Using Heat Zones to Save Energy in New Home Construction
written by: Christopher Kochan•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 2/15/2011
When builders use heat zones to save energy in new home construction, they are actually installing a very high-efficient system of allocating the air conditioning and heat throughout the house. This article explains how heat zones work and the process of using them to save energy.
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Saving Energy with Heat Zones
A heat zone system in newer homes is an electronic system directly connected to the thermostat of the heating system. Through the thermostat in the home, an owner can set which rooms, or heat zones, he would like to cool or heat.
A heat zone can range from one single room, such as a master bedroom, or to an entire side of a house, such as the living room, office and media rooms being combined under one heat zone. By using the master thermostat in the home, a homeowner is able to turn on and off any desired heat zone in the home, to only provide temperature control to specific areas of the home. Homeowners are able to target the air conditioning or heating to specific areas of the home commonly being used, while also shutting off the other areas, or zones, of the house not being used. This feature in new home construction allows home temperature control systems to be very efficient, as they are controlling smaller portions of the home at one time.
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How Heat Zones Work
As mentioned above, a heat zone systems an electronic system directly connected to the thermostat of the heating system. In a heat zone, there is actually a network of thermostats, with one master thermostat and one temperature control thermostat for each heat zone located inside the home.
The master thermostat is usually located in the most used area of the home, such as the kitchen or living room of the home. The master thermostat has the power to turn on or off any of the other heat zone thermostats, while also controlling the temperature in the zone where the master thermostat is located. Some high-tech thermostat system will even display outdoor temperatures, as well.
By using the master thermostat to turn off a heat zone, you turn off the thermostat and are actually signaling a damper to close in the ductwork of the heating system, thus preventing any air blowing from the furnace to travel to the heat zone. Turning on a heat zone would turn the heat zones thermostat on and open the damper to let air flow from the furnace to the specific heat zone.
Home architects and planners have been using heat zones to make homes more efficient with their temperature control systems, thus lowering the overall cost of living for the future homeowners. New home construction companies have been able to save energy by locating the most used areas of the home together, in order maintain a better temperature in those areas of the home. By having the most used heat zones grouped together, the furnace only has to supply heat to one area of the home, giving the furnace a much smaller area to maintain a comfortable temperature; thus using the heat zones to save energy in new home construction by using much less gas and electricity with your furnace.