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How a Zoning System Works to Keep Homes Comfy


If your Virginia home is having problems maintaining a comfortable level throughout the house, the culprit might be the traditional setup for heating and cooling that you insist on keeping. All over the country, this old-school setup is being replaced by the installation of zoning system. If used properly, a zoning system can improve your comfort level while saving you both energy and money every month.

Is Traditional Central Heating and Cooling Outdated?

Living in a home that utilizes central heating and cooling – controlled by one central thermostat – has long been a linchpin of American home comfort. After all, it was preferable to heating and cooling systems confined to one room or area. But with energy costs increasing in recent years, the problems inherent to such a setup have become clear.

When you switch on your central HVAC system to heat or cool your home, using one thermostat, the A/C unit or furnace attempts to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the home, determined by the thermostat setting. Unfortunately, the laws of physics tell us this is impossible. Since heat rises and cool air sinks, upper levels of a room will be warmer than the lower levels. Plus, some rooms – such as those with large windows exposed to the sun or rooms with high ceilings – are more difficult to cool off and will throw off the entire system.

These elements conspire to not only provide an inconsistent level of comfort for parts of the home and household members, but also in a waste of energy and money as your equipment desperately tries to maintain a consistent temperature for everyone involved.

The Effectiveness of a Zoning System

To solve the problems of a traditional heating and cooling setup, the professional installation of a zoning system is your best solution, whether your home consists of one level, two levels or more. A zoning system works by splitting your home into multiple designated “zones.” Most homes don’t require more than three zones, but this must be determined on a house-by-house basis. Depending on the size and layout of your home, you may be able to group several rooms into one zone in some cases, whereas certain rooms – such as one with large windows and a great deal of sunlight exposure – may require its own zone.

Once installation of the system is complete, each zone will have its own thermostat (or sensor), along with a central unit to control the desired temperatures for those individual zones. This means that you can ensure the same temperature in different rooms regardless of location or design. It also means that if certain members of your family prefer their rooms to be cooler or warmer than others, you can set different temperatures for these individual zones and make everything happy. When used properly, a zoning system will allow you to maintain a consistent comfort level throughout your home.

Saving Energy and Money with a Zoning System

In addition to improving the comfort level of your home, a zoning system can help lower your energy usage and, in turn, your monthly utility costs. As stated above, when you use a traditional setup to heat or cool your home, your HVAC equipment has no choice but to treat your entire home. But what if you or other household members are only occupying one or two rooms? With a traditional system, it doesn’t matter. The equipment will continue to run until it reaches the desired temperature throughout the home (or, more precisely, in the room where the thermostat is located), which can waste a lot of energy.

The use of a zoning system will go a long way toward fixing this problem. By concentrating your heating and cooling efforts on a finite number of rooms/zones, the energy used to acquire the desired level of comfort is considerably lessened, which is especially true when you’re alone in the house. If used wisely, this can translate into a huge amount of savings on your utility bills each month.

For more expert advice on the installation and use of a zoning system or for other home comfort questions, please contact the professionals at HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve the cities of Fairfax, Alexandria, Springfield, Arlington, Centreville, Reston, Burke, Lorton, Ashburn, and the surrounding area.

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