zone controller has separate b and o wires going to thermostats . Will updating my zone controller to a smart zone 2 help this problem?

ANSWER: Updating your zone controller to a SmartZone 2 zone controller will allow you to use any 24VAC thermostat. SmartZone controls are designed to be universally compatible with 24VAC thermostats including WI-FI models used to control your thermostat remotely through the internet on your smart phone or tablet. You should be able to connect any 24VAC thermostat to a SmartZone control without any problems.


Do you have a digital thermostat that you recommend or sell to go with SmartZone?
 From ecobee.com

From ecobee.com

ANSWER: ZoningSupply does not carry thermostats, however, SmartZone controllers are compatible with any 24VAC powered 5 or 6 wire thermostat. Popular brands our customers install with SmartZone include Honeywell, ICM, Braeburn, Nest, Ecobee, Aprilaire, Lux, Lyric,  and MANY others. We suggest you avoid using low priced 'power stealing' thermostats as they may cause intermittent issues if your utility power fluctuates. Power stealing thermostats are typically low priced and can be identified by the lack of a C (common) terminal on the thermostat wall mounting plate.
If you are looking for a WiFi thermostat check out this other article:

http://zoningsupply.com/blog/best-wifi-thermostat-for-zoning

SmartZone-2L
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Air balancing information & IOT evaluation from ContractingBusiness

Other HVAC, HVAC Contractorszoning supplyComment

Good articles that can affect HVAC zone control

If your technicians aren’t checking system airflow on every service call, you’re doing your company and your customers a disservice. Air balancing is the missing link in getting residential HVAC systems to perform at or near their peak levels.
— ContractingBusiness.com

 Photo by scyther5/iStock / Getty Images
It is easy to be confused when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), with so many products and objects being connected and made more intelligent. It sounds overly complex, but one application that is easy to understand is HVAC IoT.

HVAC IoT is made up of a system of smart thermostats placed throughout building zones. The devices, and therefore the zones, are connected over wireless and software and work together as one brain. The brain has a nervous system with sensor endings in every room, hallway or lobby to monitor any environmental changes that could prompt the HVAC system to react
— ContractingBusiness.com

2016: QUESTIONS from ONLINE CUSTOMERS

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QUESTION: Will SmartZone replace Honeywell Trol-a-temp?

ANSWER: The SmartZone-4X is a "drop-in" replacement for all of the Honeywell boards.

 Photo by spates/iStock / Getty Images

QUESTION: I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Are there any qualified installers for the Smart Zone dampers?

ANSWER: Although we have customers in other parts of Canada, we do not have any specific HVAC contractor customers in Toronto. Any reputable HVAC contractor with previous experience installing zoning should be able to install the Ecojay SmartZone controls or dampers. Many do-it-yourself folks have also successfully installed Ecojay's controls/dampers without difficulty. If your contractor is not specifically familiar with SmartZone controls they can reach our technical support line, 844-ZONE-123, for assistance if needed. Feel free to contact us with additional questions.


QUESTION: I have an old DuroZone system (model SMZ-SW) that has stopped working and am looking for a replacement solution and have been researching the Smartzone option.  I have a few questions and wanted to see if you could help me.

  1. I'm not sure what has failed with the DuroZone system, but I wanted to first see if I replaced the controller with the Smartzone controller if it would work.  Will the Smartzone controller work with the DuroZone dampers ?
  2. Would you be able to put me in touch with an installer who could do the installation and testing of the smartzone controller ?  I'm not overly handy and would prefer a knowledgeable installer to do the install and tests.

ANSWER:

  1. Ecojay's SmartZone products are compatible with your current DuroZone controller.  Your existing thermostats and dampers are normally compatible with SmartZone.as well. Wiring the dampers into SmartZone may be different depending on the model dampers you have. We can provide damper wiring instructions when you or your installer inform us the damper models you have. 
  2. The change out of your existing Durozone controller should be simple for any competent hvac contractor even if they haven't used Smartzone before.  Zoning Supply can also be contacted for technical support toll free if you or the installer need technical assistance. 

QUESTION: I have a Honeywell Chronotherm 111 system with one main panel and three mercury thermostat controllers. I have been informed that my control panel is inoperative and three dampers have failed. I would like to upgrade the system with out
losing the capability/control of the temperature in each room. I am in dire need to correct/improve my system with the Honeywell product.

ANSWER: The Honeywell Chronotherm III thermostat (models T8600, T8601 & T8603) are 24VAC powered according to Honeywell's spec sheet and should be compatible with any Ecojay SmartZone controller.


QUESTION: My customer has a Carrier/Parker zone system, not sure what version. I want to replace the complete system minus the dampers. Currently there is a main controller, bypass controller and six zones. The bypass could be converted to a dump zone. Wireless is also an option. What do you think?

ANSWER:  From our knowledge of the Carrier-Parker controls, it is VVT control system  and Carrier released two generations of the product line that we know of.  One or both generations used dampers that had DC powered, multi-position actuators. Carrier has also tended to use a more proprietary control flow using a pulsed or multi-position damper actuator which do not have an internal stop switch.  SmartZone outputs 24VAC continuously on either the OPEN damper circuit or CLOSE damper circuit with the actuator using an internal stop switch to switch off power when it reaches stop in either open or close position. This is typical of most conventional residential/light commercial zone control brands and product-lines today. If your customer's current system does not match this specification you will need to change out the damper actuators if installing Ecojay SmartZone or any other major 24VAC brand control product. Ecojay's damper actuators have a torque rating of 18 in-lb/2 Nm and can work with a round or square shaft of 1/4" to 5/8" diameter.
SmartZone is expandable up to 20 zones, capable of 2C/3H stages and is compatible with any conventional 24VAC controlled equipment including heat pump or heat pump with dual fuel. SmartZone is also compatible with all off the shelf 24VAC thermostats. If you are able to supply the specific product model your customer is using I can probably be more specific about the compatibility issues.


SmartZone-4X
199.00 299.00
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QUESTION: I have a Honeywell Trol-a-temp Model MABS-2 422041-2 with a Mastertrol Add-a-zone model MAZ-1 TAT422027. This is a 4 zone electric system, heat pump with Emergency heat. I have the Master which control s the Emergency heat plus e thermostats. I would like to upgrade the Panel so that I can put a digital thermostat as the master.

ANSWER: SmartZone-4X will work for you.
http://zoningsupply.com/buy/smartzone-4x


QUESTION: I am looking to use this product with a 2 zone system that has 2 wire dampers. I have to power 4 dampers per zone. Will this produced do so? I am using 8" round dampers and there are 4 per floor.

ANSWER: All Ecojay SmartZone controls are compatible with 2 and 3 wire dampers. They can even be mixed on the same zone. SmartZone can support up to four 2 wire dampers (up to ten 3 wire dampers) on each zone.  Dampers and thermostats are powered from the SmartZone controller. It is important to determine the VA capacity of the transformer needed to power SmartZone as the number of devices powered from the controller increase. In your installation, the transformer used to power the SmartZone controller will need to support the power demand of the zone controller (12VA), 8 dampers (2-wire dampers at 7-10VA each), and 2 thermostats (2VA each). Total potential transformer VA demand from these components collectively total 96VA (12+80+4). However, assuming your 2 wire dampers are power close/spring open, power demand from the dampers will occur only when the dampers are closed. With a 2 zone system, you will never see both zones closed at the same time (all dampers default to open when no zones are calling) so your maximum power demand will be only from 4 dampers. This changes the maximum potential power demand to 62VA (12+40+4). A 75VA - 24VAC transformer will be capable of providing adequate power for your system. This size transformer is readily available on Ebay and many other web stores.  If your 2 wire dampers are power open/spring close (this type is typically used only for fresh air ventilation) then you will need a transformer with a VA capacity of 100VA minimum.  Visit our zoningsupply.com website and review the ZS2X/4X installation guide for more information on installation. Thank you for contacting Zoning Supply with your question. We appreciate your interest in our SmartZone products.


QUESTION: The 9580 thermostat uses delta T (difference between actual room and called for temps) as part of the staging calculation.  If the staging function of the thermostat is replaced by the zone controller, how does the controller get delta T, or is is not used?  If not, ow does it determine staging...is it rate of temp change sensed by the probe?

ANSWER: SmartZone uses algorithms based on time and supply air temperature (as measured at the supply air plenum) to control staging. Each time the equipment is started SmartZone will require a minimum run time in stage 1 before it will consider staging. This initial run time allows for the equipment to achieve a stable temperature in heat or cool before determining if staging up is necessary. After the initial run time requirement is achieved SmartZone compares supply air temperature to the cut-in temperature settings and will stage up if conditions are met. When the equipment is running stage 2 SmartZone will compare supply air temperature to the cut-out temperature and will return to stage 1 if conditions are met. SmartZone staging algorithms will vary the time and temperature elements based on equipment type (gas/electric or heat pump) and mode of operation (cool or heat). The SmartZone Installation manual included with your product provides detailed information about the sequence of operations for adjusting staging settings including the specific algorithms used for each equipment type and their modes of operation.

 

2016 : QUESTIONS & ANSWERS about SmartZone - D

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 Photo by perrygerenday/iStock / Getty Images

Do the wires from the condenser-outside and the system board on the air handler connect to the terminal labeled Equipment on your install sheet ? 

Assuming you are installing zoning for the first time, the wires connecting to the equipment connector on SmartZone are the same wires that connected to the single thermostat you used to control your equipment before installing SmartZone.  The terminal labels from your thermostat should be the same or similar to those on the equipment terminal.  If you see only a Y and W terminal on the thermostat then the wires from those thermostat terminals will go to Y1 and W1 respectively on the SmartZone equipment terminal.  Your hvac equipment controls will be powered by a 24VAC transformer that should be connected to the C and Rh (or you can use the Rc instead of Rh terminal because the two are jumpered together) on the SmartZone equipment connector.  Typically the wires connecting to the SmartZone equipment terminal will come from your hvac equipment control board located in the blower cabinet.  In some installations, the Y wire is typically yellow colored  (or Y1 and Y2 if you have a multispeed system) may come from the outdoor condensing unit.   If you have a heat pump you should also have a wire (typically orange) in the W2/OB equipment terminal on SmartZone.

What is the O/B dip switch and what does O-B do?

The dip switch for O or B determines the way the refrigerant reversing valve works for cooling and heating mode.  The setting you use will be determined by the hvac equipment brand you have.   O will energize the reversing valve during the cooling mode and B will energize the reversing valve during heating.  Typically Rheem/RUUD equipment will require the dip switch to be set to B and all other brands will use O, however, check with the equipment manufacturer to be sure.

Feel free to contact our technical support line at 844-966-3123 if you need additional information or assistance. We appreciate your interest in our line of Ecojay SmartZone control products. Thanks for contacting us with your questions.


CUSTOMER EMAIL: I have a 10 year old Honeywell EMM-3 zone controller. I turned the heater on this year and nothing....The system led on the emm-3 was off, I hit the boot button and the led came on and the heater started to run but a couple of minutes later the led went off and the heater stopped.  Did this twice. Am I correct in assuming its the emm-3 that's bad?  If so I would like to replace it with one of your Ecojay zone controllers.  I have a two zone system installed around 2006.  Will your system work with the existing other components...from what I've read I assume yes.

ANSWER:   Based on the information you provided it would seem likely your EMM-3 zone controller has bit the dust.  You should check to make sure the R and C wires at theZONE PANEL TRANSFORMER connector at the bottom right corner of the zone board are securely tightened to ensure the transformer power connection wires are not loose and causing intermittent power loss.  Ecojay's ZS2X-2.0 and ZS2L-T are compatible replacements for your EMM-3. If your dampers work properly with the EMM-3 they should work the same way with Ecojay zone controls.  Same goes for your thermostats.  (Must have a COMMON wire)

 


What is the difference between the 2X and the 2L (SmartZone Lite)?

 

The 2X and 2L-T are the same functionally speaking. They are both multi-stage compatible (up to 2 cool/3 heat stages) for conventional gas/electric, heat pump and heat pump with dual fuel hvac equipment.  Both display supply air temperature, each zone's thermostat call and damper open/close states and equipment operating mode. The most significant difference is the 2X has more granularity for adjusting equipment high/low temperature limit equipment protection settings. The 2X limit settings can be adjusted in 1 degree increments and the 2L-T gives you the option of 2 fixed low and high limit temperature settings. The 2X includes a supply air temperature sensor in the box whereas the 2L can be ordered with (ZS2L-T) or without (ZS2L) a sensor. We strongly encourage ordering a supply air temperature sensor with the 2L. Do not use the sensor from your existing EMM-3.  Beyond those differences, the ZS2L-T is at a lower price point. Both zone controllers, as do all Ecojay products we offer, include a 5 year replacement warranty.


CUSTOMER EMAIL: I recently purchased and installed several of your 3 wire zone dampers using an existing control system. During the process I released the clutch and opened and closed the dampers several times for temporary operation.  Do I need to go thru a setup process?  Can the actuator figure out the damper position?

ANSWER: The actuators will "reset" themselves back to correct open and closed positions the next time they are powered by the SmartZone panel.  There is no need to adjust or configure the dampers after the clutch has been pressed and damper blade rotated.  If, however, the "u" bolt that holds the shaft is loosened then the damper blade should be oriented is in the same position as the motor (open or closed) when it is re-tightened.


Question: What would be the best settings for a Carrier 5 Ton Geothermal Unit with 3/2 Heat Cool?  Would you set all zones to HP or (Zone 1 to H2) and (Zone 2&3 to HP) and set the Ecobee zone 1 to have some or all control?

I am a little confused by this... Thanks!

ANSWER: Since the zone controller, by default, controls staging for the entire system and knows what all zone are doing you don't need to use the Ecobee on zone 1 to control staging unless you have a particular situation or preference to use it that way.  Your equipment will normally operate more efficiently under most circumstances which should translate to lower utility costs if you allow SmartZone to handle staging.

The most common practice we see with heat pump equipment using SmartZone is to use a HP thermostats on all zones.  This tends to be the least confusing way of operating the system.  One not is that you can ONLY control Em. Heat from ZONE 1.  For this reason, some people choose to use a GE stat on zones 2 - 4 to eliminates the confusion about where emergency heat can be manually controlled.  Since, most thermostats can be configured for both HP or GE operation so it is your preference. The critical step is that you set the STAT TYPE on SmartZone to the type of thermostat installed on each zone.  See INSTALL GUIDE


EMAIL QUESTION:  I have a 2 zone forced air (gas) heat/cooling system controlled via a DuroZone SWZ-SW zone controller and paired with DuroZone Multiline dampers (4) total. Current thermostats are White-Rodgers. I want to replace the current thermostats with a pair of Nest thermostats. Apparently the existing zone controller is not compatible due to the reliance on both O and B wires to tell the zone controller what mode the system is in (heat or cool). I stumbled on to this site and the recommended zone controller. Would the SmartZone 2x work in this case? If so are there any guides on installation that would make this easy to accomplish?

ANSWER: SmartZone control products are compatible with the Nest thermostat and all 24VAC hvac equipment including gas/electric, heat pumps and heat pumps with dual fuel.. You can follow the link below to view the SmartZone Installation manual on the Zoning Supply website. Please contact us by phone at 844-966-3123 or email with any questions about SmartZone installation, operation or zoning in general.

http://zoningsupply.com/smartzone-guide/
HERE IS HOW TO WIRE THE DAMPERS: http://zoningsupply.com/blog/smartzone-can-be-used-with-any-24v-damper


QUESTION: I have a Lennox variable speed modulating furnace. Will your system work with my furnace?

ANSWER: If your controls are 24VAC (most residential hvac systems are) the furnace should work with our SmartZone controls.  If you are not sure if you have 24VAC controls, remove your thermostat from the wall and look for wiring terminals labeled W, W1 or W2. These are the circuits that control the furnace for 24VAC systems. If you have any of these terminals on your thermostat and have wires connected to any of them your furnace is compatible with SmartZone. 

QUESTION: Can more then one damper be wired to one damper output? Have 3 zones that have 2 supply ducts each.

ANSWER: You can connect 4 spring dampers and 10 power dampers to each damper connector so you will easily be OK.  For 3 zones you will need the SmartZone ZS4X four zone controller.

SmartZone on TV - Greenovate Episode: Austin, TX

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I believe this first aired in 2006 - making this system at least 10 years old.  I have made contact with the homeowner through the original installer and it turns out that it is still working great.  Since then, they have upgraded to NEST thermostats but nothing else has changed.  They are considering upgrading the equipment to higher efficiency stuff that is available now but still want to keep SmartZone in place.

SmartZone - APPLICATION NOTE - Zone 1 Priority

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It may be desirable in some applications to make one of the zones have more priority for heating or cooling than the other zones.  This means that zone 1 will take control of the system to "satisfy" it's call before letting the other zones change the equipment mode.  If one or more of the other zones (2 thru 4) are calling for the same mode as the equipment, SmartZone will still open the damper to that zone... however, until zone 1 finishes it's call, the other zones calling for the opposite mode (heat or cool) will be ignored.  See below for wiring details or contact us with questions.

 

Best WiFi thermostat for Zoning Control

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 Image from ecobee.com

Image from ecobee.com

Make your SmartZone even smarter by connecting "smart" thermostats (WiFi) for smartphone and tablet app control.

A few years ago there were only two or three available and a prices that could make hvac zoning with WiFi cost prohibitive.  Now there are dozens of Wifi thermostats and some even with price points that make buying them for zone control palatable.  With SmartZone, all WiFi thermostats on the market will work so it comes down to budget and features that make since for zoning.  The criteria we uses for evaluating these thermostats included: how well the APP supports multiple thermostats, price, ease & flexibility of install, wfi connection reliability & interface at the thermostat.

Below is a brief summary of our results.

  • Nest - very nice but a little expensive if you need several thermostats (for zoning).  The app works well for multiple thermostats as long as you log in under the same account when provisioning.
  • Ecobee 3 - also very nice... but for zoning, the Ecobee Lite is the way to go unless you have a specific need for those remote sensors.
  • Ecobee Lite -  Our Pick - this is the best bang for the buck for an all around Wifi thermostat for zoning.  Ecobee also has the best app for zoning with easy adding of multiple thermostats and viewing options.  https://www.ecobee.com/ecobee3-lite/
  • Honeywell Lyrc - Expensive for what you get but it looks nice and is from the industry leader.  This would probably be the last WiFi thermostat i would buy for zoning unless i was using the Honeywell TrueZone panel... even then, i would choose the Ecobee Lite.
  • Emerson Sensi - This is a thermostat that looks like a basic (non-wifi) thermostat.  If you are looking for something that will disapear on the wall as if it were not there... this is it.  This app is OK but the interface at the thermostat is clunky like any older programmable thermostat.
  • Lux-Pro - Good thermostat at a good price... it is our VALUE pick.  Straight forward but with some unique features like the knob for adjusting temp.  Programming from the thermostat is not great but you can save some $ over the Ecobee Lite.
  • Vine Thermostat - looks promising but the app isn't as good as some of the leaders like ecobee, nest and honeywell.
  • Radio Thermostat - good price and features... have seen some reliability issues and wifi connection problems with the 4 i tested.  This one is great for hackers... open API & ability to write your own software to communicate to this thermostat.
  • Alarm.com Thermostat - cheapest on the list and for some people or applications it might be all you need.  My biggest concern is that this company requires all the data to go through their web-app and if they go out of business the thermostat could be worthless.

Wirecutter's review of wifi thermostats is lacking:http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-thermostat/  I usually agree with wirecutter but I think they did not do as in-depth expert analysis as usual withe the WiFi thermostats.  They left out a few key ones like LUXPro & Radio Thermostat.  Honeywell has a lower-end version and so does Ecobee.  There is a new one on the market that i am curious about too called the vine thermostat.  I will update post when tested.

www.zoningsupply.com

 

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HVAC Contractors: Out-Perform the Competition with ZoningSupply.com

Other HVAC, HVAC Contractors, HVAC Industry, ZoningSupplyWhitney PitzerComment

Contractors nowadays are finding that homeowners and business-owners are looking for all the bells and whistles they can reasonably afford and install. Among features like energy-efficient fixtures and home-automation, HVAC zoning is usually near the top of this list. Of course, zoning offers multiple benefits to homes and buildings as it can save energy and provide a custom level of comfort.

As HVAC zoning rises in popularity, homeowners and business-owners are beginning to ask for it by name.

How can contractors make the most of this movement?
It starts with choices. Many contractors have unfortunately limited themselves to zone control systems that sit at the top of the market (as well as the top of the price-range.) This would be great if these “name-brand” zoning systems offered quality, reliability and features that justified the price. This is simply not the case. Contractors who have worked with zoning for a while can attest to this. The good news is that there are now many choices when it comes to zone controls, dampers, and equipment. Contractors and suppliers can now sift through the choices and figure out which systems are the simplest to install, the most reliable, and provide the best customer support.

This is where ZoningSupply.com comes in. ZoningSupply guarantees their products to be the most reliable, the easiest to install, and the most affordable in the marketplace. Hundreds of contractor and homeowner testimonials over the past 10+ years sing praises of the top-notch products they offer.
Here’s why . . .

Contractor-Friendly
The engineers behind ZoningSupply products will tell you that their systems were designed with the contractor in mind. In other words, full-color install guides, screwless wiring, and color-coded LEDs are only the start. If a contractor picks up the phone and talks to Jeff or one of our other tech-support specialists, they’ll be sure to have all of their questions answered quickly but thoroughly.  

Easy-to-follow instructions and simple design make for a lightning-fast install.  

Ship Direct for Free
Furthermore, ZoningSupply.com can ship anywhere in the U.S. for free. Individual components or entire systems can be purchased on the website and delivered straight to your office or job site,  

Affordable
ZoningSupply’s featured SmartZone 2x, 4x, and 2L systems are among the most affordable in the marketplace. This puts money in your pocket and provides savings that can be passed along to homeowners.

Universally Compatible
If a contractor uses ZoningSupply, they can confidently offer retrofit options for virtually any existing HVAC system on the market. This means not having to learn and re-learn various installation procedures. This also means that nearly every home or building in your area can be retrofitted for zoning . . . Think of the opportunities!

With zone control systems, as with any product, there are the good, the bad, and the ugly. In the end, they all must answer to the contractors and ultimately the homeowners. When bidding on projects or marketing their services, contractors should equip themselves with the confidence and reliability that ZoningSupply.com products provide.  

Ecobee's new lower-cost WiFi thermostat is great for zoning

zoning supplyComment

So, you like the idea of zone control to maximize the comfort control and minimize the energy usage in your home... AND you like the idea of being able to control all of your zones from your smartphone, tablet or computer.  This has been possible for many years now but cost prohibitive... until now.  Let's face it, $250 to $300 for a thermostat is pretty steep, even if it does have WiFi.  Plus, for a zoning system, you will need 2, 3, 4 or even more of these expensive thermostats.  It is unfortunate that the cost has been out of reach for many home owners that have (or want) zone controls because WiFi thermostats are a perfect match to a zoned system.  Instead of having to go around to each thermostat in your home, you could control all zones with a smartphone or tablet.

We are very excited about the recently (2 days ago) released Ecobee3 Lite thermostat.  Why?  Because it may be the best WiFi thermostat yet released for zone control applications.

First, its price tag of $169 beats most of the alternatives by $80 or more... this means for a 4 zone system you could save at least $320 over using the original Ecobee3, the Nest or Honeywell's Lyric.

Second, the ecobee app is stellar and handles multiple thermostats as well or better than the competition.  This is a must for zone controls and many of the less expensive alternative thermostats just don't measure up.

Third, it looks great!  They didn't try to dumb down the interface or aesthetics to create this "LITE" version.  You can be proud to have it hanging on your wall... in every zone.

Check back in a couple of weeks we we have received our pre-ordered Ecobee3 Lite thermostats for use with SmartZone for an in-depth analysis.

More unbiased Zone control discusson on homeenergy

Other HVACzoning supplyComment

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QUESSTION by
Adam Zielinski

Homeowners with forced air duct systems always want to close the registers in rooms they aren't using, and close the doors to those rooms, in the belief that doing so will save energy and money.
I always thought doing this was over-rated and unlikely to save a significant amount of energy or money.  I could see doing it for one or two rooms perhaps, but sometimes homeowners close off half of their house or more.
This creates unbalanced air flow in the duct system and likely results in over heating the furnace heat exchanger, and or short cycling the furnace.  So the furnace spends a lot of time in start up mode and less time at peak efficiency.
I have not seen any real studies done on this however.  I'd like to see some data or research on this.

Reply by dale conner
Adam, most furnaces will move the proper amount of air through the blower and heat exchanger if the furnace cabinet pressure doesnt exceed .5 IWC and the furnace capacity was chosen based on a manual J calculation. This information can be found in the furnace installation manual or IOM (installation,operation,maintenance) that comes with a new furnace. However, this does not mean we are getting adequate air delivery to all of the rooms in the house due to excessive air leakage in the ducts and/or incorrect duct lengths or diameters routed to each room.

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QUESTION by Judi Lyall

How about using a motorized damper ?

Reply by dale conner
A single motorized damper can be used to control a zoned area but you also have to install a barometric by-pass damper to prevent over pressurization
www.zoningsupply.com

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See full discussion: http://homeenergypros.lbl.gov/group/hvac/forum/topic/show?id=6069565%3ATopic%3A7207

Honest discussion on homeenergypros about zoning advantages.

Other HVACzoning supplyComment

Are Zoned Heating/Cooling Systems a Good or Bad Idea?

Excerpt from homeenergypros discussion about HVAC Zone controls.

QUESTION by Jon LaMonte

 

For starters, I live in Atlanta, Ga and I am not an HVAC pro so this is a serious question that I would like answered for one of my clients.  I understand the premise of a zoned system and on the surface, it sounds like a good idea. Then I considered the fact that I have always told my customers that it is a bad idea to close off vents in rooms they are not in because of duct leakage.  Also, the second law of thermodynamics simply states the hot goes to cold, so now the unheated areas are doing their best to rob warm air from the heated areas.  Finally, if your zoning a single system, aren't you creating on oversizing issue because the unit (that was probably oversized in the first place) is now servicing a smaller area than what it was designed for?

 

Reply1 by Chris Heenan

Zoning has benefits beyond temp control. Most often the home does not require the full 2 stage heat or cooling as the system only needs to satisfy a portion of the home. So, then if 1/2 the heated air goes through a properly sized and balance bypass, the return air (from home) will mix with warm supply (from bypass) before going thru the system again. You may not need to go beyond 1stage heat (or cool) except in extremes. This is most beneficial in raising supply temps from heat pumps when in winter mode. Most supply vents feel 'cool' to homeowner. Not so when zoned and not call on all zones.

Flip it to cool, and the bypass send dehumidified cooler air across the coil. Decreasing high side pressures and amp draw of compressor. Then the air gets more heat extracted and further dehumidified. Pulling out additional condensate and running less. Remember systems have to be careful not to oversize as dehumidification is crucial to comfort. Dry and cool temps out supply vent. Not too shabby.

 

Reply2 by dale conner

Zone sytems are rarely installed properly but can be efficient if properly designed. The goal is to be able to set back the temperature a few degrees in a zone that isnt being utilized while keeping another zone comfortable that is being utilized.  A single unit with a zone system will have a by-pass duct sytem to dump the air thats been cut off from one zone back into the duct system to be used in the zone that is being used.

 

*Reply3 by James Jackson on

Have you ever been driving down the interstate hwy and come up on an exit ramp that has traffic backed up? As the traffic backs up and eventually fills the exit with cars you end up with a slight back up on the entire highway. this is the closest scenario i have been able to come up to help people understand why closing doors and vents is a bad idea. if you have a run off of a main trunk and you close the outlet or register you will cause the air to back up into the trunk causing turbulence in the trunk line resulting in a decrease in air flow in other areas on the system. this can also cause multiple other problems like pulsing and excessive noise from the increase in pressure.

another thing to remember when you shut doors in a home with no return air you cause a difference in pressure in the home. The room you have closed is now significantly positively pressurized and the house is now under a negative pressure. This why some homes have the doors undercut by 3-4 inches trying to allow the air to get back to the return.

Ok as far as the zone system goes... There is so much more thought involved in properly setting up a quality zone system that i see very few done correctly. If you want to do one correctly you first need to make sure you are using a multi-stage HVAC unit so the unit can run on low speed if it is only conditioning one zone. A bypass or crossover duct with a barometric damper is needed if you are conditioning a small zone and the air handler is still supplying too much air, but if you are going the zone route don’t use contractor grade units and piece it together with a simple zone controller. Get a high efficiency v speed unit that is designed for this application.

But what happens when you change the temps in a zone in the house 4-5 degrees?? Energy moves from hot to cold so you end up indirectly heating or cooling the entire space regardless. This brings us to another scenario. The return air in the zone that is off. My experience with working on correcting issues with homes using zone systems has been the returns are never dampered so if the zone is completely shut off you have just installed a permanent blower door. if the zone is off one you are returning hotter or colder air to the system and two you are causing that zone to have a negative pressure.

Just some things to think about !!

 

Learn more at www.zoningsupply.com

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 BETTER with Zoning done right!

BETTER with Zoning done right!

 Single thermostat can have issues

Single thermostat can have issues

My editorial conclusion:
Zoning CAN be effective if and ONLY if it's designed and installed properly.  This means ducts, dampers, equipment size (tons).  It also means the right zone panel setup with energy saving features like SmartZone.  Finally, to make zoning work best and comfort control and energy savings, the home owner must properly control the thermostats.  Zoning isn't a "set-it-and-forget-it" system, it must be managed to be effective.  More articles about zoning

See full discussion: http://homeenergypros.lbl.gov/group/hvac/forum/topic/show?id=6069565%3ATopic%3A7207