HVAC Zoning

psp212August 2, 2012

We are gut renovating a four story narrow townhouse. Our square footage per floor is approximately 680. We are in a row, so only our front and back walls could be considered exterior. Our orientation is generally East/West. We are creating 2 zones for HVAC. (4 zones too expensive.) We are now in middle of debate with a couple of engineers over how to zone specifically. One says 1 zone should be the front of the house, all four floors and the other zone the back of the house. The other says the first two floors should be 1 zone, and the upper 2 floors should be another. It seems to us, that the more cost effective option for heating/cooling bills would be the first two floors 1 zone, upper 2 floors the other. Any thoughts? Thanks!

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Can you describe what is the use of each floor? This will help determine the zoning options.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 3:34PM
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Yes -- the garden level has a play room, an office, and bathroom. The 1st level is completely open living/dining/kitchen. The 2nd level is 2 bedrooms, bathroom. 3rd level is 2 bedrooms, bath, and laundry room. We have a basement that is not getting heating/cooling at this point. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 3:57PM
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It makes the most sense to make the two bedroom floors one zone, and the lower two floors the other zone. This way you can keep the lower two floors cool during the day while having the bedrooms warmer. At night you would cool down the bedrooms, and raise the temperture of the lower two floors. This is the best way to manage both cost and comfort.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Thanks. It seems like common sense to me to do it that way. I would be interested to hear an argument for the other zoning method if anyone has one!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 5:18PM
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Have you though of mini split ductless? You zone each level that way.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 5:40PM
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Theoretical argument for front/back zoning would be that cooling load on west glass can be higher than east. You may be able to use smaller tonnage system on east, larger on west, and have maybe some better redundancy with that setup.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 7:23PM
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We had mini split ductless priced out, and was more expensive than forced air. Also, we want filtration due to severe allergies in the family.

I can see the theoretical argument for front/back -- however, we only have two windows on the west side at each level (like I said the house is narrow) so not sure that it would make that much difference.

Thanks for your comments.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 8:12PM
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