Zone your home for better temperature control, efficiency

Published by Parisa Ostovari

Updated: August 9th, 2021

I’m a big basketball fan, and in this post I’ll be sharing how using a “zone defense” can help homeowners with heating and cooling costs.

Right now, many homeowners manually close registers in rooms that aren’t in use to reduce wasted heating or cooling. If we’re continuing with the basketball metaphor, this is more like a man-to-man defense. Unfortunately, this approach can compromise the efficiency of the system and make it work harder than necessary. Thanks to technology advancements, there’s a more convenient and more efficient way of controlling the heating and cooling output. This method is called “zoning your home.”

What is zoning your home?

Zoning allows homeowners to heat and cool different rooms — or zones — at different temperatures. A homeowner can control multiple zones separately to reduce hot and cold spots for more consistent comfort. Zoning your home can be more energy-efficient, as it allows for individual room temperature control. For example, you can set the temperature of the nursery or an office at 72 degrees, your living room at 70 degrees and the basement at 68 degrees.

How does zoned temperature control work?

Zoning a home starts with the ductwork. Each duct has a damper inside that will regulate airflow to each zone in the home. Depending on the system, the dampers are automatically controlled by a network of thermostats or sensors. When there is just one thermostat for an entire home, different areas may be up to five degrees off the desired temperature. With a thermostat or sensor in each zone, however, those inconsistencies are greatly reduced, if not completely eliminated. With some systems, you can coordinate settings for up to eight zones with full, seven-day programmability.

You may want to consider zoning if your home has:

  • More than one level

  • A sprawling single-level floor plan

  • A room over the garage

  • A room addition

  • A finished room in the basement or attic

  • A room built on a concrete slab floor

  • Vaulted ceilings or lofts

  • Rooms with expansive windows

  • Infrequently used rooms or areas