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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    28

    Multi Zone Options

    Hello folks,

    I have been kicking around the idea to add a Multi Zone for up and downstairs. So, I am turning to you all for your feedback on which brand/model/setup is best overall. Additionally, if any is available, I would like to get your actual experience if you've recently added a dual-zone system to help with the airflow control between levels/areas.

    Please advise and I appreciate any helpful information and suggestions I could get.

    Thank you.


    oodssoo

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    861
    I like both the Honeywell and XCI brand zone controllers.

    One nice feature of the XCI controllers are LED's that illuminate to indicate when a particular control signal is active. It make troubleshooting issues with the system much easier.

    Honeywell is one of the big guys on the block as far as controls are concerned.
    Honeywell has a wireless line of thermostats called Redlink. Redlink thermostats communicate wirelessly. You can easily move the thermostats to try out which locations work best, installing thermostats doesn't require putting in a run of thermostat wire for each thermostat. Lower labor costs and greater flexibility during installation are great!
    I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.
    ― Benjamin Franklin

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    28
    Thank you allan38. I wonder what others have to say.

    Thanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Quad-Cities area (midwest).
    Posts
    2,484
    Quote Originally Posted by oodssoo View Post
    Thank you allan38. I wonder what others have to say.

    Thanks.
    I've installed alot of the Arzel Heat Pump Pro series zoning systems with great success.

    You might want to look into those as an option.

    An experienced contractor is the most important aspect however.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    2,697
    Here's my

    Adding a control box and dampers doesn't make a zoned system. although MANY companies GET AWAY with just doing that....and it does show "some" improvement...However....when the compressor craps out at 5 years because of all the short cycling and improper bypass flow or equipment application.

    Zone systems have to be installed properly with duct sizes, bypass strategy, equipment compatibility.

    so my opinion is:

    1. It's not a magic box to solve problems.
    2. It can work when properly designed into the house-but to work properly duct issues must be addressed at the time of installation.
    3. if you are addressing the duct issues, well.......ductwork done properly you won't need the zone system.......


    The only zone system I prefer is the Infinity/Evolution system.
    It's not the Brand with the fewest repairs-It's all in the install!!! Attention to detail and using the best materials!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Wadsworth, OH
    Posts
    316
    Quote Originally Posted by beshvac View Post
    so my opinion is:

    1. It's not a magic box to solve problems.
    2. It can work when properly designed into the house-but to work properly duct issues must be addressed at the time of installation.
    3. if you are addressing the duct issues, well.......ductwork done properly you won't need the zone system.......
    Magic it is not...a problem solver it most definitely can be!

    Most things don't work when improperly installed!

    "Won't need Zoning"...That's your opinion...Many people want more control than one thermostat...that's their opinion.

    If you don't like zoning because some-one in your market installs it improperly than your beef should be with that some-one and not zoning.

    Just sayin!
    "When you perceive zoning not as a bandage but as an enhancement, you truly understand the dynamics and limitations of forced air heating and cooling"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Keokuk, IA
    Posts
    5,520
    I think he's pointing out that many times, there's simply not enough ductwork and/or oversized equipment being the root cause of comfort issues. Air leaks and hot attic tend to be major culprits too.

    Once you have a home constructed properly, keeping it cool is pretty easy since the rate that it heats up and cools off is very slow.

    Everything else is band-aids to mask the underlying issue of a poorly constructed home. WEll isulated does not equal well constructed. I'll take a well built tight home wiht little or no insulaton... especially one with a lot of thermal mass and shading over one that has tons of fiberglass batts everywhere, but leaks like a sieve. I've lived in both, it's night and day.

    I've also taken a smaller office spaces that had a combined 9 tons installed and combined them to a single 5 ton unit and the results are amazing. Hugh humidity and uneven temrpatures before wiht noisy ductwork. Now it's quiet, dry and comfortable. One area is still a little underconditioned, but that's an issue of inadequate ductwork and the fact that one of the occupants of one of the zones keeps it 69F.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern VA 38 degrees N by 76 degrees W
    Posts
    5,046
    Quote Originally Posted by jramunni View Post
    Magic it is not...a problem solver it most definitely can be!

    Most things don't work when improperly installed!

    "Won't need Zoning"...That's your opinion...Many people want more control than one thermostat...that's their opinion.

    If you don't like zoning because some-one in your market installs it improperly than your beef should be with that some-one and not zoning.

    Just sayin!
    Zoning works well if properly designed and installed, but that is usually not the case.

    To retrofit a system with dampers and controls without redesigning the duct work to handle the airflow only leads to higher energy costs and failures.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Wadsworth, OH
    Posts
    316
    Quote Originally Posted by second opinion View Post
    Zoning works well if properly designed and installed, but that is usually not the case.

    To retrofit a system with dampers and controls without redesigning the duct work to handle the airflow only leads to higher energy costs and failures.
    If you use the wrong zoning control and the wrong bypass and the wrong installer than you will have issues, so don't do that!

    In most applications redesigning duct work is not required. If the duct system is wrong...than fix it first...of course!

    A simple question to determine if zoning is a viable solution;
    Does the issue with temperature control occur in both the heating and cooling mode or is just a heating or just a cooling issue?

    If it happens in both modes than it would be a system design problem that needs corrected.

    If it happens in only one mode than it would typically be a load diversity issue that requires vastly different cfm quantities from heating to cooling,
    i.e., in a two story home the majority of the heating load is usually on the 1st fl and the majority of the cooling load is on the 2nd fl. You can "fix" the duct work to provide more cooling cfm to the 2nd fl but you will then have too much cfm in the heating mode. This not a duct design problem, it is a load variance reality that can not be effectively served with one cfm value.

    Manual J designs to an average load requirement to try and minimize the temperature differences, but at times that will be beyond what many home owners are willing to settle for. It is just the limitations of serving two very different load requirements with one constant cfm quantity.
    "When you perceive zoning not as a bandage but as an enhancement, you truly understand the dynamics and limitations of forced air heating and cooling"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern VA 38 degrees N by 76 degrees W
    Posts
    5,046
    Quote Originally Posted by jramunni View Post
    If you use the wrong zoning control and the wrong bypass and the wrong installer than you will have issues, so don't do that!

    In most applications redesigning duct work is not required. If the duct system is wrong...than fix it first...of course!

    A simple question to determine if zoning is a viable solution;
    Does the issue with temperature control occur in both the heating and cooling mode or is just a heating or just a cooling issue?

    If it happens in both modes than it would be a system design problem that needs corrected.

    If it happens in only one mode than it would typically be a load diversity issue that requires vastly different cfm quantities from heating to cooling,
    i.e., in a two story home the majority of the heating load is usually on the 1st fl and the majority of the cooling load is on the 2nd fl. You can "fix" the duct work to provide more cooling cfm to the 2nd fl but you will then have too much cfm in the heating mode. This not a duct design problem, it is a load variance reality that can not be effectively served with one cfm value.

    Manual J designs to an average load requirement to try and minimize the temperature differences, but at times that will be beyond what many home owners are willing to settle for. It is just the limitations of serving two very different load requirements with one constant cfm quantity.
    I do not believe that I have ever designed or serviced a heating and cooling system that used a single cfm value for both heating and cooling.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Wadsworth, OH
    Posts
    316
    Quote Originally Posted by second opinion View Post
    I do not believe that I have ever designed or serviced a heating and cooling system that used a single cfm value for both heating and cooling.
    How do you change the cfm values from htg to clg?

    I understand that equipment cfm is different for htg to clg but the cfm ratios to each register is the same unless you re-balance the system for each season.
    "When you perceive zoning not as a bandage but as an enhancement, you truly understand the dynamics and limitations of forced air heating and cooling"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Cal
    Posts
    1,581
    Quote Originally Posted by second opinion View Post
    Zoning works well if properly designed and installed, but that is usually not the case.

    To retrofit a system with dampers and controls without redesigning the duct work to handle the airflow only leads to higher energy costs and failures.
    X2

    The customer may never realize the efficiency hit and the failures may be a few years down the road. The home improvement shows and mfgs avoid or gloss over the downside potential which occurs more often then not.

    There's a thread running about equipment failure that has a history of zoning problems. Guy says the zoning got fixed/it works, According to who?

    If the approach isn't comprehensive, your just a sucker buying magic beans.

    Shop wisely.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Wadsworth, OH
    Posts
    316
    Quote Originally Posted by btuhack View Post
    X2
    If the approach isn't comprehensive, your just a sucker buying magic beans.
    .
    It again comes down to proper application...if properly applied the results of magic beans is golden!

    They really weren't magic...they just led to something that wasn't expected.

    The magic of zoning is that even if the installation is not perfect, the resulting performance is beyond the expectation of most home owners that purchase it.

    A large percentage of our product is used by contractors that have been with us for 15 plus years...how could that be if it just doesn't work?
    "When you perceive zoning not as a bandage but as an enhancement, you truly understand the dynamics and limitations of forced air heating and cooling"

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