During the cold days winter it's nice to get cozy by the fireplace or curl up under a warm blanket.. or in the summer you might find yourself standing in front of the air conditioner vents or a fan for a little relief from the heat. Is this because it's just not possible for your entire home to be comfortable? It may be because you are concerned with the energy use or $$ being spent to keep the home cool/warm OR it may be that certain areas of your home just never seem to be comfortable. If one or more rooms in your home seem to ALWAYS be outside your "comfort zone", Ecojay's SmartZone may be able to help. Directing airflow (heat/cool) to the rooms that you want, can make rooms in your home comfortable when you want them to be.
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
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