We’re all looking for ways to conserve energy and save on our utility bills. If you’re building a new home or replacing your HVAC system, zoned and multi-stage HVAC systems offer great opportunities to improve both efficiency and comfort.
The vast majority of homes currently use a single-stage HVAC system. When this system is running, it runs only at full capacity, which is not always efficient. While this system should theoretically keep the entire home the same temperature, which itself isn’t always ideal, it can actually create hot and cold spots as some rooms hit the set temperature before the air has a chance to circulate and evenly distribute throughout every room.
Both zoned and multi-stage systems offer a more efficient way to heat or cool your home while eliminating the hot and cold spots.
A multi-stage system uses adjustable heating and cooling levels along with fans that run at variable speeds to provide maximum efficiency and consistency. The system will use the lowest level necessary to maintain the temperature you’ve selected while the variable speed fans will allow the air to be distributed more evenly. It will only use the highest settings on extremely hot or cold days. Running at a lower capacity for longer periods of time offers more precise temperature control and saves energy by reducing how often the system needs to turn on and off. While multi-stage systems cost more upfront than a single-stage system, the energy saved allows you to recoup those costs in as little as 2 years.
A zoned HVAC system is a good solution for homes that have rooms that are always hotter or colder than the rest of the house or if you have rooms that rarely get used, such as a guest room. In a zoned system, your home is divided into multiple zones that can be heated or cooled separately using dampers in the ductwork that guide air to each zone. Multiple thermostats are wired to a central control panel that operates the dampers in the ductwork, opening and shutting them as needed to maintain a consistent temperature in each zone. With this system, you can set a different temperature for each zone. A zoned system helps you conserve energy and can save you as much as 30 percent on your utility bills by heating or cooling only those areas that need it.