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How to determine zones in the home for effective ducted air conditioning

Aug 6, 2020
ducted zoning

Air conditioners run best when the system is designed and installed correctly, ensuring the right balance of airflow throughout the home. Ducted air conditioning is a complete solution that ensures the entire home, or specific rooms with zone control, will be comfortable at any time of day or night.

Ducted air conditioning allows for the home to be divided into separate areas, or ‘zones’. Zoning will allow you to have greater control over the airflow around the home and provides flexibility to use your system to suit your living arrangements and lifestyle. Depending on the air conditioning system, you can select which zones are on or off, or with advanced controllers select different temperatures for specific zones at the same time. This can improve energy efficiency and deliver superior comfort.

Consider the following factors to help determine the best way to divide the house into zones.

Evaluate the home design. The home design is the most crucial element to examine when determining zones. Look for parts of the home that might have significantly higher or lower loads than other parts. Hot air rises, so if you have a multi-story home, separate zones should be used for separate floors. Rooms with lots of windows or large doorways will also likely need separate zones.

Consider room use. Rooms that are used for different functions or at different times of the day should be zoned separately. Bedrooms and living areas should be separate zones, as bedrooms are used mostly in the morning and night, whereas living areas are used during the day and evening. Typically, most homes will have separate zones for the master suite, other regularly used bedrooms, and the living areas.

Determine natural heating and cooling. It is important to factor in the outdoor temperature or sunlight that penetrates a room or zone through windows or skylights. Basements and subterranean rooms are insulated and tend to be much cooler, whereas attics are much hotter. Ensure that sun-facing rooms and shaded ones are separated into different zones, since rooms that face the sun absorb more heat.

Multiple rooms in a zone. It is common for a zone to contain more than one room, for example a living area may include a kitchen and dining area. However, only do so if there is open connection or doorways between the rooms. The more open the rooms are to other rooms within a zone, the more resilient the zone will be to imbalances in heating and cooling loads.

Create a constant zone. The constant zone is an area that is always supplied air while the system is running. Having a constant zone provides somewhere consistent for the air conditioner to operate and ensure all zones are not closed at once, allowing your installer to correctly balance the unit. The main living area is commonly used as the constant zone as it is occupied the most throughout the day.

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