WHAT IS SMART ZONING?
Smart zoning comprises an HVAC system with thermostats in every room, heating and cooling units fully supplemented with ductwork and vents. Its purpose is to individually regulate the temperature of every room in your home efficiently to keep you comfortable while saving energy. Through smart zoning, cooling and heating functions can also be turned on or off in each zone.
SMART ZONING VS. TRADITIONAL ZONING
The alternative to smart zoning is traditional zoning which requires a large common area such as the living room where all the heating and cooling takes place. Heated and cooled air is then directed to other rooms through ducts and vents. The result is a lot of waste in energy by heating and cooling sections of your house that may not be in use.
HOW SMART ZONING WORKS TO CONTROL THE TEMPERATURE IN EACH ROOM
Smart zoning works primarily with smart thermostats and motorised dampers and vents. The smart thermostats communicate with the controls to initiate different HEATING AND COOLING functions specific for each room. The motorised dampers regulate air movement through the vents or cut off the air conditioning to an unused room. The central feature is the main control that configures all operations of the smart zoning in a mobile device that you can access from anywhere in your house.
Designing smart zones is a balance between the cost of equipment needed and the number of rooms available. For residential installation, you will likely need at least 2 to 4 smart zones. On the other hand, commercial spaces will require multiple smart zones to cater to the wide use of space.
THE EFFICIENCY OF SMART ZONING
A well-designed smart zone can reduce your energy bill by as much as 30%. It can also extend the life of your HVAC equipment. In smart zoned systems, the equipment is put to optimal use when the need arises, and their functionality is reduced to a minimum when there are few or zero occupants in the house. This reduces the wear and tear associated with prolonged and constant use of the machines.
Heating pumps and air conditioners are installed at strategic locations in every room to provide HEATING AND COOLING SERVICES, respectively.
BENEFITS OF SMART ZONING
Temperatures vary a lot from room to room, depending on their elevation and the amount of time they receive direct sunlight. Rooms on the upper floors may be cooler than rooms on the lower floors because they receive a hefty amount of fresh air. Rooms at the periphery of the house are always warmer than those at the center because they are open to the heated air from the sun that gets in through the windows.
Smart zoning ensures that this temperature difference is harmonised. It provides the following benefits;
- Consistency in your heating and cooling
- You can adjust temperatures in your home to suit your individual preferences
- You get to save on energy costs, especially by setting null controls to less-used rooms
- Smart zoned systems are easy and convenient to use through centralised remote controls such as smartphone apps
- Software enhancements happen automatically in smart zones. The gadgets learn your habits by collecting user data and adjust according to your preferences. Therefore, the functional effectiveness of the system improves with use
ADDING SMART ZONES TO AN EXISTING SYSTEM
You can upgrade from a traditional zone system to a smart zone system through retrofitting. It would require that you make additional ductwork and install thermostats and dampers at the endpoints of the vents. Smart zones are great for larger homes with a significant temperate variation from one room to another. If you are constructing a new home, consider installing smart zoning from the start to save future upgrading costs.
First, you will install dampers inside your ducts. This will, however, increase the pressure due to restricted airflow inside the ductwork. Secondly, you will install bypass ducts to redirect the excess air produced by the HVAC equipment. The excess air will be redirected to other rooms to create zones. The bypass ducts will also siphon air from the main supply in addition to redirecting excess air. Airflow is therefore harmonized at all times.
You do not need to install the bypass ducts if it will prove challenging due to the plan of your house. As an alternative, you can install a variable speed blower and variable speed outdoor units along the existing ductwork to efficiently regulate air flow.
Variable speed systems match the cooling and heating loads for every zone. This ensures that there is no build-up of excessive static pressure in your ductwork. Using variable speed equipment is the most recommended way of optimising smart zones. They provide a longer and more consistent regulation and better dehumidification.
The last stage is installing smart thermostats in every room and configuring their functions to your central control. The thermostats would work in conjunction with your existing heating and cooling equipment, sending instructions to increase or reduce temperatures of every room independently.
You should match up the capacity of your heat pumps and cooling equipment according to the size of the room. The smallest room should only use about 30 to 35 % of your equipment’s capacity leaving the rest to respond to cooling and heating loads from other zones.
RUNNING COSTS AND EFFICIENCY.
The cost of installing and traditional zoning systems, including labor, is a minimum of $3000 to a maximum of $8000 in residential space. The installation costs for traditional zoning are higher than the smart zones. This is because traditional zones require large and expensive equipment to pump air throughout and extensive ductwork. Smart zones rely on smart gadgets that allow for the efficient use of any type of equipment available.
The installation costs for traditional zoning are higher than the smart zones. This is because traditional zones require large and expensive equipment to pump air throughout and extensive ductwork. Smart zones rely on smart gadgets that allow for the efficient use of any type of equipment available. Smart zoning costs relatively less to install in most households
We offer full smart zoning system services for your home and business in Canberra. Speak to us regarding this service.
Call us on 1300 786 753 or via our contact us page.
*Please note that we sub-contract to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning