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How Does a Zoning System Work to Manage Temperature Control?

Because most homes have more than one temperature preference under one roof, zoning systems offer comfort and flexibility that a single-thermostat HVAC system never can.

Imagine a plumbing system where you turned on the cold water kitchen faucet and all outlets elsewhere ran cold, too. Someone taking a shower upstairs might be displeased. A standard HVAC system is like that: One centrally-located thermostat controls comfort in every room. This arrangement doesn’t allow for individual temperature preferences, nor does it accommodate for the fact that upper-level rooms are almost always warmer because hot air rises. Meanwhile, ground floor rooms set away from the central area of the house tend to be chronically colder.

Zoning systems divide your single central heating and cooling system into two or more independent temperature zones, without the need to buy a separate furnace and A/C. Read on to learn more about how these systems work.

Zoning System Basics

  • Existing ductwork in the home is subdivided into independent zones by the installation of electrically operated dampers that open and shut to admit or limit heated or cooled air to each zone.
  • A central controller linked to the furnace or A/C accepts inputs from individual thermostats and opens or closes the dampers to the appropriate zone to maintain thermostat settings.
  • In a typical two-zone system, the lower and upper floors are independent temperature zones (known as A and B in this example) controlled by dedicated thermostats. The default damper setting in each zone is fully open. When the thermostat in zone A signals for heat, the dampers to zone B close, and warm air from the furnace flows only into zone A. If the thermostat in zone B subsequently signals for heat too, the dampers to zone B also open.
  • As the thermostat setting in each zone is independently achieved, the controller closes dampers to that zone. When both zones have reached the desired thermostat setting, the controller cycles the furnace off, and all dampers return to the default open position. Distribution of cool air from the air conditioner is zoned the same way.

Learn more about the zoning systems available through Axberg by clicking here or contact us today at (815) 444-0979.

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