Zoned HVAC Delivers That Perfect Room Temperature

Zoned HVAC Delivers That Perfect Room Temperature

Photo via iStockPhoto.com

When people say "room temperature" what do they mean?

One episode of the now-off-the-air sitcom "Community" featured an HVAC school that had "the room" where room temperature was recorded. When Troy, one of the characters walked into that space with the perfect environment, he said, " I can't tell where the air ends and my skin begins."

That's what people want from their HVAC systems. Comfort is king, and homeowners want to take control.

A National Association of Home Builders survey, “What Homebuyers Really Want,” revealed that more than half of U.S. homeowners say the quality of their home’s HVAC system is essential. A quality HVAC system ranked third among individual home components that homeowners value most, behind only windows and roofing. ENERGY STAR® rated appliances were rated either essential or desirable by 94 percent of homeowners in this same survey.

Zoning technology can give people the control over their comfort they crave. Technology such as mini splits and VRF units are making it easier to divide a home into zones. VRF — variable refrigerant flow — has been used in Japan since the 1980s, and most manufacturers are in the Asia region.

Like ductless mini splits, VRFs circulate refrigerant through an outdoor condensing unit through multiple fan-coil units inside the building. A single outdoor unit can supply several indoor units, up to nine depending on the model. Systems designed with Heat Recovery (HR) systems have the ability to simultaneously heat certain zones while cooling others, so everyone can create a comfortable zone in the home.

VRFs have been the system of choice in Europe, Japan, China and other parts of the world for quite some time. Over the past 5 to 10 years, VRF HVAC technology has become increasingly popular in the US and especially in large urban areas where the small footprint and quiet operation are valued.

Variable Refrigerant Flow, or VRF HVAC systems, have been the HVAC system of choice in Europe, Japan, China and other parts of the world for quite some time. Over the past 5 to 10 years, VRF HVAC technology has become increasingly popular in the US and especially in large urban areas where the small footprint and quiet operation are valued.

Instead of one large, noisy unit pumping out air to the whole space, a VRF HVAC system features several smaller air handlers that can be individually controlled and piped back to one system. The term variable refrigerant flow, or VRF, refers to the system’s ability to control the amount of refrigerant flowing to each of these small air handlers.

Depending on the setup, it can be controlled down to individual rooms, such as turning off the HVAC when you leave a bedroom like you would turn off the lights. Zoned technology allows homeowners to cool or heat the rooms they use the most (such as the living room) while saving energy in less used areas of the house (such as a guest bedroom).

You could put an end to the thermostat wars in your home. And if you're lucky, you'll have the room temperature you've always wanted.


Topics: Connected Homes / Smart Homes, Energy Star, Heating & Cooling, Indoor Air Quality, Ventilation



Gary Wollenhaupt

Gary Wollenhaupt is an experienced writer and editor, with a background as a daily newspaper reporter as well as corporate and agency public relations and marketing. He is constantly looking for affordable green upgrades to make to his home in eastern Kentucky.

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