How Old is Your Home?
In theory, even antique homes can benefit from a zone heating and cooling system. However, though there isn’t an age limit for zoned HVAC systems, an older home may require a more complex and therefore more expensive installation.
Zoned HVAC systems typically use forced-air heating and cooling, and that requires ductwork in walls, floors, and ceilings. Older homes that don’t have an existing duct system typically require a complex retrofitting process just to get that duct system in place. This can make the overall zoned HVAC installation job much more expensive than it would have been if you’d already had a duct system in place. However, many homeowners with vintage homes feel the cost is worth it for the comfort a modern HVAC system provides. It’s also a good investment in the home’s resale value, which may be worth considering as part of your overall budget.
Does Your Home Have Multiple Floors?
In general, multi-zone heating and cooling systems are most sensible for multi-story houses. It’s simple logic: heat rises, and the top level of a multi-story home is likely to be the warmest. That means that a thermostat on the ground level won’t be sensitive to changing temperatures upstairs. An AC system set to turn on when the temperature hits 75 degrees may stay off all day while the ground floor remains cool. Meanwhile, the top floor of the house is a sweltering 92 degrees by noon and rising. It’s easy to see why HVAC professionals often recommend treating each floor as its own zone.
But a Mitsubishi ductless zoned systems can make sense in a single-story home, too. If you have one south-facing room with massive picture windows and insufficient insulation at one end of your ranch house and a dark, cold zone room that enjoys shade and breeze from trees at the other, it makes sense to treat those two different parts of the house as their own zones.
Is Everyone In Your Home Comfortable?
A two-zone cooling system that covers the first and second floor of the standard two-story house may not be sufficient for everyone’s needs. Some homeowners decide to take their zoning efforts a step further and create discrete zones for each room in their home.
In theory, providing discrete temperature control in each room allows for more individualized comfort. However, this kind of multi-zone HVAC arrangement is quite expensive both to install and to operate, so it may not be the cure-all it seems to be at face value. However, when installed properly by a knowledgeable HVAC professional, room by room zoning can be immensely comfortable. However, it pays to make sure you actually need this kind of system before you make your final decision.
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Does Your Current System Work?
Experts tend to agree that a multi-zone system is not necessarily a magic bullet for home heating and cooling issues. In fact, some multi-zone systems are extremely inefficient, and your current system may actually be just right (or even too powerful) for your home. Before you splash out big bucks for a high-tech multi-zone HVAC system, make sure your home’s insulation and duct system is at its best. Poor insulation and duct leakage are major factors in inconsistent temperatures and inefficient HVAC operations. Fixing those issues could eliminate major temperature fluctuations from room to room, making a multi-zone system unnecessary for your home.