Empty nesters discussing finances

The HVAC Zoning Guide for Empty Nesters

If you’re on your way to an empty nest, you’ve got quite a bit on your mind. You have more free time in your future you’ll want to figure out things to do. You’re likely a little worried about the kids being out on their own for the first time. One thing you might want to include on that list of things to think about: A freshly emptied nest changes the way you can use energy efficiently.

Once your kids are all packed up and gone, one of the first things you’ll notice is some of your utility costs will decrease. After all, there aren’t as many people using the resources in your home—from water and food to electricity.

But even though you’re using less energy, that doesn’t mean you can’t be more efficient with the energy you do use. With some open spaces, you’re racking up expenses to heat and cool rooms you’re not even using. Shutting the doors and vents in those rooms won’t resolve that—in fact, you’ll likely use more energy and put a strain on your HVAC choosing that option. Zoning is a possible solution.

What is Zoning?

A zoned heating and cooling system regulates the air in your HVAC to focus on specific regions—or zones—in your home. They use dampers to push the air where it’s needed. In homes where temperature control is a struggle, zoning systems can be even more helpful. Rather than fight with just one part of the home that is too hot or cold, zoning permits a custom temperature to be set in the area.

Zoning systems are also helpful for empty nesters who want to save energy and money each month. With a zoning system, you can make different zones in your home and control them individually. When the kids are away, you can set the temperature in their area to use less energy. When they come back to visit, you make a small adjustment and it’s like they never left.

Perhaps the best benefit, you can save energy and expenses using a zoning system. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you could experience a savings of up to 35 percent when you use zoning with a programmable thermostat.

When Should I Consider Zoning?

Zoning systems are an ideal fit for empty nesters who want to save energy while keeping their space just as comfortable as before. They’re also a good choice for homes where:

  • Temperature differs dramatically between different floors or areas of the home.
  • Large windows are a part of commonly used rooms.
  • High ceilings make it challenging to regulate temperatures.

Will Zoning Work with My Existing HVAC?

Generally, zoning works best for residences that have a multi-stage variable capacity HVAC system. This ensures it can function at peak efficiency—so you can save energy and costs. However, there are systems for single-stage equipment that also let you reap the benefits of zoning.

And for circumstances that need an even more flexible solution, there are mini split systems that can act as a separate HVAC for difficult to regulate areas.

Every home’s heating and cooling set up is distinctive. The team at O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning can help you choose whether zoning makes sense for you.

An empty nest is a big change—so it’s a great time to reexamine your heating and cooling system to see if it’s meeting your needs. At O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning, our goal is to ensure you’re comfortable and your system is operating as efficiently as possible. If you want to hear more on how a zoned system could help, call our experts at 610-257-7035 or schedule an appointment with us online.

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