Zone in on the Benefits of Zoning Systems for Your Facility
Commercial heating and cooling equipment creates powerful, effective systems for maintaining indoor comfort. The reality of many commercial sites, however, is that some areas within the building may require different levels of heating or cooling, while others may need none at all. A single air conditioner, heat pump, furnace, or boiler probably won’t be able to provide a variable level of conditioning, which means that it’s likely that the facility will waste energy and money providing too much or too little heating and cooling for particular spaces. If your commercial facility has variable needs that a standard HVAC system can’t completely meet, a zoning system may be a better choice.
What is a Zoning System?
Zoning systems provide a way to divide the space inside your commercial facility into different areas, or zones, that receive variable amounts of heating and cooling, based on the specific needs of that area. Zones can be as small as a single room or as large as an entire floor of a multi-story building. By using a zoning system, you can heat or cool a zone to the level preferred by its occupants while not affecting the comfort level of the surrounding areas.
For example, if you have administrative offices attached to a large warehouse space, you can use a zoning system to direct more heating and cooling into the office area. The employees in the office will be able to get the comfort they need without wasting energy and money trying to keep the warehouse area at the same temperature.
How a Zoning System Works
A zoning system uses a series of motorized dampers to open or close the ductwork leading to particular zones. The temperature in each zone is controlled by a programmable thermostat dedicated to that specific zone. Adjustments made at the thermostat determine when the dampers in the duct system open or close, controlling the amount of heated or cooled air that is distributed within the zone.
A zoning system works in tandem with your existing HVAC system to ensure the proper level of heating or cooling within the various zones.
Considerations When Using a Zoning System
When properly installed and maintained, a zoning system will be highly effective at controlling temperatures within the various zones. Some considerations to keep in mind include:
- HVAC system sizing: The HVAC system in your commercial facility must be properly sized in general, but the concept of sizing is even more important when using zoned heating and cooling. Your HVAC system must have the functional capacity to provide the largest amount of heating or cooling required within your building’s zones. If a zoning system’s HVAC equipment is sized to accommodate only smaller zones, issues with inconsistent heating and cooling will remain.
- HVAC system ductwork: The ductwork in a zoning system must also be properly designed and of sufficient size to carry the correct amount of heated and cooled air. If the ductwork isn’t large enough to bring enough conditioned air into a zone, the temperature will remain inconsistent and you won’t get the full benefit of a zoning system.
- Thermostat placement: In multi-room zones, the programmable thermostat controlling the temperature in a particular zone should be installed inside the room that is used most often. This makes it more likely that the temperature within the entire zone is acceptable to all of the zone’s occupants.
- Preventive maintenance: The need for preventive maintenance on your HVAC system remains the same when using a zoning system. Additional maintenance will be required to ensure the damper system and the multiple thermostats continue to function properly throughout each zone.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on using a zoning system to more effectively heat or cool your commercial facility, or to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!
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