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Zoned HVAC

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  • #593584
    Nyx
    Pro
    Pittsburgh, PA

    (Started new thread from previous conversation)

    Zoned is definitely the way to go

    You can get modern smart thermostats to go with it, and have different rules in place. My living areas are warm in the day and cool (not cold) at night. The bedrooms are the opposite. No sense heating where I’m not. Downstairs warms up about an hour before my alarm goes off

    I also have motion sensors hooked up to the system, so it will keep any “occupied” space at the comfort temperature, regardless of time of day. This means I won’t freeze in the bedroom if Im in it.

    Finally, there is an away setting. If nobody is home at all, the house can ride a couple of degrees cooler. Not much, since I want it to warm quickly, but it adds up

    If I know I will be away for long enough to bother, I can also flip it to vacation mode, which keeps the house just warm enough that the pipes won’t freeze (if thats how you set it) and I can either schedule the warm up, or just remotely warm it using my phone over the internet. Last winter, we went away for a week. Was worth not paying much heating

    Our house is zoned into three sections. Zone1:top floor (bedrooms) Zone2:middle floor (main), and Zone3:basement (unfinished and acts as part of zone 2)

    Recently I’ve had the main floor drop from 68 to 64 over night, but with temps in the 20s and 30s recently, it’s taking nearly 4-6 hours for it to warm back up to 68 on those cold days. I’m still messing around with this a little to determine if it’s even worth keeping it at that temp at night if it takes so long to warm up. On the other hand, I’m trying to see if there is a reason why it takes so long for reasons such as leaks in the house where cold is coming in (stove top ventilation) or warm is going out (exterior doors, windows, etc).

    #593588

    (Started new thread from previous conversation)

    Zoned is definitely the way to go

    You can get modern smart thermostats to go with it, and have different rules in place. My living areas are warm in the day and cool (not cold) at night. The bedrooms are the opposite. No sense heating where I’m not. Downstairs warms up about an hour before my alarm goes off

    I also have motion sensors hooked up to the system, so it will keep any “occupied” space at the comfort temperature, regardless of time of day. This means I won’t freeze in the bedroom if Im in it.

    Finally, there is an away setting. If nobody is home at all, the house can ride a couple of degrees cooler. Not much, since I want it to warm quickly, but it adds up

    If I know I will be away for long enough to bother, I can also flip it to vacation mode, which keeps the house just warm enough that the pipes won’t freeze (if thats how you set it) and I can either schedule the warm up, or just remotely warm it using my phone over the internet. Last winter, we went away for a week. Was worth not paying much heating

    Our house is zoned into three sections. Zone1:top floor (bedrooms) Zone2:middle floor (main), and Zone3:basement (unfinished and acts as part of zone 2)

    Recently I’ve had the main floor drop from 68 to 64 over night, but with temps in the 20s and 30s recently, it’s taking nearly 4-6 hours for it to warm back up to 68 on those cold days. I’m still messing around with this a little to determine if it’s even worth keeping it at that temp at night if it takes so long to warm up. On the other hand, I’m trying to see if there is a reason why it takes so long for reasons such as leaks in the house where cold is coming in (stove top ventilation) or warm is going out (exterior doors, windows, etc).

    Thats pretty long, but it is still worth it, but only if youre running a smart thermostat that knows to start warming up 4-6 hours before your alarm goes off.

    How long does it take to cool? If that zone can start cooling down around dinner time to reach the overnight temp, while still being comfortable in the evening, you still get about 8 hours that you are spending less on heating

    Are you well-insulated? If you are, I would guess that your system is smaller but able to keep the house at temperature due to it all staying in. Wouldnt work for me, since my wife likes the windows cracked for fresh air. Im heating the outside, but my hydronic system is big and capable (its my power bill that takes the hit)

    #593590
    Nyx
    Pro
    Pittsburgh, PA

    How long does it take to cool? If that zone can start cooling down around dinner time to reach the overnight temp, while still being comfortable in the evening, you still get about 8 hours that you are spending less on heating

    Good point, I’ll look into tracking this and see how long it takes for that zone to cool and “back up” the time frame in which there is no active heating in that zone. of course today is probably not the best day as its going to reach 65 outside 🙂

    #593704
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    We set up all of our homes with a separate zone for each floor. it is really the best way to go. It allows for easier control of each floor and helps with efficiency. We have done both manual dampers and automatic dampers. In a two story i will only install the automatic. In a ranch, we install both.

    #593822
    Nyx
    Pro
    Pittsburgh, PA

    I have not noticed how this works so i am curious. We have auto dampers, and maybe it depends on the system, but will it only activate one floor at a time to heat\cool or will it do both if necessary?

    #593851

    I have not noticed how this works so i am curious. We have auto dampers, and maybe it depends on the system, but will it only activate one floor at a time to heat\cool or will it do both if necessary?

    Usually, the heating medium (air or water, depending on the system) is going through a common heating element at the boiler/furnace, so the dampers decide how much, if any of a given zone circulates to/from the furnace.

    In a water based hydronic system, that means that areas not being heated will have little to no water movement – it will sit in its zone, with a closed pipe behind it. When it gets added to the active zones being heated, the pipe opens and it is added to the water being circulated. Usually, they are plumbed as parallel loops, so the water ends up getting back to a common point.

    I have seen furnaces where each zone terminates in the furnace itself, but there is still only one coil unit/element inside, so it works out to the same thing

    #593865
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    I have not noticed how this works so i am curious. We have auto dampers, and maybe it depends on the system, but will it only activate one floor at a time to heat\cool or will it do both if necessary?

    I believe it will open both if necessary. One thing to keep and eye on is how the dampers are controlled and whether they are power closed or power open. Our house was originally set up that it took power to hold the dampers closed which was their normal position. the motors burned out after a few years that way. When we replaced them we set them up to power open as they are open less than closed. A much better way to work. we have had no problems since.

    #593887

    We set up all of our homes with a separate zone for each floor. it is really the best way to go. It allows for easier control of each floor and helps with efficiency. We have done both manual dampers and automatic dampers. In a two story i will only install the automatic. In a ranch, we install both.

    Best advice for anyone’s home heating zones . Not one zone can do it all . I’ve been in home with 5 plus units Monster homes .

    Always willing to learn .

    #593892
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Every room in my house is heated separately each with it’s own individual thermostat, I don’t turn the heat on in a room unless I’m using it. And it only takes 5-10 minutes to heat a room when I do

    #594059
    Nyx
    Pro
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Every room in my house is heated separately each with it’s own individual thermostat, I don’t turn the heat on in a room unless I’m using it. And it only takes 5-10 minutes to heat a room when I do

    At the price we paid with the builder we chose, that was not even an option. I would love to have that kind of setup but i would have to be prepared to pay for the extra time, material, and markup for that kind of setup.

    One thing to keep and eye on is how the dampers are controlled and whether they are power closed or power open

    Well, the dampers are powered for sure, and i believe they close after the cycle is complete – i know at least one of them does but i havent looked close enough to see which one is opening and closing or if multiple ones are doing different things depending on which zone is becoming “active”. I do worry about those motors though and like you said your’s burned out after a few years. I’m curious how long they will last and how i will notice they stopped working 🙂

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