Central HVAC systems are designed to heat entire homes uniformly. When these systems are working efficiently, every room should have approximately the same temperature. If there are areas of your home in Sacramento, CA that are significantly hotter or colder than others, HVAC zoning may be the best solution. However, before paying to have your home zoned, it’s important to understand the underlying causes of this issue. If hot or cold spots aren’t addressed first, this problem may continue after zoning is complete.

Old or Insufficient HVAC Air Ducts

New and more efficient heating and cooling equipment isn’t always compatible with old, outdated HVAC air ducts. Older homes might not have enough ducting for supporting modern HVAC systems. Older ductwork can also have cracks, tears, or other leaks that allow conditioned air to escape. If this is the case, heated or cooled air is being deposited behind the drywall in your home before it has the chance to reach the areas that actually need it.

Taking care of ductwork issues before having an HVAC system zoned is important. If air cannot move freely through duct systems or if it’s being lost before delivery, zoning won’t have any significant impact on overall home comfort, and it won’t lower your energy bills.

The Layout of Your Home

Even the overall design of a home can contribute to the formation of hot and cold spots. Certain areas of your house may not have direct service from the HVAC system. This is often the case for remote rooms and home additions. If you purchased existing construction that includes an attached home addition, you may notice that this space is always hotter or colder than everywhere else. Dividing up your current HVAC system into zones won’t greatly affect indoor temperature in remote or unserviced areas. The best way to ensure direct heating and cooling services to rooms like these is to have a ductless mini-split heat pump installed. Mini-split heat pumps can provide both cooled and heated air to remote rooms and other unserviced or under-serviced areas throughout the building.

You Don’t Have the Right Heater or Air Conditioner Size

Improperly sized heating and cooling equipment causes hot and cold spots and a host of other problems. HVAC zoning cannot effectively mitigate the drawbacks of improperly sized HVAC systems.

When units are too large or too small for the properties they’re meant to service, homeowners deal with problems like the following:

  • Inefficiency
  • Accelerated wear
  • Frequent repair issues
  • Diminished home comfort
  • Rising energy bills

Incorrect heater and air conditioner sizes can also cause HVAC equipment to break down completely before its time. To get the best results from a zoned central heating and cooling system, it’s important to have the correctly sized equipment installed.

There Are Airflow Obstructions

Obstructed air vents and other blockages throughout your HVAC system must be cleared for your equipment to work efficiently. This remains true whether your current heating and cooling system is zoned for custom comfort or designed to create a uniform temperature throughout the entire house. It may be that you have furnishings blocking air vents or grilles, or you may have accidentally left one or more air vents closed. Full vent closure places a tremendous amount of strain on HVAC systems. Checking to make sure that all vents are opened, free of debris, and not impeded by furnishings is important. You should also regularly check and change your HVAC air filter. If this component has large accumulations of dust, lint, dirt, or other collected debris, it will prevent air from flowing through your system and reaching each room.

Priming Your System Ahead of Zoning

Zoned HVAC systems create regular opportunities to save energy. With HVAC zoning, the ductwork for your central heating and cooling systems is divided into individual service areas through the installation of HVAC dampers. Each service area has its own thermostat, and each damper is controlled by intelligent temperature sensors. This configuration allows homeowners to selectively heat rooms or cool them down as needed. This means that you don’t have to pay for HVAC service for the entire building if there are areas that aren’t being used.

HVAC zoning also allows for customized comfort. In most households, residents have dramatically different preferences for indoor temperatures. With zoning, you can heat rooms where additional warmth is needed, and keep heated air from entering spaces where it isn’t wanted. However, when hot and cold spots already exist throughout the home, it’s vital to start by first identifying and addressing the source of this issue. That way, air loss or airflow obstructions won’t impede service in select zones.

How Zoning Can Help With Hot and Cold Spots

When there are no airflow obstructions and no air leaks throughout HVAC systems, and when air conditioners and heaters are properly sized for homes, adding zoning is a great way to limit energy costs and reduce carbon footprints. The ability to only cool or heat spaces where conditioned air is actually needed or wanted prevents energy waste. However, in certain instances, HVAC zoning can also be an effective solution for hot and cold spots. This is typically the case when there are areas of the home that are under-serviced by HVAC systems or spaces where air loss is simply unpreventable. For instance, there may be certain rooms in your home that get far more natural light than other areas. If your front room has large bay windows that are bathed in sunlight throughout the afternoon, zoning can help offset solar heat gains. Zoning can also eliminate hot spots in rooms that are filled with essential, heat-generating appliances.

If you have a drafty kitchen or hallway due to the opening and closing of doors leading to your basement or outside, you can have your HVAC system zoned to keep these spaces consistently warm. When there are areas like these throughout the home, zoning makes it easier for HVAC systems to keep up with the unique demands of different service areas. Without zoning, heating and cooling systems constantly struggle to create uniformity in indoor temperatures, and they wind up working a lot harder than they have to. Zoning works best for resolving hot and cold spots like these when HVAC companies acknowledge them during the installation process. With a careful study of the entire building layout, HVAC technicians can create zones throughout the building that perfectly reflect the needs and nuances of the indoor environment.

Is HVAC Zoning a Good Choice for Your Home?

If you’re looking for an easy way to make your central heating and cooling equipment more efficient, zoning will allow you to do so without having to forgo consistent indoor comfort. Zoning also works well in instances where areas of the home regularly experience air loss or heat gain in ways that cannot be easily corrected. When hot or cold spots are largely unavoidable, zoning can help minimize or eliminate them.

At Huft Home Services, we’re committed to helping residents of Sacramento and the surrounding areas make informed decisions about their home heating and cooling systems. We provide HVAC installation, maintenance, and repairs. We additionally offer electrical services, plumbing services, and insulation. If you need help dealing with hot and cold spots in your home, give us a call today.

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