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Carolina Climate Control Blog

Zone Systems For Ductless Air Conditioning Systems Explained

Just about every family has their version of the three little bears. Mom is too cold, the kids are too hot, and dad doesn’t understand because he feels just right.

Everyone has different temperature preferences, and it’s hard to keep them all happy. Women tend to feel colder than men at the same temp, while children run warmer than the rest of us. You can end up with a situation where everyone keeps changing the thermostat up or down in the hopes of getting comfortable.

Maybe you’ve heard about ductless zone systems and wondered if they might be the answer. These systems are definitely a good way to get a room to the temperature you want. Because each ductless unit operates independently, they make a perfect combination with zoning.

Let’s look a bit at what ductless mini splits are and how they allow you to zone your home to keep everyone comfortable.


Understanding Zone Systems

The usual way an HVAC system works is an all-or-nothing approach where hot or cold air travels through the ducts to every room in the house. The system doesn’t care if there’s anyone in the room or if the room is already warm or cool enough.

With zoning, climate control no longer works that way. Instead, you can match the level of heating or cooling to the actual needs of the room or the occupant.

A zoned system means your controls allow you to regulate temps in different rooms or sections of your home. So you can keep the baby’s room warm, your room cool, and the guest room just right. It’s increasingly popular as a more efficient option than the old way.

You can add zoning to a traditional HVAC system by using dampers to open and close ducts to control how air is shared around the house. Individual thermostats for each zone let the system know when to open or close the ducts to a room. It’s a preferred choice for two-story houses over installing two separate HVAC systems.

However, there are some downsides to using the damper system. It needs to be planned carefully to avoid pressure increases inside the ductwork that can overtax your system.


Ductless Systems and Zoning

Ductless mini-split systems make a perfect pairing with zoning since there is no ductwork to worry about. Each zone not only gets its own thermostat, but its own independent unit installed up near the ceiling. That unit cools or heats its zone independent of the other units in the house.

Setting up this kind of system is more energy-efficient as a rule since it only heats and cools the parts of the house that need it. But without any ductwork, a mini-split system avoids the energy losses — up to 30 percent — that can happen with ducts, especially when they run through an unconditioned space like an attic.

A ductless system also offers you a lot of flexibility in dividing up your house into zones as you can put a unit in every room or cover just a section of your house. Working with your HVAC pro, you can determine the best setup for your home to ensure it’s adequately covered to keep you comfortable.


Benefits of Zoning Your System

We’ve discussed the benefits of ductless mini-split systems before. It’s those benefits of ductless that make it simple for you to take full advantage of the ways a zoned system can improve your home’s climate.


Better Energy Efficiency

Because each zone has its own unit, you can be flexible about when those zones run. For example, you might only want to cool a home office during working hours or start up the AC in your bedroom after it gets dark.

The flexibility of a ductless system also means you can take full advantage of the features of newer thermostats that can be programmed with different time schedules. Each unit has its own thermostat and can be configured to come on only when it’s needed, thus cutting down on unnecessary energy use.


Compensate for Difficult Spots

Every house always seems to have hot and cold spots that you struggle to get to a comfortable temp. It could be a room that faces west and is too warm in the evening or a room that faces north and never seems to warm up during the day.

A traditional system would only be able to address those trouble spots by impacting temperatures in the rest of your home. Getting those rooms warm or cool enough would turn the rest of the house into a furnace or icebox.

With ductless systems and zoning, you can get the ideal temperature in each of those areas to make them more pleasant to spend time in. You could make the trouble spot its own zone so it doesn’t have to compete with other rooms to get to a comfortable temperature.


Personal Comfort Control

Since what constitutes comfortable is a very personal thing, zoning with ductless systems can end the fight over what temperature the thermostat should be set to. Everyone can have their bedroom set to what they prefer without sending the rest of the family diving for extra covers or searching for a fan.


Is a Zoned System Right for Your Lowcountry Home?

Zone systems combined with ductless HVAC systems can be a win for everyone in your family, no matter what their temperature preferences. You can decrease your energy bills by only heating or cooling the space you use rather than the entire house.

If you’re interested in learning more about ductless air conditioning and types of zone systems, contact us for a free estimate and review of your AC needs. Our team can determine how best to set up your new system to maximize your cooling and minimize your costs.

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