It is easy to underestimate the amount of energy that is wasted when a large two story home depends on one hvac system. One system is more difficult to adjust for the living habits of the occupants of the home. For example, If the family is used to watching tv in a living room or den downstairs then there is no way to dial back the air conditioning upstairs when it is uninhabited. Alternatively if the family is sleeping upstairs, they may not need to heat or cool the downstairs. Zoning or having multiple systems installed is one way to solve this problem. A lot of the time the ductwork is split right at the air handler, sending part of the air upstairs through a chase and the rest down through the slab where it is split up between the rooms.
Your mechanical contractor may be able to install another furnace in this area to take care of heating and cooling the upstairs. If so, your contractor can reduce the size of the system taking care of the downstairs creating a much more efficient system.
This procedure allows for much more flexibility and efficiency in the system. Couple this with programmable thermostats and you can experience even greater energy savings. Also, if the equipment you purchase to zone your home is super high effeciency, you may be able to heat and cool your home to your heart’s desire without breaking your bank account.
For small specific areas of the house where you would like a little extra heating and cooling, you can have a ductless mini-split system installed. The air handler portion of the ductless mini split system hangs on the wall and takes care of the whole room, much in the way that a hotel system or window unit does. The difference is you don’t have to take up window space or have a hole in the wall. This allows you to target one area such as a game room or a bedroom. This can be extremely helpful if the temperatures outside are extreme and you don’t want to heat or cool the whole house. You can “hide away” and be cool or cozy in a single room while saving energy by dialing down the hvac output in the rest of the house.
Zoning is a great way to increase the efficiency of your hvac system and the longer you have your system zoned, the bigger the payoffs will be.
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