Florida residents know all too well the importance of air conditioning, especially in our hot summer months. However, air conditioners running constantly to remove humidity from the air and cool your home can easily become a costly endeavor. This is why zoned residential air conditioning in the Tampa Bay area may be a cost- and energy-saving measure worth consideration.
What is a zoned Air Conditioning and Heating System?
Zoned air conditioning is a way to independently control the comfort level of more than two rooms – or zones – in your home. By applying a damper system to the ductwork in a home under construction, or by retrofitting existing HVAC systems, it is possible to achieve and maintain different temperatures in different rooms using multiple thermostats or a modular control you can set with your Smartphone or tablet.
How Does a Zoned HVAC work?
Dampers in ductwork serve to regulate the amount of cool or warm air that blows into different rooms, or zones, in the home. The dampers are designed to open and close partially or fully to regulate the air circulating into different zones, thanks to an installed modular device or thermostats.
Benefits of a Zoned Air Conditioning System
The primary benefits of a zoned air conditioning system in the Tampa Bay area are reduced costs and improved efficiency. However, one could argue that having the perfect comfort level in each room or zone of the home is the main advantage. All of the above are true benefits of a zoned A/C system, and even though it can be a costly investment, it truly pays for itself over time.
“When done properly, zoning typically reduces energy use by 20% to 40%. The average for most homes is 30%. The more extreme your climate’s temperatures are, the sooner a zoned system will pay for itself and start really saving you money every month,” according to PickHVAC Cooling and Heating Guide.
Additionally, being able to reduce or eliminate the airflow to unused rooms, not only saves energy, but it improves the longevity of the air conditioner system because it will be working smarter, not harder.
Pitfalls of a Zoned Air Conditioning System
The expense is the primary disadvantage of zoned air conditioning because it can be several thousand dollars to install in an existing HVAC system. However, as previously discussed, it will usually pay for itself over a bit of time, so this is an obstacle relatively easy to overcome.
Another pitfall can be a poorly-designed zoned air conditioning system. This can significantly decrease energy efficiency and negatively impact energy costs.
For example, single-stage systems should not be zoned because they operate at 100% capacity to circulate cooled air throughout the entire home. If a blower is running at full capacity and areas are shut-off, it is impossible to reduce energy consumption because the air has to go somewhere. It can’t get through the closed dampers, so it blows more air into open areas. This can lead to temperature fluctuations and cause mechanical failures since the air handler must work harder, not smarter.
There are several reasons why bypass ducts and dampers should not be used in a single-stage system:
There are no energy savings
Cold air forced into the air handler will cause the coil to freeze, so it will hinder efficiency and cause airflow to be blocked
Certain bypass damper designs waste cool or warm air that get trapped
Bypass dampers accumulate humidity that leads to mold
Importance of the Design of a Zoned HVAC System
PickHVAC suggests that a good design for a zoned air conditioning system begins with a two-stage or variable-capacity HVAC system. These promote energy savings by reducing the air conditioning system’s output.
“Systems with two stages run at 65% capacity on low and 100% capacity on high. Therefore, consider what happens if you reduce the demand for heating or cooling in various zones by one-third so that your home will need about two-thirds (66.7%) of the system’s capacity. That’s close to 65%. The system will run on low stage most of the time, effectively reducing energy use and cost by about a third,” PickHVAC says.
The expense of Zoned Air Conditioning Systems
It is much less expensive to add a zoned two-stage system during the new construction of a home than in an existing residence, and do-it-yourself is not recommended. A highly-skilled professional service technician from Proficient Air is knowledgeable about zoned air conditioning systems in the Tampa Bay area, and how best to design for maximum efficiency. They will analyze the duct system, airflow capacity, and the type of dampers that will best work for your unit.
Prices vary, depending upon the size of the residence and the number of zones that are required.
Should You Consider a Zoned Air Conditioning System for Your Home?
If you are building a new home in the Tampa Bay area, a zoned air conditioning system may be your best bet, because it is much less expensive than investing in two air conditioning units.
If your home’s air conditioner is not sufficiently providing the comfort levels you desire, it would be wise to contact Proficient Air for a maintenance check, at which time you can obtain an estimate for the appropriate zoning equipment that can be installed in your A/C unit.
By scheduling regular maintenance for your A/C system, a service technician will carefully examine your air system to find contributing factors that will impact its efficiency, like dirty air filters; coils; and ductwork.
If your home’s air conditioner is providing the comfort levels you desire, you may not need to add a second HVAC system. Contact a Proficient Air professional service tech about adding the right zoning equipment to your current system.
If you have questions, or you are interested in more information about zoned air conditioning for your home, the pros at Proficient Air Palm Harbor can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and FREE ESTIMATE for expert guidance in determining appropriate zones and the best type of air conditioning system to suit your needs.
Protect your HVAC investment and keep your business, home, and family cool, comfortable, and energy-efficient all summer long, with Proficient Air. Call us today: 727.386.2732