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What is Zoned Heating and How Can I Maximize the Heat in my Home?

What is Zoned Heating and How Can I Maximize the Heat in my Home?

You always want to live in the most comfortable surroundings possible. It is something we all want. One of the best ways we can do that is by having adequate heating and cooling systems within our home. There are many ways in which this can be achieved. Utilizing various methods of heat and air refrigeration, you can have the “right” temperature for your home any time of year!

What is A Zoned Heating System and Does it Benefit?

Wouldn’t you love an easy-to control heating and cooling system that allows all family members to be happy? What if one of you needs it to be warmer than the other for various reasons? Some people have various needs when it comes to a temperature that is comparable to them. Zone heating is a type of heating and cooling system that allows for your entire house to be heated or cooled. A zoned system allows every family member to have the exact temperature they want without impacting other people in the household! This can be beneficial in different circumstances-

  • You rent an apartment outside of your house and do not want them turning up the heat or air conditioning too high.
  • You have an exercise or work out area or room in which you want to be cooler in.
  • There are elderly people in the home that need it to be warmer in the winter than everyone else.
  • There are small children in the house.
  • You do not use certain rooms as much as other ones and want to save on your heating bill by keeping them at a lower temp.

How Does Zoned Heating Work?

Basically, your housing area is broken down into different sections or areas. A completely separate thermostat system controls all of those areas independently. This can be great as it can help you to have an overall more “even temperature experience”. Zone heatingsystems get rid of areas of draft and hot and cold spots. If you would enjoy having a separate thermostat for your rooms, then read on! This article will explain how zoned heating works with both heating and cooling systems. We will also explain how a gas fireplace or adding another fireplace system may be beneficial to create the perfect combination of heating and cooling system that meets all your needs!

How does Operating a Zone Heating System Work?

A zoned heating system is controlled by electrically operated dampers. These are known as dampers. These are inserted within the ductwork of the air ducts of your home. These valve-like controls control the airflow within your home. The second part of this heating and cooling system is the thermostat. These are placed separately within the home to control the separate zones. The different areas are told by the thermostat when it gets too cold or too hot based on the preferred temperature of a zoned area. If you set it at 70 degrees, it stays at that temperature because the thermostat tells the dampers that it needs to either release or hold back either more or cold air to maintain that temperature. When that exact temperature has been achieved, the damper then temporarily closes for a time. This stays closed until the thermostat sends it directions again to either release more hot or cold air to that zone.

Why Would Anyone Want a Zone Heating and Cooling System?

Many people desire a more even temperature control system if they live in areas of either too hot or too cold temperatures outside. Having a large variability in temperature can also be a reason to get a zone heating system. In some seasons of the year, it can get very cold very fast at night and you might want a smaller area heated like your bedroom without spending money to heat the entire house. There is more even distribution of the heat and it completely eliminates drafts. This can be especially beneficial in multiple-story homes.

Zone Heating for Two-Story Homes

The most common use of a zoned system is to eliminate hot and cold spots. For example, most two-story or multi-level homes suffer from uneven heating and cooling. Because heat rises, the upper levels are always warmer than the lower levels. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, a minimum of two different zones are installed in a smaller house. In this two-zone system of upstairs and downstairs, a more controlled temperature is reached overall. If one zone starts to reach the desired temperature, air to the other is slowed down. This creates more airflow to the opposite zone. It goes back and forth. It works by forcing air to one zone then closing the damper off to the other repeatedly. If there is anywhere that is still cooler than desired in the home, a supplemental fireplace system can always be installed.

 

Families with Various Temperature Needs

 

A zoned heating and cooling system as mentioned before can be used to heat different areas of the house to different temperatures. There will be no more fighting over the thermostat with this innovative system. As mentioned above, two-story small homes with two zones will have an upstairs and downstairs system. You can choose to keep the upstairs either warmer and cooler than the downstairs and family members can choose where to sleep based on preference. There are, however, bigger homes, even more than two zones. Some may have upwards of 3 or more in a bigger place. The great thing about zone heating is that more zones can be added. Heating zones can be independently installed in separate bedrooms if more individualized temperatures are desired. If you have elderly parents or children, you can install a separate zone strictly for their bedroom to meet their heating needs.

 

Central Heating and Cooling or Zone Heating?

Technically speaking, zoned heating is a kind of central heating system. Both types of systems utilize a central furnace. This heats up the entire area of your house. The difference is how the heat is delivered to the rooms in your house. A normal central heating and cooling system as one supply vent that receives cold and hot air. The heating and cooling system is either in a state of on or off with no variability between the two states. Either your house is getting hot or cold or it’s not. The thermostat is usually near the furnace. The temperature of that area determines the heat of the entire home. This can create a great deal of variability depending on where it is located. If you want to make a room cooler, the only way is by going into the ductwork and shutting it off manually to an area. For a two-story home and larger homes, this can create a lot of drafts and changes in temperature throughout the homes. The second floor may be much hotter than the lower floor simply because heat rises. This can be extremely uncomfortable in the summer and winter. It will generally be just much warmer in that area of your house at all times with this system.

How Does Zoned Heating Differ from Central Heating?

Zone heating is a type of central heating. It all comes from the central furnace but how is is dispersed within that system is what defines the difference between central and zone heating. When it uses the traditional method to blow air, it is central heating. When you have zoned heating, different dampers control the supply vents. When the furnace or air-conditioning is on, when the dampers are on the room will get hot or cold air. When they are not, it won’t. With a zoned heating system, your house can be in different states of heating at all times. The supply vents are opened and controlled by the different thermostats and are continuously blowing different levels of air. This can create rooms that are of an individual desired temperature rather than one base temperature of the house that is determined by one thermostat.

General Thermostat Location Determines Temperature

When you have central air, there is only one thermostat in the house controlling the temperature. Generally it is in the middle of your house on the bottom floor. It basically is a representation of what the air temperature should be in every room of the house. When the air near it gets hot it tells the furnace to turn off. When that area is cold, it tells the furnace to blow hot air. Once the air around the thermostat reaches the desired temperature it shuts off. This base area represents the temperature for the entire house but in reality, it doesn’t work this way and you have a great deal of variance in temperature. Upstairs will get hot much faster due to rising air as do areas with a lot of windows. There will always be rooms in your home that are too warm or too chilly with central heating and cooling. For one story small homes, this may be a good type of heating but those with larger homes and multiple floors will not have even heating. With a zone heating system, you are able to have all rooms getting the desired heating level you want by the thermostats that are in each room.

Save on Money with Zone Heating

The great thing about zone heating is one can choose how many zones you would like and if you want a thermostat in each room controlling the heat, that can be installed. This method can be less work on your furnace as well as it will only heat the areas it needs to that you are actively in and not heat areas that you are not. This can save a considerable amount of money on your heating and cooling bills As you only need to heat and cool the areas that are occupied at the time if you desire to do that.

Supplementing your Heating system with a Fireplace Installation

If you are still experiencing hot and cold spots, A fireplace installation can be a great addition. This can make your home even more comfortable when you have zone heating and you have larger rooms. If you have a large master bedroom and want even more heat in it, a gas fireplace may be a great choice. A traditional fireplace does not offer the heat that a gas fireplace or pellet fireplace can. This can add additional heat to your house without huge heating bills. Your house may already be set up for gas or propane already and you can choose a gas or pellet insert that works directly with the propane or your house as it is.

Benefits of a Supplemental Fireplace

If you decide to install a gas fireplace or pellet fireplace in addition to your zone heating system or central heating system, it can have benefits like-

  • Save money on your furnace bills in areas that have a gas fireplace or pellet stove.

  • Provide additional heat in very large rooms that are by windows

  • Your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard as rooms with fireplaces can have the supply vents shut off saving it from extra wear and tear.

  • Your furnace will last much longer with a supplemental heating supply.

Direct Vent or no Vent Heating?

If you decide on a fireplace installation that is gas, you do not need a chimney. Some gas fireplace systems utilize a sealed completely system of venting that is sealed to vent the unsafe and combustible gasses out of the rooms. There are a few types of venting systems you can choose from when you use a gas fireplace. When you have a chimney you can do a ventless system. You can vent the air using a B-vent pipe. However, if you do not have a chimney, you will have to go with a ventless system. This type of system simply burns much more efficiently that the biproducts to the fireplace are almost non existent. Direct vent systems on the other hand utilize a sealed system of venting that brings in fresh air from outside and exhausting the toxic fumes, gases and byproducts outside. The front of the fireplace is sealed off from the inside of the house to allow it to vent properly. It also blocks off gases that could be combustible.

What is the Best Heating System for Me?

if you are looking for a heating and cooling system for your home that allows for comfort all the time, a combination zone heating system with a gas fireplace or pellet stove is ideal. It will allow for the most fuel economy, as only the zones you want heated are heated at any given time. Given that you can shut off areas with this system seamlessly by turning the thermostat off, you will be saving money naturally anyways. By adding either a direct vent or ventless fireplace, your home can be warm in larger rooms and your furnace will not have to work as hard to heat those areas. This will make it last longer over time.