Recently a client asked us if we could get thermostats in different rooms to control different temperatures for each space. That got us thinking about home zoning and the way each room is handled by your home’s HVAC system. Lots of people have questions about why different rooms are different temperatures in their home. Sometimes they want all the rooms to be the same temperature throughout the house, or sometimes they want to address the different comfort needs of people living in the same house. Here’s a look at some of the considerations around zoning for your home and the best HVAC system to tackle it.
What Is Zoning?
Zoning is the process by which we make sure each room is handled effectively by the HVAC system. It’s all about comfort and efficiency: making sure you’re comfortable in the home and that the HVAC system is working efficiently. Homes with multiple stories often have trouble keeping every room the same temperature, as do older homes or ones with single-pane windows.
It’s important to remember that zoning is actually a bunch of different processes. We use duct sealing, partitioning, and other methods to direct the air and make sure it’s being delivered instead of leaking out at some point before arrival. Zoning could also involve insulation in rooms that need it, or window replacement if single-pane or old windows are making it tough to maintain a consistent room temperature. All zoning should be carried out by a good contractor, but that’s especially true for ductwork. Just as closing off vents can damage your HVAC system, bad ductwork can do the same thing. It will shorten your system’s lifespan and cause more problems than it fixes. Zoning is all about balance, and it takes a good professional HVAC guy to do the job right.
Adjusting Room Temperatures to Personal Preferences
What about if you want different rooms to be different temperatures? Well, zoning can help with that a little. It depends on how far you want to go with it—for example, it might be easier to use zoning and have one room consistently warmer (or cooler) than the others in the house. That sounds funny, but it’s really just the reverse of what we usually do with zoning. Instead of making all the rooms the same temperature, we’d make one consistently warmer or cooler than the others. There are a few drawbacks to this, notably that it’s a relative measurement—warmer or colder than the rest of the home may not be warm or cool enough all the time.
What our client was really asking about was controlling the temperature in each room, separate from the rest of the house. This is a little more complicated. Smart thermostats can help—they give you the ability to control the temperature from anywhere in the house, even letting you use your smartphone as a control center. This is usually enough for most clients—you don’t have to get up and hunt down the thermostat to adjust the temperature.
If you have one room that you spend a lot of time in, and you want that room to have separate heating and air control and supply from the rest of the home, it’s not impossible, but it could get expensive. This would be a useful feature in a suite—say, a mother-in-law suite attached to the house or any place where a member of the household spends lots of time. HVAC systems are designed to heat the whole home evenly. It’s hard to give an exact cost without an estimate, but we’d be happy to talk to you about estimating that project and what to consider before you go in.
All About Comfort
The most important thing is your comfort. If you want your whole home heated evenly, zoning and energy-efficient upgrades will help with that. Attic insulation, duct sealing, and window replacement will address common causes of different temperatures in the house, making sure the home maintains an even temperature while increasing the energy efficiency at the same time.
If on the other hand, your comfort will be better if the house is maintained at different temperatures, zoning can also help with that to a degree. We can partition and direct air, reduct, and do what is necessary to keep you comfortable. Some energy efficiency will likely be lost, but if you’re comfortable, it’s worth it. If you like it warm in your home office, but your family prefers it cooler everywhere else, we can figure out a way to make the office fit your needs.
Active temperature control for separate rooms is a more difficult ball to hit, and you’ll want to make sure you have the right contractor for the job. Smart thermostats and sensors will help, but you may be looking at semi-separate HVAC systems and ductwork in order to achieve your home comfort goals.
Is the extra expense worth it? That’s entirely up to you. We put your comfort first in our priorities, and we’d love to help you figure out a way to achieve that comfort with a budget that makes sense. Whatever the solution is, home zoning by a solid contractor is a process that you can benefit from. Choose to be comfortable in your own home, and choose Bell Brothers to make that happen.