Thursday, 26 September 2013

What are the Advantages of Zone Heating over Central Heating?

Heating your entire house everyday may not be the best economic choice for your utility bills, particularly with the rooms that are used only during a certain part of the day, like bedrooms. Keeping them warm the whole day and using the room only at night is like literally throwing money into your furnace and burning it up.

Zone heating has a lot of advantages over Central heating systems simply because it saves homeowners an average of 20 to 30 percent on energy costs. This is because Central heating systems are designed to heat the entire house with the same temperature while a zone system heats only specific areas and saves on the rest. You can heat rooms that are used more during the day like your living room, kitchen and dining rooms and prevent usage of energy in bedrooms.

Every family has different comfort and lifestyle needs. You may have a home office that needs to be cooled or heated only during the day. Or, you may use the upstairs bedrooms only when you have guests over. This is when zoning will keep specific areas in your house at the perfect temperature so that everyone feels comfortable at all times. You can restrict airflow with dampers in unneeded areas indoors and save huge amounts of energy in return. This theory is simple to switching on and switching off a light bulb. You can use them when you need to and turn them off once you leave the room.

Also known as automatic balancing systems, zoning systems are the ultimate solution for comfort problems with lower energy costs. The system is designed to eliminate uncomfortable and annoying cold and hot spots in the house through the use of duct dampers and multiple thermostats serving a central HVAC unit. If you are planning to install a new HVAC unit in your home or office, consider adding the zone system to reduce utility costs and improve comfort levels.

Even for new homes, the zone system can be installed during construction. It offers the homeowner control over their heating and cooling any time of day or night. So the more zones, the more control you have over your heating and cooling. In today’s world with depleting fossil fuels and rising energy prices, it is very important that you are aware of how you heat and cool your home.  You can practice heating and cooling rooms that are used the most rather than trying to heat the whole house with the same temperature. An efficient way to do this would be to supplement your central heating system with multiple thermostats for every room indoors. This ensures a reduction in energy consumption. The zoning system segments each area of your house to be individually controlled by a multi-zone heating/cooling controller.

The advantaged of zoning systems over central heating are:
  • Efficiency – Save hundreds of dollars every year in heating and cooling costs with a well designed zoning system.
  • Control – Adjust comfort levels indoors with a zone system. It can divide the house into different areas to heat and cool at specific temperatures with a programmable thermostat.
  • Comfort – Without affecting other indoor area, the zone system can meet the specific temperature and airflow requirements of one room.
  • Quiet Performance – Operating at lower speeds and less noise, the zone system can deliver optimum levels of working efficiency coupled with peak performance.
Looking at its advantages, the zone system saves a significant amount of energy. Occupied areas indoors will have the perfect temperature setting while unused areas will save on energy. There is no problem of under usage or over usage of energy when there is a zone system in your home or office. It also possesses the added advantage of stretching the capacity of your HVAC unit. The zone system has proved time and again that it is a powerful energy and air management tool that can provide for increased comfort and energy savings.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Can Zoning Systems be Retrofitted?

According to a study, around 75% of homeowners are dissatisfied with their comfort levels at home. Those same people also happen to have zone control systems only 30% of the time. Installing the zoning system in a fresh home is one thing, but probably the largest market in the heating/cooling industry is retrofitting zoning systems to make them better. America has close 130 million existing homes and contractors will grab this opportunity to increase their business.  Homeowners are always looking for ways to stay comfortable indoors as they spend more time at home. They are also looking for solutions to decrease energy bills and optimize heating and cooling with the right equipment.
You, as a homeowner, may have noticed that there are a lot of times that certain rooms in the house are colder or warmer than they are. This is because heat rises during summer and the rooms on the first or second floors are very hot. In direct contrast, the basement is very cold as warm air does not find its way down to heat that area of your house properly in winter. Rooms that have direct access to sunlight are very difficult to cool down and those with vaulted ceilings don’t retain heat very well. There is only one surefire way to even out the temperature in your room regardless of the weather outdoors. That is system zoning.

Why Switch to System Zoning?

The whole operation process of system zoning is quite simple. There are multiple thermostats wired to a central control panel, which in turn operates dampers within the ductwork of the heating/cooling unit. For each specific zoning area, the thermostat read the temperature constantly and according to its settings, it opens or closes the dampers within the ductwork. System zoning is really helpful for homes with improper and inconsistent heating and cooling temperatures. It is also good for heating and cooling individual rooms based on the programmed temperature setting.
If used properly, system zoning can save you a lot of money on electricity bills which approximately adds up to around 30% every year. According to the Department of Energy in the United States, 40% of a home’s utility costs accounts for heating and cooling alone. System zoning helps you save energy by running temperature controlled air for only specific rooms in the house.

Is Cost of Switching a Problem?

There are many homeowners who are unwilling or hesitant to make the transition from traditional heating/cooling methods to system zoning and programmable thermostats simply because of the cost. This definitely may not be a do-it-yourself project but the Department of Energy has funded the development of a damper system that can be retrofitted into an existing zoning system. Existing ductwork does not need to be supported or altered as there are no heavy motors involved.
The flex dampers work with most brands of zone-control systems and come with air control inserts with an air pumping system and an electronic controller. Designed in square duct or circular models, the dampers fill the air to block or constrict the airflow within the duct.  They are resistant to aging, moisture, heat, ozone and airborne chemicals. Even if they are punctured, which is highly unlikely, the punctured holes will not affect the performance of the system.
The dampers can be installed in flexible or steel ducts and also serviced easily by gaining access through a register.
To install a retrofitted zone-control system, here are some of the items needed in your shopping list:-
·         Flex dampers
·         Thermostats for each room/zone
·         Zone control panel
·         Transformer
·         Solenoid pump and panel
·         Plenum tubing
·         Control limit switch
You will also need to determine the number of zones your home needs, since this will affect the way you set up your zoning system that for retrofitting. While retrofitting the zoning system is more challenging than installing it the first time, you’ll find that doing so would be a lot more worth it than looking at your energy bills summing up because of the traditional heating system.