Summer is here and your energy bills are going up. With Havertown, PA homeowners looking for ways to bring bills down, zoning your home may be a perfect solution. If you’ve already been considering improving your air conditioning system, zoning is absolutely something you should look into.
That means moving away from the usual one-thermostat-per-house model. Most homes have one temperature gauge in the house. You usually find it in the living room or dining room on the first floor, hanging on a wall.
The one thermostat regulates the temperature for the entire house, which comes with drawbacks. The big one is uneven cooling.
You know in the summer when you go upstairs to your bedroom and you can FEEL the temperature change as you walk up the steps. This is an extremely common problem in the summer, and part of the reason for it is your thermostat. If you have one thermostat in the hallway on the first floor, it isn’t measuring the temperature of the rest of the house. This usually leaves the upstairs feeling way less comfortable than you’d prefer.
And, that makes a big difference in the western Philadelphia suburbs. Towns like Newtown Square, Bala Cynwyd and places near Villanova University and King of Prussia have mostly single homes and ranches.
These homes don’t hold heat as well as rowhomes. And, their designs, with features like rooms over garages, often result in uneven temperatures.
What a lot of these homeowners will do is run the AC even harder to compensate for the lack of cooling upstairs. This leads to higher energy bills than needed, and sometimes a downstairs that feels too cold.
When you split up your air conditioning, you can fix that problem. Not only will this help your bills, but it allows different people to have their rooms how they prefer. This allows for you to use less energy trying to cool the ENTIRE home to the same temperature. Everyone can feel comfortable, while saving on energy costs.
Sound too good to be true? It’s really not. Let’s take a look at how it works.
Zone your air conditioning system with ductless cooling
What you need to zone your cooling system is a ductless setup, or mini-split. You’ll put new equipment in different rooms to treat each area separately. This is made easier because these systems don’t require any additional ductwork.
This system can be used to completely replace your old AC unit, or maybe you just want to treat the rooms upstairs that aren’t being cooled properly and take some burden off of your current system.
Whether you are using ductless as a complete solution or a supplement, it’s going to improve your comfort and save on energy bills. Now, let’s talk about how this works.
Instead of using ductwork and vents to disperse cool air, the mini-split uses panels, or air handlers, that mount on the wall. There will be placed in different rooms, or zones, throughout the house.
Every air handler has a thermostat on it. This way, each air handler monitors and regulates its own area. That’s the big difference from a central system with one gauge for the whole home.
These are also quickly installed, and non invasive. An hvac tech mounts the panel high on a wall. Then, the tech runs some small, flexible plastic tubing through the walls. That connects to a pump outside. It doesn’t require any construction, and you’ll barely notice any of it is there.
How zoning your heating system uses less energy
A new ductless hvac system uses less energy than a central setup by:
- Not cooling rooms when it isn’t needed
- Running less cooling to zones that aren’t being used
- Using fewer resources in the spring and fall
Suppose you want your bedroom at 72 degrees when you go to bed, but when you set the thermostat at 72, the bedrooms really stay around 79-80. This may cause you to crank the AC to 68 degrees to compensate like we mentioned earlier. This will not only eat up your energy bill, but it will also make your living room and first floor FREEZING when you wake up.
With the mini-split, each air handler has its own gauge. You can set the ones upstairs to that ideal 72, and leave the ones downstairs around 75, so you aren’t using tons of energy overnight. This saves you a ton of money, and makes it FAR easier to get comfortable.
Then when you wake up, turn the handlers upstairs back to 78 or so, and turn the handlers downstairs back to the 72 you prefer. This way you are constanly saving energy while staying comfortable.
You can use less power in the spring and fall. We call those the “shoulder seasons,” because they’re in between the peak heating time of winter and air conditioner use in the summer. But before we get into that, let’s look at how the components themselves save you money.
Ductless cooling saves money
We looked at ways you that ductless HVAC is more efficient than central HVAC setups. That means saving money. On top of that, the components themselves use less power. That equals even more savings.
That starts outside with the pump. It’s the component that actually generates the cooling you feel inside. The pump uses a little bit of power to kickstart a heat transfer process, that kicks hot air out and cool air in.
There’s some wonky science stuff behind how it works. But the gist is that the pump doesn’t use lots power to generate cooling. Instead, it needs only a little electricity to kickstart a process that actually does the work.
Inside, the air handlers have what’s called “inverter technology.” This works a lot like cruise control in your car.
Unlike older setups, they can be set to more than just “on” or “off.” Instead, once the temperature is where you want it, a panel “cruises” on a low, power-saver mode to maintain it.
That’s much more efficient than firing up to cool the room, shutting off, and then turning back on when the room rises a few degrees. And, it can save you even more money during those shoulder seasons.
Now, homeowners can use just the mini-split in the first few weeks of fall or spring. That’s when it’s still chilly enough for heat but not so cold you need your hvac on full blast.
This way, you’re going a few more weeks each year without using the older, less efficient system. Instead, you’re keeping warm with lower bills.
Rebates and discounts
Of course, installing a new hvac system is a significant investment. But, there are savings to be had on that part of the process, too.
The panels and heat pump are Energy Star appliances. They meet government standards showing they are more efficient than comparable systems. That translates into upfront savings.
In DelCo and Montgomery County, PECO actually offers money back to homeowners who install these more efficient appliances. Your new setup fits that bill. Depending on what you’re using, you can get a rebate anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to over $2,000.
That takes a big chunk out of the purchasing and installation costs. Then, after that, you’re seeing more savings every month with lower bills. With all that, it doesn’t take long at all before your new system pays for itself.
Do you want to zone your air conditioning system to save energy and money? Contact us, and we’ll design a system that’s perfect for you!