Technology Talk: Smart Vents vs. Zoning


There are many different ways to zone a home but what is the most efficient way to do so?

Smart products are everywhere in the HVAC industry, they can increase energy efficiency, be seamlessly integrated, and are simple to install.  Although some smart products and certain zoning methods go against expert advice from the heating and cooling professionals at Tower. 

Below we will take a look at the different methods for zoning and define what the best option is for a home and its energy savings starting with:

The Smart Vent Zoning Method

Smart vents promote a simple and effective way for homeowners to zone their home, allowing them to heat and cool the areas as they please. Smart vent sensors work along with a smart thermostat to determine which room needs more air than others. Each vent sensor communicates with the other detecting if an area is in use and will redirect airflow as necessary. 

The Traditional Zoning Method

There are two main ways to zone a home traditionally. First up is closing vents to deter air to another room. While this may sound like a smart idea, closing vents to unused areas of a home is not advised.

This is due to the fact that heating and air systems are designed with those vents and rooms in mind. The HVAC system in your home was made to efficiently heat and cool the total square footage. This means when you cut off a room or more, your furnace and air conditioner won’t operate as efficiently.

Shutting vents to restrict heating and cooling in certain areas of the home backs up the air into the duct which can cause major issues. Increased air pressure can cause air leaks in your ducts along with forcing your system to work harder using more energy and increasing your bills. The conditioned air held in the ducts that is unable to exit into interior rooms can cause the furnace to overheat and air conditioner to freeze up.

Although the traditional way of closing vents is not a good way to zone a space, installing a whole-home zoning system is a smart alternative. A whole-home zoning system works with your HVAC system rather than against by not closing vents. Zoning allows independent control of temperatures throughout the home, sending enough air to each space while avoiding buildup in the system. Fully customizable, this system can address specific comfort and energy efficiency challenges faced by any household.

Currently, the smart zoning method mentioned above has proven to be less efficient than installing a whole-home zoning system.  Traditional zoning produces the desired comfort, energy savings, and more!

Smart vents do not address the specific causes that can throw off balanced comfort within a home. The vent has the capacity to close off rooms and areas, rather than adjusting the heating and cooling systems use.

Traditional Zoning Methods Save Energy

In addition to improving comfort, one of the main objectives homeowners have when installing zoning is to save money and conserve heating and cooling energy. Traditional zoning methods can save homeowners an average of 30 percent on annual heating and cooling energy usage. Homeowners can improve the efficiency of their zoning systems by using programmable thermostats effectively, programming accurate setback schedules, and being diligent about addressing seasonal changes.

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