Everything You Need to Know About Multi-Zone HVAC Systems

For most people, their home’s HVAC system heats and cools the entire home whenever it is running. Sure, you can close vents in unused rooms to redirect some of the flow, but there is a lot of energy being wasted heating and cooling them. A different type of home heating and cooling system called Multi-Zone HVAC is a great alternative, saving you money and reducing your energy consumption. Here is everything you need to know about how multi-zone HVAC systems work:


What is a Multi-Zone System?

Instead of your home comfort system heating and cooling the entire house every time it comes on, a multi-zone HVAC system lets you control the individual temperature of each room. This enables you to choose which rooms are comfortable all the time, while only heating or cooling seldomly used spaces when needed.


How Does a Multi-Zone System Work?

A multi-zone HVAC system divides your home into different temperature areas, each controlled by its own thermostat. These systems can precisely control the temperature in as few as two zones and as many as six or seven! You can designate each floor a separate zone, or even individual rooms. An HVAC professional can help you to determine how many zones you need.


Why Use a Multi-Zone System?

Ideal for ducted homes new or old, as well as those using mini-split systems for their heating and cooling needs, multi zone HVAC systems are a great idea for a variety of reasons. If your home has areas that are difficult to heat or cool, a multi-zone system can give those areas extra attention without overheating or overcooling the rest of the house. They’re also a smart way to please members of your household who prefer a cooler or warmer temperature, by creating separate temperature zones in your home, each with a separate thermostat. For those who want to waste less energy and reduce energy bills, a multi-zone system will allow you to focus on regulating the temperature of your most commonly used rooms, rather than heating and/or cooling the entire house.


How Will a Multi Zone System Save on Energy Consumption?

Installing a multi-zone system for your home means you’ll no longer need to pay to heat or cool rooms you’re not using. Zoned systems offer precise temperature control, saving you money year after year. With the ability to set the temperature in unused rooms to warmer temperatures during the summer and cooler temperatures in the winter, your system can work more efficiently, lowering your energy consumption and related expenses. Energy efficiencies are gained in a zoned system by reducing the HVAC system’s output. It has been said that a zoned system can save as much as 30% in heating and cooling bills.


Where Would I Want to Use a Multi-Zone System?

You can use a multi-zone system in specific areas of your home, or use it to heat and/or cool the entire place. Perhaps you have renovated and have additional living space or an in-law suite without ductwork. Maybe your home is too large for your needs, and you rarely enter guestrooms. Do you find it difficult to cool upper floors or heat that room over the garage? A multi-zone system can help in any of these situations, or in homes with multiple stories, finished attics or basements, extra wings, or in places with exceptionally high ceilings.


Single Zone vs. Multi-Zone

Each type of system offers a variety of benefits. Single zone air systems are a simple solution and energy-efficient models are available. Because these systems require less equipment, you’ll enjoy fewer repairs and less maintenance. A single split system will reduce your carbon footprint through low energy bills and less equipment being manufactured.

On the other hand, once a multi-zone system is installed, your operating costs are generally lower because fewer areas are being heated or cooled. You’ll enjoy complete control over the heating and cooling of your home through remote central management, or an individual control panel in each room. For large homes that would otherwise use multiple single split systems, a multi-zone system requires fewer outdoor units.


Multi-zone systems will improve both your home comfort and your energy savings and can be installed in most homes. In general, they are less expensive when installed in a new home under construction, but they can be integrated into an existing home by an HVAC professional without much trouble. If it’s time to replace your home’s HVAC system, it’s worth asking about a ductless multi-zone option.