Sig Cox

HVAC Zoning Systems & Smart Thermostats

Improve the Energy Efficiency

Technology has come a long way from one wood-burning stove in the kitchen. While heating and cooling solutions in modern homes are varied and often technologically advanced, most homes still do not take advantage of the technology available to achieve maximum energy efficiency. 

HVAC zoning systems and smart thermostats are two ways to save money while heating and cooling your home.

At Sig Cox Heating & Air Conditioning, we help get you the right systems and technology for year-round home comfort. 

Homeowner's Guide to HVAC Zoning Systems

You’ve probably noticed that some rooms in your home stay cooler while others stay warmer. When you need to adjust the temperature of one room to maintain comfort, you wind up unevenly heating or cooling every room. This is where HVAC zoning comes in!

What is HVAC Zoning?

Zoning is sometimes a confusing term, as people often use the different meanings interchangeably. When talking about HVAC zoning, some may be referring to one or more HVAC systems mechanically divided into zones with independent thermostats. Zoning can also mean having one non-divided system which uses multiple sensors and operates based on averages.

Essentially, a zoned HVAC system separates your main system into “zones,” or areas, which can be heated or cooled independently of one another. This allows for better temperature control.

Benefits of HVAC Zoning

By installing a zoned HVAC system, your home can experience improved home comfort, including:

ductless zoned hvac unit in room

Smart Thermostat Installation

Smart thermostats are one of the best things to happen to home energy efficiency, and they boast an impressive array of capabilities, including:

Most smart thermostats on the market will work in conjunction with a zoned system and offer a mobile app for you to control your system and monitor efficiency from your smartphone.

Why Install a Smart Thermostat?

A smart thermostat system will save you an average of 30% on your power bill. The average monthly residential power bill is $126. Reduced by 30%, your new monthly bill is $88, saving you over $450 per year – almost double the cost of the top-selling smart thermostat.
Even accounting for additional zones or a smaller percentage on savings, you’d still see your smart thermostat pay for itself within the first one to three years!

Ready to upgrade your thermostat? Contact us today or read below to find out more about some of the best smart thermostats available!

Get the Best HVAC Zoning & Smart Thermostats for Your Home

At Sig Cox, we have provided the best home comfort solutions to local residents since 1926. We take the time to get to know you and provide thorough discussions and recommendations on the best HVAC solutions for your home. 

To learn how an HVAC zoning system can help improve your system’s efficiency and reduce energy bills, contact Sig Cox today!

HVAC Zoning Frequently Asked Questions​

The type of heating and cooling system you have is the main factor for what type of thermostat you can have, whether a zoning system will work for you, and what type you need. Most homes will support a zoned system and smart thermostat, but it may take a consultation with your local heating and air professional to determine what’s right for your home.

If your home is not already outfitted with a zoned system, you’ll want to call your local heating and air specialist to discuss the possibility of installation and get a quote. Digital HVAC zoning is not DIY-friendly, so you want to make sure you have a professional to help ensure proper installation.

Typically, the installation of a zoned HVAC system runs between $2,000 and $4,000. It’s time-consuming and detailed work, usually involving cutting into walls to access and modify existing ductwork. The number of zones and the system you choose will affect your quote. Your local HVAC technician will be able to discuss the process and options with you.

Digital HVAC zoning allows you to maintain a set temperature in each area of your home, depending on the room’s use and temperature-affecting variables, as well as personal preference.

With zoning, your heating and cooling systems use less energy, and the energy used is used efficiently. This can reduce your energy bill, saving you hundreds every year.

Typically, a zoning system operates using a complex network of dampers (for ductwork) or zone valves (for hydronic systems) plus zone control sensors, which send information on the room’s temperature to the main control panel, which signals the dampers or valves to open or shut depending on whether the room needs heating or cooling.

The nation’s leading heating and thermostat company, Honeywell, makes a range of residential and commercial zoning products, including TrueZONE dampers to split your duct system into controllable zones, as well as the RedLINK line of wireless-enabled solutions which support wired systems and wireless thermostats with up to four zones.

Another option for home zoning is from the Ecovent company. The Ecovent system works by adjusting vents in your existing duct system and uses sensors from multiple remotes to aggregate the data at a smart hub that controls the vents. This system provides a smartphone app where you can view your entire system. The system is entirely wireless, keeps you from needing to install wires, and works well with the Emerson Sensi thermostat. This highly advanced home comfort solution is only available from Ecovent; if you’re interested in their system, you’ll need to contact them directly.

When you work with Sig Cox, one of our HVAC specialists will be able to help you determine which zoning system is right for you

Smart Thermostats Options

Now that you’re aware of the benefits of home zoning and smart thermostats, you’ll be ready to shop for a smart thermostat to take advantage of the savings. Here are some of the top models:

  • No C-wire required
  • Compatible with most smart home systems
  • Highly functional linked mobile app

The Nest Learning Thermostat is at the top of our list for good reason: Its capabilities are unmatched. It works with zoned and non-zoned systems and is compatible with most heating and cooling systems (gas, electric, and forced air are okay; it does not work with electric radiators or underfloor systems).

To use the Nest Learning Thermostat with a zoned system, you will need to purchase a nest thermostat and Heat Link, which connects with the zone valves for each zone.

The top selling point for Nest is that it’s specially designed to monitor patterns in your home to automatically determine and set the most efficient functions. It also provides energy efficiency reports and alerts you to any issues it notices with your furnace or AC unit. Also, Nest Learning has an “airwave” feature that keeps your fan running after the compressor has shut off, cooling your home with “leftover” cool air to cut costs.

  • Requires a C-wire
  • Compatible with most smart home systems
  • Highly functional linked mobile app

Built to rival Nest and voted best overall by CNET, Ecobee 4 boasts impressive features such as motion activation, a built-in Alexa speaker, and a responsive touchscreen display – and it’s self-install friendly. While the Ecobee 4 does not give zone control without more than one thermostat, it does use wireless remote sensors to monitor temperature and movement in each zone to ensure inhabited rooms maintain the set temperature. Plus, if you don’t have a C-wire, Ecobee offers a solution with their self-install Power Extender Kit.

  • No C-wire required
  • Alexa and Amazon Echo Compatible
  • Functional mobile app

The Emerson Sensi is said to have a great mobile app and Amazon Echo support. A cost-sensitive option, the Sensi offers the functionality you need to maintain energy efficiency but lacks the automatic and intuitive features of its high-dollar competitors. 

This smart thermostat does offer seven-day scheduling, weather info, geofencing (to activate the system when it senses you’re close), and equipment status updates. While it doesn’t have sensors for digital zoning, it will save you money with its efficient presets, and it’s the top-rated thermostat for compatibility with the Amazon Echo.

Smart Thermostat Cost and Setup

Purchasing a smart thermostat won’t set you back as far as you might think. It really depends on what features you’re looking for and what systems you’re working with. Functional models begin around $150 but may not be compatible with zoned systems, while top-of-the-line models can run above $200 and require add-ons at an additional cost to outfit your digitally zoned system.

Installing a smart thermostat is usually a simple enough task for a DIY-er. Complications may arise if your smart thermostat calls for a common wire (C-wire), to allow full functionality. Choosing a thermostat that doesn’t require a C-wire, or contracting an electrician will easily solve this problem. 

The simplest smart thermostat setup will take only about 30 minutes. You can plan on additional time for modifications and setup for additional zones.

For help choosing and installing smart thermostats, contact Sig Cox today!

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