Save Money by “Zoning” Your Heating and Air Conditioning System
From time to time, homeowners contact us to help address areas inside their home that never seem to get warm enough in winter or cool enough during the summer. Often our technicians will notice simple remedies – such as adjusting dampers in basement ductwork that may have been accidentally closed or recommending a change to furniture placement that may be blocking return air vents back to the furnace.
Recently a homeowner experiencing issues with hot and cold spots in their home followed advice from a self-proclaimed “expert” who’d recommended adding insulation to the home and upgrading to modern, energy-efficient doors and windows. After these measures failed to solve their temperature issues (despite considerable expense), they’d turned to an HVAC company for advice. That company recommended installing a separate heating and air conditioning system for the second floor. The existing system would continue to operate to only handle the heating and cooling of the first floor and basement. The solution’s price tag: Over $8,000. The homeowner then contacted VENT Heating and Cooling to provide a quote for a second system for comparison.
VENT did not provide a quote for a second furnace and air conditioning system. You might ask “Why?” The short answer is simple: It wasn’t the right thing to do.
When our representative visited with the homeowner, he was able to perform a complete analysis of the home’s heating and cooling demands, factoring in square footage of each floor, the age and construction type of walls and ceilings, existing furnace input and output BTUs for heating, cooling capacity of the furnace’s blower motor and A/C condenser, and other factors affecting comfort. It was apparent that the 100,000 BTU furnace and the 4-Ton air conditioner condenser were appropriately sized for the home. But as is the case with many 2-story colonial homes, the thermostat that controls the temperature for the entire home was located on the first floor. If the downstairs was too cool during a winter cold snap, the homeowner would boost the thermostat temperature until the first floor got warm enough. At that point, second floor bedrooms sometimes were so warm the homeowner would have to open windows to cool down. During the summer, a thermostat setting of say 68 degrees was enough to maintain comfort on the first floor, but again second floor bedrooms never really got cool with temperatures that were 10-12 degrees warmer than the first floor. Lowering the thermostat low enough to get the second floor cool would have anyone on the first floor reaching for sweaters and blankets in the middle of summer!
VENT Heating and Cooling’s Solution: Install an electronically controlled, dual-zone control system as an enhancement to the homeowner’s existing HVAC system. With a dual-zone system, downstairs and upstairs environments are separately controlled by separate thermostats for “Zone #1” and “Zone #2”. Each thermostat sends signals to the damper control module to automatically open and close dampers within the ductwork. Thus “Zone 1” and “Zone 2” temperatures can be maintained at comfortable levels without adversely affecting occupants of the other zones. This solution saved the homeowners THOUSANDS of dollars by not having to invest in a whole new HVAC system, and even more money in ongoing annual system maintenance (one system instead of two). The homeowners could not have been more pleased, judging from the feedback we received: “Karl, thank you for solving the comfort issues at our Cleveland home! For years my husband and I have quarreled over the thermostat settings as neither of us could get comfortable if we were in different parts of the house. The Zone Solution works perfectly – I think you’ve actually saved our marriage!”
For further explanation and honest answers, please reach out to VENT Heating & Cooling, LLC, based in Fairview Park and serving all northeastern Ohio. Visit us at: www.venthvac.com or call 440-785-2629
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