FAQ: What is a Zoning System?

When installing a new furnace or air conditioning system, a zoning system is a supplemental system that improves the efficiency and performance of your HVAC systems. Zoning systems split the home or building into multiple zones that can be heated or cooled independently of one another, providing better control over comfort and energy consumption throughout the structure.
 

How does a zoning system work?

In the typical home, one heating and cooling system is installed to work across the entire home. It is controlled by a single thermostat. When the thermostat is adjusted, it signals the furnace or air conditioner to operate, affecting temperatures across the entire home.

In most cases, temperatures throughout the home do not need to be adjusted – someone changes the thermostat’s settings because they are uncomfortable in one particular area. Since one system serves the entire home, the heating or cooling system will expend energy adjusting the temperatures throughout rather than in the desired area.

When zoning systems are in use, temperatures can be adjusted in a single area without affecting the rest of the home. Each zone has its own thermostat which communicates with the zoning system – a zoning panel and zone dampers installed within the ductwork that allow the heating or cooling unit to deliver conditioned air to only the zones where it is needed.
 

Benefits of zoning systems

Zoning systems give homeowners more control over comfort and energy consumption where their HVAC systems are concerned.

  • Temperatures in each zone are controlled independent from one another. No more wasting energy to heat or cool the entire home when a single room required a change. This saves energy and prevents uneven comfort throughout the home.
  • Comfort can be better controlled, accounting for differences in construction, exposure, and use throughout the home. Certain areas may be harder to keep comfortable due to more windows or sun exposure – a zoning system accommodates the special needs of these areas without disrupting comfort in others. A zoning system also allows unused zones to be “shut down”, so energy use is limited, preventing waste.
  • With improved energy efficiency and better comfort control, zoning systems limit the unnecessary work the heating and cooling equipment would have had to do to serve the entire home. This limits stress to the system, helping the units operate better and preventing breakdowns.