How Does a 2-Zone HVAC System Work?

how does a 2 zone hvac system work

Any homeowner would be delighted to have a switch system that allows them to independently control the temperature within different areas of the house. If there are different rooms in the house and some of them are unused or unoccupied, it would be practical to have a control system that gives them an option to exclude the unoccupied rooms from the air conditioner’s cooling or heating effect. This option not only improves the efficiency of the system unit but also reduces the cost of electricity. 

 

What Is Dual-Zone HVAC?

Zoning is a process of controlling your HVAC system in order to fully utilize heating and cooling effect. A zoned heating and cooling system breaks your house into different areas or “zones”, each one is controlled individually by a thermostat. This system utilizes multiple sensors, thermostats, and modulating dampers to successfully manage the temperature in various zones within your home. 

Here are some advantages of having a dual-zone HVAC: 

 

Lower monthly electric bills

The option to concentrate preferred temperature to occupied rooms and space and exclude the unused areas let you save on utility bills.

 

Less wear and tear on the system

An HVAC system that operates to cool the entire house including the used and unused areas, works harder than those used in a small range of space. Thus, the unit might not last long and might require frequent repairs and replacements in the future. 

 

Customizable heating and cooling

Having a two-zone or multi-zone HVAC systems allow each occupant to experience their individual temperature preferences. For instance, one person wants to stay in a cooler room while the other one prefers a less cold or a little warm temperature. 

 

Difference between the Dual-Zone AC & Heating and a Dual-Unit System

A dual zoned system has one unit that provides heating and cooling to multiple areas of your home. While a dual-unit system has two separate units that individually operate a single zone with separate, detached thermostats. This is ideal for houses or offices that require two completely separate systems like apartment rental units. Between the two, a dual-zone HVAC AC is more cost-effective both in utility bills and maintenance repairs. 

 

How Zoned HVAC Systems Work

One of the primary parts of a zoned HVAC system is a number of motorized dampers. These dampers open and close depending on the demands of the zone thermostats. These dampers are inserted into the ducts or can be installed at the air outlet for each room or zone. If multiple ducts serve a single room or zone. Multiple dampers can be controlled altogether for an individual zone if multiple ducts serve a single room or zone. The number of zones in a specific home can differ based on square footage, room design, number of floor levels, and how different rooms are being used. 

The next key part of the zone HVAC system is the zone thermostats. In homes with the existing thermostat, it is good enough to use it as a zone thermostat. As each zone is divided, there is a thermostat in every zone that controls the heating, cooling, and fan operation for its individual zone. The connection of the HVAC unit to the central control panel which is also connected to the dampers and thermostats, allows the unit to respond to requests from different or multiple thermostats. 

When the thermostat in a specific zone is tuned for heating or air cooling, the dampers in that zone will open to let the air flow into such an area. Otherwise, the dampers remain closed in the rest of the area. Only if there is a call for heating or cooling, a specific damper will open again. When the desired temperatures are reached in each area of the home, those dampers will be closed. And when every part of the home reaches the preferred temperature, the entire system will shut off. 

To further understand the concept of zoning, let’s compare it to having a light switch in every room of the house. You wouldn’t install a central light switch to control in turning on and off all the lights in the house. It would still be practical to have an individual switch for each light. The same is true for AC’s heating and cooling. It would be a waste of energy to have a single central thermostat turning on the heating or cooling for the entire house.

 

What Temperature Should I Set My Air Conditioner in Summer

what temperature should i set my air conditioner in summer

Everyone wants to achieve the perfect balance between energy savings and home comfort. Having a home where cool air beats the summer heat is a perfect ideal. While system maintenance tasks such as changing the AC filter or hiring a technician to tune up the unit make a positive impact, something as simple as adjusting the temperature setting plays a big part in your electric bill. 

So, what temperature should I set my air conditioner in summer?

According to the Department of Energy, 78 degrees Fahrenheit is the sweet spot for air conditioners to balance energy savings and comfort when people are at home and need cooling. But in actuality, the answer to this question varies. 

Deciding the right figure for you will need some experimentation and questioning. Are you more interested in getting a lower electricity bill, or you’re more concerned about the comfort level, or a balance of both? 

There are many factors that can affect your home temperature. They are the following: 

Number of people at home 

Amount of direct sunlight 

Amount of physical activity 

Outdoor humidity or climate 

Number of windows 

Other factors that add to the heat in the environment 

Ultimately, the perfect AC setting for your home is the one that balances your cost and comfort. 

 

The Ideal Air Conditioner Temperature Setting Is 22-26°C (71-78°F) 

For most people, a temperature range of 22-26°C is the right temperature, not too cold yet not too hot. 

 

Best AC Temperature for Sleeping

A temperature of 78⁰ F (25⁰ C)  is an ideal set up when you’re at home and awake. But it is not good for sleeping. Actually, bedroom temperatures that are too hot or too cold can cause restless sleep. A general recommendation is that the optimal temperature for sleeping is between 60⁰ and 67⁰ F.

In order to fully maximize your savings and comfort, check out these tips: 

 

  • Set the thermostat at a higher temperature when you’re away 

According to the studies, you can save 3-5% on the cooling cost for each degree that you raise the thermostat. When you’re not home during the day, you can possibly increase your energy savings even more if you set the temperature 7° to 10°higher.  Installing a programmable thermostat, you can potentially save as much as 10% on your energy cost.  On the other hand, completely turning off the AC might actually cost you money due to the extra energy it takes to cool your home back down to your comfort level. 

Refrain from setting the thermostat on a colder setting to cool the home down faster after being away for some time. The temperature will cool at the same rate but will run longer until it reaches the lower temperature. You can invest in a programmable thermostat or even a smart thermostat in order to automatically set the temperature to high when you’re not at home and reset the system to cool when you come back. A smart thermostat can be connected to your devices such as a smartphone or tablet making it easy for you to adjust the settings wherever you go.  

 

  • Turn on the ceiling fan (and other natural solutions to cool the home)

If you have a ceiling fan in your home, use it to increase and circulate the airflow.  You can also use the help of a stand-alone fan to spread the airflow faster. In fact, running a fan takes less energy than running the air conditioner.

If you’re cooking inside the house, you can turn on your oven’s ventilation fan and keep it on until you’re finished. The same goes for your exhaust fan in the washroom or shower. 

 Here are supplemental comfort-enhancing (and money-saving) suggestions that you can practice:

Add weather stripping to window and door openings to better seal in cool air and seal out the heat.

Close down the window coverings during the day to reduce heat from sunlight.

Avoid using heat-generating appliances such as an oven, your clothes dryer, hairdryers, etc., especially during the day.

Turn off your AC and open windows at night to naturally cool your home. Shut the windows during the day to seal in the cooler air.

 

  • Perform regular maintenance on your air conditioner

Just like your car, your central AC operates more efficiently with regular maintenance and system check-ups. For instance, a dirty, clogged air filter can restrict air circulation, possibly causing reduced energy efficiency, while also putting a strain on the system’s parts.  

You must regularly check your system and troubleshoot simple issues that you can handle. However, if the concern is way beyond your capacity, then calling an experienced tech professional is the way to go. 

 

  • Adjust your sleeping routine 

If you can set a little higher temperature during bedtime, you can even reduce the energy cost more. 

Although warmer temperatures make it harder for anyone to sleep, not the case if you slightly tweak your sleeping habits. Generally, our ideal sleeping temperature is between 16-20°C when wearing pajamas and covered by a sheet. But the study shows that wearing lighter, more breathable fabrics and not using blanket sheets can make you comfortable sleeping at a higher temperature. 

 

  • Avoid using your appliances as much as possible

Appliances and lights can raise the temperature in your home because of the heat that they are emitting. It is recommended to avoid using any appliances inside the house during the hottest time of the day. 

 

  •  Keep blinds down during the hottest time of the day

Invest in good blinds that cover your sun-facing window. Keep them closed while away. In this way, you can prevent heat coming from the sun entering your home. 

 

  • Take cooler showers and hang laundry outside

Hot showers and wet clothes add dampness to the air and will cause the temperature to rise. You may restrict your lukewarm showers to a short length of time, or choose to have a cool shower. 

As much as possible, hang dry your clothes outside to keep the excess moisture out of your house. This moisture can add up dampness in the ambiance causing the temperature to rise a little bit. 

 

How to Clean Air Conditioner Coils

how to clean air conditioner coils

During those hot summer days, stepping into a cool, restful home is very reviving. It’s a kind of comfort that was brought to us by Willis Carrier, the inventor of modern air conditioners. It’s difficult to imagine life without it. However, like any other mechanical device, an air conditioner requires some fundamental cleaning to maintain its optimal, long-term health. 

Air conditioner coils are an indispensable part of your HVAC framework. Your air conditioner won’t reduce the humidity level and cool without the coils. This is where the magic happens. Here, heat is being absorbed by the refrigerator unit of your appliance in order to cool the air. As air passes over the cool refrigerant, it draws off heat out in a process that’s essentially the opposite of how your forced air furnace operates. That’s why regularly checking and cleaning your AC coils will allow it to run cooler with less energy consumed. Therefore, it can help you save money in the long run. 

 

Types of coils in the AC unit: 

A split-system central AC, there is an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. Each of these units contains a coil that is integral to the air conditioning process. 

 

Evaporator coil 

This is the indoor component that is located on the top of your furnace or air handler. It is sometimes referred to as the cooling coil.  It is located on the air intake side of the fan coil or the outlet side of the furnace. Its function includes removing heat from indoor air so the blower fan can blow cool, refreshing air inside the living space. When problems develop with dirty evaporator coils, your AC’s efficiency can drop, it’s performance will decrease, and damage or breakdowns can occur. 

 

Condenser coil 

This is the outdoor unit that really powers the whole operation. Often referred to as the air conditioning unit. It releases that absorbed heat outside. Most evaporator and condenser coils are made of copper tubing which runs through a sequence of thin, aluminum strips called fins. While there are other coil designs and compositions, like aluminum coils, or spine fin coils that look kind of like a large pipe-cleaner, airflow across the coil helps the transmission of heat energy into and out of the home.

 

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Air Conditioning Coils:

 

Step 1: Shut off the power to the air conditioner

First, turn off the A/C at the thermostat and shut off the power going to the condensing unit. Most outdoor air conditioning units have an appliance shut off box situated nearby. Open the door on the box and remove the stab connection or fuses. Just pull the handle that you see and the terminal must come out. If for some reason, you don’t need to disconnect, simply shut down the power at the breaker panel. There should be an exclusive breaker for your A/C.

 

Important note: 

Pulling the disconnect mitigates the power to the unit, NOT to the disconnect. Electricity is still being supplied to the disconnect itself. Only the breaker at the panel can cut the power to the disconnect itself.

In the event that you have no shut-off box, flip off the power at the circuit breaker in your home

Do not attempt to work on an air conditioning unit without first disconnecting the power.

 

Step 2: Remove the Top of the Condenser

Make sure that the power is turned off while you remove the condenser. Also, remove the bolts attached to the lid from the condenser but not the bolts that keep the fan to the lid. Just leave the fan attached. You may use your hex driver or drill to detach these bolts which are usually 1/4″, 3/8″ or 1/2″.

Set the lid with the fan attached aside. Ideally, you have enough leeway in the wiring to do as such. However in the event that not, it is possible because the slack is tied up inside the access panel. If you detach the access cover, you can cut the tie on the wires and must be able to get the slack you need. The power is off, there’s no need to worry about the shock. Just make sure not to cut the wires as you cut the tie. Also, make sure that the metal on the unit doesn’t cut or scratch the wires as you move the top around to a stable resting place.  This is a good time to use a paper towel or paintbrush to clean out the dirt inside the entrance board

 

Important note: 

Focus on how the wires are wrapped inside the access panel with the goal that you can tie them back in a similar manner when you’re done. Do not disconnect any wires. If you find that you cannot do this without disconnecting wires, contact an expert. Misplacement of wires can cause immediate harm to your unit and present potential safety hazards. 

 

Step 3: Remove the Caging

With the top off, remove the caging. In case that you have a metal packaging or cabinet around your condenser, the concept here will still be the same. Detach the bolts at the base of the unit that is connected to the cage and it will come off easily. Once more, be careful as we avoid smashing down any more of those finds than are already. 

 

Step 4: Clean Out the Debris in the Base of the Unit

Wipe out the debris in the base of the unit where the compressor is found. Leaves and other natural falling things can get into the top of the unit when it’s not running. They may cause corrosion and form a blanket of insulation under the compressor when they get wet and decay. This can decrease the airflow that we need to help the compressor cool. 

 

Step 5: Comb Out the Smashed Fins 

In order to clean the spaces in between, we need to open the fins. Here is where we need this little air conditioning coil comb. Choose the side of the comb with the properly spaced teeth to avoid causing harm. 

Moreover, avoid forcing the comb through any areas that are resistant so that you will not tear these very thin pieces of metal. In the event that you don’t have this comb, a butter knife or other similar objects will do the job though it may take longer than usual. 

 

Step 6: Presoak the Unit

Use a hose to wash things down. Spray from the inside out to push back any debris it absorbed.  You want to avoid spraying directly at the disconnect or the electrical segments inside the access panel. However, a little splash won’t hurt anything since it’s built to be outside and water isn’t going to damage it at all. Check on the outer base of the unit where heavier grass deposits are likely to build up.

 

Step 7: Spray the Coils With Your Cleaner Mix

A healthy dose of your coil cleaner must cover the front and back of the coil, base to top. Let the cleaner stick for a bit before washing it down with water. Make sure to follow the directions provided by the manufacturer of your coil cleaner for blending rations and stand time. These are somewhat dependent on the product you use. 

 

Step 8: Reassemble the unit

At this point, just put the unit back up the same way you’ve taken it apart and you’re all set. Make sure that the electrical segments are dry before plugging the disconnect back in and turn on the breaker and thermostat. 

At this point, just button the unit back up the same way you’ve taken it apart and you’re all set. Make sure your electrical components are dry, plug the disconnect back in and turn on the breaker and thermostat.

 

Why is my air conditioner running but not cooling the house?  

why is my air conditioner running but not cooling the house

A well-functioning air conditioning runs in cycles that normally last 15 to 20 minutes. Your system will kick on and run until it arrives at the ideal temperature (whatever you set your thermostat to) and afterward kick off for a couple of moments.

But if your air conditioner just can’t bring down the temperature to the number you plugged into your thermostat, it’s something that you have to be concerned about.  This will increase your electricity cost and put unnecessary strain on your system. 

Before reaching out to your local technician, let’s review some of the reasons why your central air conditioner may be running without cooling down your home. 

 

A refrigerant leak or low 

Your system needs a refrigerant to cool your space. A refrigerant is the blood of your AC, and, similar to our blood, it for the most part doesn’t get spent, just goes all around. So, in case you are low on refrigerant, it implies you’ve gotten a hole and need to get it fixed.

If there is a refrigerant leak, it suggests that there might be not enough of this liquid required to soak up the warmth within the air. It will cause freezing problems throughout the unit, which might ultimately harm your compressor. When this happens, your air-conditioning system will constantly run, and work harder to cool your home, but won’t be sustainable for long.  This small problem could get costly if not fixed right away. 

Since refrigerant is dangerous to handle, it is advisable to schedule an inspection with your local HVAC technician. 

 

Air Filtration Problem 

If your AC system is running all the time without actually cooling, the first thing that you must do is check the air cleaner.

Your AC works by drawing in air, cooling it, and distributing it around your home. A clogged AC filter reduces airflow in your system because it can’t get enough air to cool your home properly. It is important to change or clean your air filter regularly to ensure the maximum performance of your system. 

When it comes to air filters, it is important to choose the right one for your system. There are many air filters available in the market. It is possible that your current air filter’s MERV rating is too high or low. 

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It’s a rating scale that goes from 1-16 and may match your HVAC system.

Check to see what air filter MERV works best with your home’s AC. 

 

Closed or blocked vents

A well-functioning unit must have the amount of air being pulled into its system matches the volume of air being blown out of the vents. A closed or blocked vents limits the amount of air that is coming out. This increases the amount of pressure in your air ducts, which can cause small leaks in the ductwork that could worsen over time. So make sure to check if your vents are wide open. 

 

Your AC is undersized

A small AC in a big room may be the reason why it’s not cooling especially during those hot summer months. The size of the AC must go with the size of the room. 

If you’ve just had an AC installed in a single room and later increase your living space by adding an extension, you will need to upgrade your AC to cover a bigger space. 

 

Defective compressor

The compressor, as the core of your AC system, circulates the refrigerant that eliminates the heat from your room’s air and dumps it outside. If it is damaged, then the AC can cool your air. 

A defective compressor is most likely to be replaced since they are airtightly sealed, which means you can’t open them to repair. Unfortunately, the compressor is the most expensive part of the AC. If you’re no longer covered with a unit warranty, it’s better to invest in a new unit. 

 

Condenser outside unit is dirty 

A condenser is an outdoor unit that removes the absorbed heat from your home. If it gets clogged, it can’t properly expel the heat. Thus, forcing the hot temperature to go back inside the system, raising your electric bills as well as the temperature in your room. 

In order to fix this, you must clean the condenser fins with a garden hose. Remove any clog or debris. Avoid using strong steam to prevent damaging the condenser fins that work to cool the refrigerant. 

 

Leaky Air Ducts 

After the AC has cooled, the air disperses around your home or room through air ducts in your walls and ceilings. If these are not tightly sealed, the cool air is leaking outside your living space. 

Before totally cooling the air, conditioned air travels through a series of ductwork, reaching the corners of your home. Eventually, air ducts become loosely sealed. This causes cool air to leak and escape, making the temperature in your room higher than expected. 

Duck leaks in your home can be hard to detect since they are mostly hidden in the attic. Here are the signs that you have leaky ducts: 

Higher-than-normal electric bills

You have corners or space that don’t cool well 

Unusual dust in your home (from the dust in your attic)

If you have leaky ducts, you may contact a professional to seal your ducts with metal tape or mastic sealant. 

 

Leaks in your home 

Similar to leaky air ducts, your home might have holes, ill-fitting doors, and windows, poorly installed vents, and electric outlets that can let the hot temperature in. If there’s much of this heat coming in, your AC won’t be able to cool very well. 

 

De-rating of AC with age 

Appliances are subjected to aging too. Over time, the efficiency of most appliances falls down. Old air conditioners take more time and electricity to give the usual amount of cooling. 

 

Direct sunlight on air conditioner outdoor unit

People tend to overlook that the outdoor installation of the AC has a direct effect on the unit’s capacity to function at its optimal level.  If the outdoor unit or the outer part of the AC is directly facing the sun, the efficiency of the air conditioner lessens and it also causes the compressor to stop working completely. Along with lower efficiency comes a high consumption of electricity. 

One of the main functions of the AC is to absorb the heat from inside the room and toss it outside. But if the outside temperature is very high due to direct sun exposure or seasonal humidity, the system won’t be able to deliver the desired temperature. All air conditioners are designed to work at a certain level of temperature and beyond that, they will stop working. 

 

The thermostat is switched to ON 

Your blower will run constantly if your thermostat is set to ON, even when your system is not cooling. This will result in the warm air blowing from your vents. 

In order for the air to blow on your vents only when the AC is cooling, switch your thermostat to AUTO. 

 

Circuit breaker fail

Most ACs have two circuit breakers: one for the outside unit and one for the inside. If the outside unit’s breaker has failed, the indoor unit keeps blowing warm air inside your home. 

In order to fix this, you must check the breaker box to make sure that the outside unit breaker is ON. If not, switch it ON. If it trips again, it’s better to call a professional to fix in case there is a bigger electrical issue. Do not attempt to reset it over and over. 

 

Dirty evaporator coils 

Evaporator coils absorb heat from the air in your room and help to cool the temperature. If the coils are dirty, they cannot function properly until it’s cleaned. 

You can use a mild detergent and warm water to clean the evaporator coil.  But a licensed HVAC technician with professional equipment is best consulted in some cases. 

 

Power issues

Make sure that your AC is plugged into the outlet properly and that the power cord is still intact. If the outlet and cord are working well, there could be a problem with your electrical panel. 

Air conditioners require a large amount of power to run. If your home might have tripped a breaker, blown a fuse, or have overloaded switches built-in, these could affect the system’s performance. 

The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is true when it comes to your air-conditioning system as well. By having a professional technician perform annual inspections, you can help to avoid any potential AC disruption.

 

 

Heat and Cooling Programs Are Small Programs That Can Make Or Break a Building

Heat and cooling systems for commercial buildings and offices are maintained by heating ventilation air conditioning programs. These programs can be a large part of a building’s energy management system. Programs allow a large facility to make energy efficient improvements, and lower their overall electric bill.

Public buildings are the most common examples of buildings that are cooled by a heating ventilation air conditioning system. This type of program can cover a large building such as a theater, convention center, medical facility, or even a home. But, it doesn’t end there.

Air Conditioner

Heating Ventilation Air Conditioners can also be used to cool a structure that contains space heaters. Many buildings use different types of air conditioning including the ACi (advanced compact ionic air conditioner) to provide a cooling option to the building’s heat. Some buildings might not use ACIs for their air conditioning needs.

ACIs are compact air conditioners that use cooling coils to push out cold air. These cool air passes through an evaporator coil, which results in the cooling of the air. ACIs are generally smaller than standard air conditioners and are less expensive to purchase.

ACIs are used in both indoor and outdoor structures. They are used in commercial buildings to provide both heat and cooling services. They also serve as passive cooling devices to reduce or eliminate the need for cooling towers.

Most ACIs operate using electricity. A built-in battery is responsible for charging the batteries during periods of inactivity or when a power outage occurs. The battery charges when the ACIs is being used, and when it’s unplugged the battery will charge up again.

Most ACIs have an auto shut off function that can be programmed to turn off automatically when the building is not being used. While this feature is a great convenience, it can be costly in electric costs. It is important to monitor these systems regularly to avoid overcharging the batteries.

The HVAC systems used to provide heating ventilation air conditioners are often kept in an accessible area. This is especially true with older buildings. Modern buildings will often have them placed on higher floors to save on space.

In a room that is located on a floor with a moisture problem, heating ventilation air conditioners can help control the humidity. Areas such as bathrooms and kitchens often experience high levels of humidity because of the moisture that is naturally present. An ACI is designed to dehumidify the air inside of the building.

Cleaning the air ducts can sometimes help if they have accumulated mold or mildew. It’s best to first call in a professional to thoroughly clean the ducts before cleaning them yourself. This will help prevent the formation of the mold.

Both heating and cooling systems for large buildings will typically require replacement at some point in the future. Replacing a heating ventilation air conditioning program is easier than replacing a standard air conditioning unit. Most of the mechanisms used are internal, meaning the replacement can be done without much effort.

Heating ventilation air conditioning programs are one of the largest components of any building. They make up a large portion of the building’s energy consumption. Keeping them in a working order makes the building safer and more comfortable.