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Does AC/Heat Zoning Save Money?

Do you close the vents in the rooms of your home to save money on utilities? This is a common practice by Tucson homeowners to control where heated and cooled air flows. Many people believe that closing vents saves on utility costs. Unfortunately, the practice of closing vents has many disadvantages and can actually cost you more money in the long run. You use more energy, and you risk damaging your AC/Heat unit. A better option is to have a zoning system installed by the AC/Heat experts at Rite Way Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing. The system separates your home into zones that have individual temperature controls.

Why You Shouldn’t Close Vents

Closing the vents in some rooms of your home does prevent heated and cooled air from being delivered into those areas, but there are many disadvantages, some of which can be costly in both energy use and potential repairs to your heating and cooling system. Closing vents does not stop airflow. The air continues to move through the ducts to the rooms with closed vents. When the air reaches a closed vent, the pressure inside the ducts increases, and this may cause damage to the walls of the ductwork. As the system runs for a period of time, the pressure increase extends back to the AC/Heat equipment, and your system works harder. This causes wear and tear on the components and damage to the parts.

What Is AC/Heat Zoning?

If you want to control where heated and cooled air flows in your Tucson home, a zoning system is a more reliable and effective option. AC/Heat zoning involves installing dampers in the ducts and separate thermostats for each zone. When you adjust the thermostat in a room, the dampers open and close to control the flow of heated and cooled air.

At Rite Way Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing, we recommend AC/Heat zoning systems for Tucson homes with:

  • Different levels of sunlight that warms the air naturally in some parts of the home
  • Parts of the home that are not used on a regular basis, such as guest rooms
  • Family members that prefer different temperatures in parts of the home

Installing the AC/Heat Zoning System

Having Rite Way Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing install your new AC/Heat zoning system ensures that the job is done professionally and efficiently. First, we come to your home to evaluate how to best define the individual zones. You may benefit from two or more zones depending on the size of your home and how you use each space. Second, we install the dampers inside the ductwork that control airflow. You can choose dampers that open and close completely as well as dampers that can open partially. Third, we mount thermostats within each zone, or we can install a single control panel in a central location within your home. You may also want to consider a system that can be controlled via Wi-Fi on your smart device.

Is a Zone System Right for Every Home?

Although AC/Heat zoning can save a significant amount on energy costs, it may not be ideal for every home. Smaller homes in Tucson typically do not have the square footage that is needed to maximize the return on investment. We typically recommend other cost-savings measures, such as programmable thermostats. Also, your current AC/Heat equipment needs to have adequate capacity to run the zone system. If your equipment does not have the right capacity, we will help you find other options to reduce energy consumption and stay comfortable in every season.

Using AC/Heat Zoning in Your Home

Operating AC/Heat zoning in your Tucson home is similar to using heating and cooling equipment without zoning. You will have a thermostat in each zone where you can adjust the temperature in that area. All you need to do is set the desired temperature, and the dampers of the zoning system takes care of the rest. Beyond the simplicity of using the system, you will also save money with the AC/Heat zoning design. Here are four ways you can save money.

1. Extends Lifetime of AC/Heat Equipment

The extra workload that is placed on your heating and cooling system by closing the vents can shorten the lifetime of the equipment. Parts and components are designed to last for a specific amount of time under ideal operating conditions. When you maximize or exceed the workload on the equipment, you can expect to replace the system before it reaches the lifetime that is defined by the manufacturer. With a zoning system, you are taking steps to ensure that your AC/Heat system lasts as long as possible.

2. Prevents Repairs

Putting high workloads on your heating and cooling system by closing vents results in damage to small parts and components, so you will need to have repairs performed more than necessary. A zoning system for your AC/Heat system manages the workload on your equipment so the parts last longer and fewer repairs are needed.

3. Protects Warranty Coverage

If your heating and cooling equipment is still under warranty, you want to take steps to ensure that warranty coverage is available when you need it. Some manufacturers view the practice of closing vents as voiding that coverage because it causes an undue workload on your system. Installing a zoning system demonstrates to the manufacturer that you are taking steps to protect the equipment, and coverage is much more likely should the equipment fail.

4. Reduces Energy Utilization

When you close vents, your AC/Heat system works harder to heat and cool your Tucson home, and this results in higher energy utilization. Zoning systems are designed to maximize energy efficiency. The combination of individual thermostats and dampers in the ductwork minimizes energy use.

Seeing a Return on Your Investment

Many homeowners who are looking into a zoning system from Rite Way Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing want to know how soon they will see a return on investment. If you use your AC/Heat zone system with energy savings in mind, you can expect to see a reduction in cost within a few months. On average, AC/Heat zoning saves Tucson homeowners 20% to 40% on their energy bills.

Other Ways to Save Money on Utility Costs

After installing a zone system in your Tucson home, there are other ways that you can save money on utility costs.

  • Install programmable thermostats
  • Keep constant temperature settings during the day and night
  • Schedule routine maintenance with Rite Way Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing in the spring and fall
  • Seal doors and windows with caulk and weather stripping
  • Replace older and single-stage units with energy-efficient two-stage units
  • Have repairs done right away when you detect a problem

Learn More About AC/Heat Zone Systems

Rite Way Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing offers residential AC/Heat services in Tucson and the surrounding areas, including installation, repairs, and maintenance. If you would like to learn more about our AC/Heat zoning systems, give us a call. Be sure to ask about our other services, such as indoor air quality, residential water quality, plumbing repairs, hot water heaters, and sewer services.