Is an auto zoning system worth the $$$?

stinky-gardenerJune 1, 2011

Hi! Do I have questions! Have been in my house for 5 years now, and the furnace is on the fritz! I'm planning to replace my 24-year old system with a Trane 95% Gas Furnace with Variable speed blower, & Trane 4 ton air conditioner 48000 BTU, 15 SEER.

My house is a two-story that has 2600 sq. ft. The above items, installation, coil, thermostat, media filter, 10 yr. warranty and 2 yr. maintenance contract will run $9,419.00.

If I want to add an automatic zoning system so that I have a thermostat both up and downstairs, that costs an additional $2,850.00.

Is this extra expense worth it? Is there really a significant improvement with the zoning system? Does this price sound right? I was told I could also do something called a manual zoning system, that needs to be re-balanced twice a year, for $300.00.

I think if I do anything extra, I'll go for the auto-zoning, but really wonder about the additional,significant expense.

Also, I have a sunroom that is around 400-500 square feet. It is an oven in the summer, and a freezer in the winter. Got an estimate for a mini-split that ran $4,310.00. That sounds really high. Is there a cheaper alternative?

I live in Southeastern Virgninia.

Thanks for any feedback or suggestions!

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baldloonie

IF DONE RIGHT (and usually isn't) zoning is great for comfort. Lots harder to do right with existing ducts than designing a duct system from scratch.

Mini split heat pumps are rather pricey but sure are nice. Whisper quiet and extremely efficient.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 11:07PM
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david_cary

The zoning is worth it if you have a real problem with temperature stratification (and you probably do) and if it is done right.

You probably should back up and question the system you are planning on getting. I would first say that you would probably have lower utility bills by backing down the furnace efficiency and go with a heat pump (that would depend on your gas and electric rates). The install cost could be a wash.

I'd really ask what they are planning to do with the ducts for that zoning price. You see, your ducts are probably set up to flow enough for 4 tons. If you are trying to cool just the upstairs, then you are ramming 4 tons worth of air flow into about half of the ductwork.

I think your overall cost is a little high but that is region dependent.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 5:04AM
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stinky-gardener

Thanks for your reply, Baldloonie! Good to know.

David, I feel a little lost when reading your reply, but I know for sure that *you* know what you are talking about!

Okay, so I should ask what they are planning to do with the ducts. Lost me after that. Also, is the furnace too high a SEER, is that what you mean?

Would you try to negotiate the price on the zoning? What if I could get it for $2,000? What do you think my overall price should be?

Do you live in Cary, NC? Nice area. I think your cost of living is a little lower than ours, but not hugely so. I live in Virginia Beach.

Thanks so much for your feedback!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 6:59AM
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stinky-gardener

Also, when you say, "zoning is worth it if you have a real problem with temperature stratification..." How do I know there's a real problem w/stratification, or if the issue is just how old my current system is? I do have a very large master bed/bath on the 2nd floor. Then there is a smaller bath, a very small room, a tiny laundry area and another fairly large room on the 2nd floor.

Thanks!!!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 7:05AM
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