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Residential Zoning Systems Keep Your Home Comfortable

comfortable house catDepending on the time of year, a central HVAC unit can account for up to 70 percent of a home’s energy use. On average, it makes up 30 to 40 percent of your energy costs throughout the year. While a centralized thermostat is supposed to keep your entire home at a constantly comfortable temperature, there’s a good chance that some rooms feel hotter or cooler than you’d like because of energy exchanges through windows, vaulted ceilings, opened doors, and so on. Residential zoning systems maximize the comfort of your home and its energy performance.

What are Residential Zoning Systems

Residential zoning systems are a series of thermostats wired to a single control panel. The thermostats monitor different areas of a home, relaying information to a control panel that operates the dampers in a home’s ductwork. Instead of reading the temperature in a single location, as central thermostats do, each individual thermostat takes the temperature in its respective zone. The dampers then open and close according to the thermostat’s settings.

The ability to have separate temperature controls in different areas of your home gives you the ultimate control over how your HVAC system works. With a residential zoning system, for example, you can have the thermostat close the damper to a guestroom that you don’t regularly use until you have overnight visitors.

The number of zones that you set up in your home affects the zoning system’s setup, ductwork size and the overall comfort of your home. In two-zone systems, the zones are similar in size and the ductwork handles up to 70 percent of the air that the HVAC system produces (in cubic feet per minute). Similarly, in three-zone systems, the zones are approximately the same size and the ductwork handles up to 50 percent of the HVAC’s conditioned air.

When to Install an HVAC Residential Zoning System

Most homes with central heating and cooling systems benefit from residential zoning systems. Those that benefit the most include those with:

  • Multiple stories
  • High or vaulted ceilings
  • Several large windows
  • Living spaces in the attic, basement or above the garage
  • Sunrooms or lofts
  • Rooms that aren’t used often

Zoning systems aren’t appropriate for every home. Central HVAC systems in smaller homes with large open spaces, for example, may already have the optimal setup. You also may not need a zoning system if your home has an HVAC unit installed in different zones.

Residential Zoning Methods

Some HVAC contractors design zoning systems around HVAC system components, such as air conditioners, heat pumps or furnaces. Others design multi-zone ductless split systems that have a unit in one or more of the walls. The best type of zoning system depends on:

  • Your home’s construction
  • The current HVAC system’s design
  • Your home’s age (Is the home still under construction or already built?)
  • The size and design of existing ductwork
  • The ability to add more ductwork, if needed
  • Your budget

Benefits of Residential Zoning Systems

  • Increased comfort levels throughout a home
  • Reduced loads on an HVAC system
  • Less wear and tear on an HVAC system
  • Energy savings of up to 30 percent
  • Lower monthly power bills


If some sections of your home feel warmer than others or you wish you had greater control over the temperature settings in your home, call a licensed HVAC contractor. The technicians at AAA Heating and Cooling are happy to help you determine if residential zoning systems are a good fit for your home, as well as other helpful options.