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Decades ago, if people wanted to cool their homes in St. Harrisburg, PA, during the warmer days of the year, their choices were limited. Often the only option they had was to rely on shade from trees and opening the windows early in the morning as well as late in the evening. Today, there are several options. On top of that, the current options continue to improve. Previously, you had to settle for the entire home receiving air from the HVAC system. Today, there is such a thing as zone control. At HB McClure Company, we specialize in helping clients with zone control and other HVAC issues.

Here are some problems that can arise from a lack of zone control and how to fix them.

What Is HVAC Zone Control?

HVAC zone control is the ability to control the temperature in each given area of a home as you desire. The first HVAC systems consisted of ducts attached to vents. Each duct leads to a vent in a room. The air makes its way through the ducts and into the room with no sense of direction except the one provided by the ventilation. It is easy to determine that this is not the most efficient system today because so many improvements have been made to heating, cooling and ventilation systems through innovation and technology.

But the ductwork system did do its job for several decades. As electricity became more accessible, inventions that required electricity increased, too. This has caused a strain on the electric grid for a number of reasons. For example, the population continues to grow. So, government agencies began to find ways to balance demand and supply. This birthed the energy-efficiency movement. Zone control is one of the results of trying to achieve maximum energy efficiency.

When you turn on the traditional HVAC system in your home, you do not have a choice in where the air is going to go. It simply goes into all the rooms with vents. This is not efficient all the time. If you are home alone, ideally, you only want to cool or heat the room where you are hanging out at that time. There is no reason to cool or heat the whole house. The solution is heating by zones instead of the whole.

What Do You Need for Zone Control?

To accomplish successful zone control, the following three things are needed:

  • Thermostat
  • Control panel
  • Electronic dampers

This is a job best left to the professionals. The have to go to the ducts and attach the electronic dampers. A thermostat is installed in every room with a vent. Then, the control panel has to be wired to the thermostat as well as the electronic damper. This creates a system that shuts the vent as desired. The result is different temperatures in different rooms according to your preferences. This is great for those who prefer a cooler temperature in their bedroom and a warmer temperature in the living room where the family hangs out.

Loss of Energy Efficiency

When there is no zone control, you lose energy efficiency, especially in larger homes. For adults who are retired and continue living in their homes, it is not efficient to heat or cool the entire house. That is one the reasons why some scale down their houses. Maintaining the entire home gets difficult as you age. In that case, there is no reason to use so much energy that is only wasted even though you are paying for all its use.

Zone control is a great alternative for homes that have ductwork. Homes that have none can install a ductless mini-split system that is another version of zone control, which is also energy efficient.

Loss of Ability to Customize Temperature

Being able to control the temperature in every zone is more likely to keep everyone in the household happy. If there is a baby in the house, his or her room can be kept at a comfortable temperature for his or her needs. Simultaneously, your bedroom can be kept at a temperature that helps you sleep the best. Once again, with zone control, the biggest advantage is the ability to heat and cool specific areas as opposed to heating or cooling the whole house. Larger homes eat up more energy without a zone system. This is more true of homes that are more than one floor. Those get trickier because heat rises, so during the winter, the ground floor may remain cold longer. Then, during the summer, it may be more difficult to cool the top floors.

Customizing the temperature in every zone keeps people happy, but it also saves energy and money on energy costs.

Hot and Cold Spots

If you live in a one-bedroom, you may not experience hot and cold spots when you are trying to change the indoor temperature. With less area to heat and cool, it is easier for the air to flow around efficiently. Hot and cold spots mostly develop in larger homes as mentioned earlier. A house that is two floors is not as easy to cool and heat. Since heat rises, the top floor could remain warmer, longer. This means that if you have no zone control, the ground floor could end up feeling a little frozen before the top floor becomes comfortable. In the winter, the opposite would be true. Since heat rises, the top floor could end up feeling like a steam room before the ground floor is heated up to a comfortable temperature.

That is the point of zone control. If you and your family decide to hang out upstairs in the winter, you can be warm while allowing the ground floor to be cool. If someone has something to take care of downstairs, though, that person can achieve a comfortable temperature without those on the top floor feeling like they are in the oven.

This is a very convenient heating, ventilation and cooling system that is readily available for installation. All you have to do is call a professional. After an assessment, you are walked through the process. Specifics that apply to your home will be explained to you. The goal is for you to be comfortable indoors and have peace of mind.

The more energy efficient your home’s HVAC system is, the more environmentally friendly it is, too. This is a great benefit that serves more than one purpose. You get to save money on your energy costs while also minimizing your carbon footprint. That is a win-win situation that does not require a large lifestyle change. You will have to program every room, but you are not making any sacrifices. You actually end up with more positives. This is a great way to combat the heat and cold air that enters through a basement or attic, if your home has either. High ceilings and several windows can also make it difficult to warm and cool as desired without zone control.

To receive more information about zone control, contact us at HB McClure Company in St Harrisburg, PA, to schedule an appointment today. We can also handle indoor air filtration, bathroom remodeling, and HVAC maintenance calls.