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Old 09-07-2012, 10:08 AM   #1
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Converting 1 zone home to 2


Our current house is single zoned. It's a forced hot air & central a/c setup.

As you would expect, down in the basement there is a baffle for each primary duct (The one diverted to the upper floor, and the one for the lower.) There are no individual baffles for other parts of the room.

I've been carefully moving the baffle handles to bias the bottom floor for heating and the upper floor in the summer, as suggested to me by the guy who installed the central a/c.

This is never ideal, so I'd like 2 zone heating. Not to have various temperatures, but to keep the entire house at the same level.

Where do I start? The first company I asked about this ended up suggesting these very expensive Honeywell thermostats for wireless connection that seemed to have been around for a long time in the market. I'm suspicious that there should be by now inexpensive alternatives, including 2 zone wifi. Looking around online isn't yielding much. Plus, I'm not planning on doing the physical installation downstairs anyway.

So I'm a dog chasing his own tail at this point. Fundamental suggestions would be a help.

THANKS IN ADVANCE

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Old 09-07-2012, 06:00 PM   #2
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Converting 1 zone home to 2


Look at Honeywell HZ311 zone panel and dampers. I had my upper and lower level zoned, and it cost under 1k. I found the parts online and it cost about $400 for parts, which included 2 motorized dampers, the HZ311 zone panel, a 52v transformer, 1 DATS, 1 honeywell wireless panel, and 1 wireless honeywell thermostat.

Good luck

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Old 09-08-2012, 10:58 AM   #3
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Converting 1 zone home to 2


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Originally Posted by rebelranger View Post
Look at Honeywell HZ311 zone panel and dampers. I had my upper and lower level zoned, and it cost under 1k. I found the parts online and it cost about $400 for parts, which included 2 motorized dampers, the HZ311 zone panel, a 52v transformer, 1 DATS, 1 honeywell wireless panel, and 1 wireless honeywell thermostat.

Good luck
Hey thanks! Once I did that, how many hours would it take to hire an HVAC pro to install it? Roughly...... (Trying to weigh options).
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:23 AM   #4
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Converting 1 zone home to 2


That will depend on your HVAC layout. My layout is considered "the best" because it is metal duct with one large main feed and the rooms are branches. If you have a different duct layout it will take longer. Additionally all my duct it exposed along the basement ceiling and garage ceiling. If yours is covered it will take longer. The whole install of mine was done in about two hours....every install is different though
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:11 PM   #5
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Converting 1 zone home to 2


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That will depend on your HVAC layout. My layout is considered "the best" because it is metal duct with one large main feed and the rooms are branches. If you have a different duct layout it will take longer. Additionally all my duct it exposed along the basement ceiling and garage ceiling. If yours is covered it will take longer. The whole install of mine was done in about two hours....every install is different though
Everything is exposed, basement and attic, but in my case I think it should be entirely a basement activity:

I have two large ducts split from the main, each with their own damper. Each room branches off of each floor's duct.

In your setup, did you have more than 2 dampers? Additional confusion: My neighbor of years ago said that when he converted his from 1 to 2 zone they put in this strange diverter that would decide which floor to heat/cool....this meant only one floor at a time received the air. It never made any sense to me. Isn't it better just to have each damper independently controlled?
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:00 PM   #6
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Converting 1 zone home to 2


Ok I'll do my best to explain this. When you have a T duct supply the airhandler/furnace is the center of the T with the duct going to one way (downstairs) and the other side of the T going one way (upstairs). Each zone gets a thermostat. When the upstairs thermostat makes a call, say cooling, the left damper (the one for the downstairs) closes and forces all the air upstairs. This works for both directions or if they both make a cooling call both dampers are opened. If one makes a cool call and the other a heating call, it is 1st come 1st serve. Now to make a third zone you can put dampers in each branch off the main trunk. So say you zone your downstairs basement when the basement makes a call the upstairs damper closes and the downstairs branch dampers close but the basement dampers open. So all your air goes to the open zone dampers and is stopped at the closed zone dampers.

You have to be able to close off the areas where you don't want air and you do that via dampers. Each independent damper is controlled by it's zone thermostat.

Just call a PRO HVAC tech, and he'll do everything. With zoning you have to worry about over temps, bypassing the excessive air, freezing coils, and increased static pressure that can destroy your blower fan.
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:51 AM   #7
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Converting 1 zone home to 2


Edit: Nevermind. Wrong answer to the question asked. I should stick to replying while drunk.







Quote:
The first company I asked about this ended up suggesting these very expensive Honeywell thermostats for wireless connection that seemed to have been around for a long time in the market. I'm suspicious that there should be by now inexpensive alternatives, including 2 zone wifi. Looking around online isn't yielding much. Plus, I'm not planning on doing the physical installation downstairs anyway.
I got a suggestion but its not inexpensive. Look into the nest thermostat.
It is without a doubt the most expensive thermostat I have ever bought. Its self learning, so you dont need to program it. It has a auto away that will lower the temp if it does not sense anyone in the room after 2hrs, plus a bunch of other features. Actually heres the link http://www.nest.com/

No I do not sell, install or represent this company in any way.

Last edited by retro; 09-14-2012 at 08:54 AM. Reason: I was sober
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Old 09-14-2012, 03:13 PM   #8
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Converting 1 zone home to 2


The Nest won't help keep his 2 levels the same temp.

Honeywell has wireless thermostat zoning systems.
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:49 PM   #9
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Converting 1 zone home to 2


ah,,, what about his return(s) if there is only one thats not so good for a zoned system, from what I understand...

a return in zone 1 and zone 2 would be optimal, with dampners on them too????

also what about bypass air ducts, so the static pressure does not get too high???

As normal, I might be all wet with these questions, so please feel free to tell me so!!!
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by bobinphx View Post
ah,,, what about his return(s) if there is only one thats not so good for a zoned system, from what I understand...

a return in zone 1 and zone 2 would be optimal, with dampners on them too????

also what about bypass air ducts, so the static pressure does not get too high???

As normal, I might be all wet with these questions, so please feel free to tell me so!!!
A single return while not ideal for a zoned system, is not 100% a bad thing either, since it can help to minimize short cycles in the zone that has the return.

Dampers in the returns if he had or installs more return is not needed.

A bypass damper will most likely be needed, and is not a hard thing to install. Since his 2 zones will be almost the same size, the bypass damper won't need to be real big.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:40 AM   #11
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Converting 1 zone home to 2


There is a return on each floor. I'm still not clear why that matters though....seems [to me, an ignorant layman] like cart-before-the-horse thinking. What matters is the heat coming into the rooms. If the upstairs is affected by the heat bleeding upwards, then the upstairs would ask for less. (no?)

Last edited by tgm1024; 09-18-2012 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:38 PM   #12
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Converting 1 zone home to 2


Reason return matters, is because you have a crappy supply system. Your supply registers aren't throwing the air to the ceiling like they should for cooling. The return aids by removing the warmest air in cooling mode.

A/C generally relies on a mixing of the cold supply air with the warm/hot room air, with poor air throw, very little mixing is done, causing the room not to be cool.

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