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Question DetailsAsked on 4/22/2015

Atlanta-HVAC zoning system cost?

I have 2 story, 2100 square feet home. This house has only one (4 ton) HVAC unit. The house has two story family room and difference in temperature between 1st and 2nd floor is noticeable. I would like to add a zoning system so I can control the temperature better. I would like to know an approximate cost. Please advice. THANKS!

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1 Answer


Converting an existing single-zone home to a two-zone or multizone home that has a forced air conditioning system already installed can be a daunting task for even the most seasoned and experienced HVAC contractors, not to mention the home owners as well. Keep in mind that the ductwork in most homes is typically one of the first things installed during the construction phase of the home, usually right after the home is framed, and ideally BEFORE the plumbing and electical is ran in the walls and ceilings, and BEFORE the walls and ceilings are sheet-rocked. In addition, because the physical space needed to install a 2-zone ductwork system usually takes up more physical space than a single zone system, the needed space is usually staked out in advance, at the very begining of the construction phase of the home, then everything else (plumbing and electrical) is installed or built around that ductwork system.

So, based on the above, --- adding a zone system may NOT be the ideal choice, unless you are entertaining a major remodeling project and intend on vacating the house and knocking down walls and sheet-rock anyway.

On a personal note, as a licensed HVAC contractor myself, I also faced the same delemma in my own home, and decided to pursue other options first, before I would consider tearing the guts out of my home and rebuilding it back into a multizone system. However, if you are ever consider building your own home, then by all means, installing a muti-zone system as the home is being built or remodeled is a wise choice and offers many comfort and energy savings advantages and benefits, even though the up-front costs may be more expensive to install than a standard single zone home, the benefits and savings on the long haul are worth the effort, I believe.

Here are some suggestions that may accomplish your goal, without having to tear your house apart:

First and foremost, make sure your upstairs attic is WELL INSULATED. This will reduce the temperature difference between the upstairs and the downstairs.

Next, consider upgrading (if not installed already) your system to a high efficent multi-stage variable speed furnace with a 2-stage cooling system. This will help you distribute the air around your home more evenly, minimizing the typical drafts and wide temperature swings associated with conventional systems.

With the above mentioned system in place, you will be able to configure the system to run the blower fan at a very low and quiet speed that you may not hear it running at all. If done properly, when the system is not calling for heat or cool, the blower will slow down and continue running "siliently" in the background moving and exchanging the air throughout the whole home, and it does so, using very little energy. When this is done, the temperature differance between the upstairs and the downstairs virtually disappears. It's like walking in the shoppng center mall, -- its not hot, not cold, -- but just right, regardless of where you are in your home. The trick is, "keep the air moving", but do so WITHOUT drawing attention to itself. In other words, its running so quietly that nobody knows its ON, and everybody is comfortable.

By the way, this was MY SOLUTION that I applied to my home, and it actally worked -- for us. However, my solution may not be your solution. There are other options that I have not mentioned here that can also be considered, short of gutting out your house and rebuilding it again.

Answered 5 years ago by dcanova

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