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The rising energy costs and inflation in Australia make many people look for ways to reduce power usage and cut the costs of energy bills. One way to do that is to use ducted air conditioners with zoning features.

This article explores how to zone ducted air conditioning. You can learn about ducted air conditioning zones, the benefits of ducted air conditioner zoning, and parts of zoned air conditioning systems.

This post also discusses how ducted air conditioning zoning works, types of air conditioner zoning controls, tips to zone ducted air conditioning, and what to consider during ducted air conditioning installations. Let's dive in!

What is a Ducted Air Conditioning Zone?

A ducted air conditioning zone is a specific area with individual climate control in your home or building. Ducted air conditioners have a central cooling unit that distributes cool air to every area of your home. The aircon system of ducted systems is divided into zones or regions for independent cooling and heating.

As such, you can usually turn air flow on or off to 'zone' areas. This helps to reduce the system's air conditioning capacity requirements. In addition, you also reduce running costs.

Benefits of Ducted Air Conditioner Zoning

Ducted air cons are also referred to as reverse cycle air conditioning systems. They are great if you have a large home with more than three bedrooms. You will be able to regulate temperatures and stay comfortable efficiently. It is also a good option for commercial air conditioning.

These benefits are enhanced because of the zoning effect. There are several benefits of zoning in air conditioning systems.

  • You can better heat and cool only regularly used areas of your home. Zoning systems are, therefore, more energy efficient.
  • The load on your air conditioner is reduced. Consequently, you have lower energy costs.
  • Zoning systems help you to personalise your comfort as each zone can have discrete temperature settings for individual needs. Climate control is, therefore, better.
  • Ducted air conditioners may have home air purifiers that act as air filtration and purification systems. As such, they can help remove allergens, mould, and dust from the air.

Parts of Zoned Air Conditioning Systems

Ducted air conditioning zoning allows you to heat or cool each area or zone of your home selectively instead of acting on the entire building at the same temperature. Several components make this zoning system possible.

The parts or components of a zoned air conditioning system include the following:

  • Indoor unit for delivering air that is temperature controlled.
  • The outside unit connects to the indoor unit and pumps fresh air inside. It also expels heat from the indoor unit.
  • Vents: these are ceiling gaps that help deliver air to each zone.
  • Control Units: you can use a phone app or wall-mounted tablet to select zone temperature.
  • Sensors: the thermostat sensors measure and regulate the temperature of each zone.
  • Zone Dampers: These help control airflow into zones. The thermostat instructs the damper to open when an area needs more cooling or heating.

How Ducted Air Conditioning Zoning Works

With ducted air conditioning zoning, you aim to cool specific areas or spaces of your home instead of the entire house. This is done using mechanical valves referred to as zone dampers. The dampers make it possible to turn a zone on or off, which in turn determines whether conditioned air is provided or not provided.

For example, if the dampers in your kitchen and bedroom are open and all others are closed, only the kitchen and bedroom areas will be cooled. Using your air conditioning unit this way helps you to conserve energy and get the most out of it.

You can start your home air conditioning system zoning process by adding thermostats to each room or specific area. This will enable the cooling of only specific areas as needed.

Types of Air Conditioner Zoning Controls

The major types of air conditioner zone controllers include the following:

Standalone controllers

Standalone controllers allow you to control zones rather than the air conditioner. It is cheap and has an integrated manufacturer controller with a control pad on the wall.

Smart air conditioning zone controllers

This type of zone control has a single controller that controls the zones and the unit. Smart zone controllers have zone temperature control and built-in Wi-Fi integration. This means they have individual room sensors integrated with individual temperature control.

In addition, they do not require a 'constant zone.' Instead, the controller is programmed with an automatic 'relief' zone. Smart zone controllers can balance airflow between rooms by changing each zone's opening percentage. Overall, smart zone control systems improve temperature control, making the air conditioner more energy efficient.

Tips to Zone Ducted Air Conditioning

You can use the following tips to zone ducted air conditioners:

Plan the length and layout of ducts

The cold air creates more pressure resistance from airflow when they have to move over longer distances. This, therefore, means that longer ducts tend to have reduced air volume delivery. It also means that rooms that are zoned together with extensive ductwork tend to lose airflow.

This is why professional air conditioning technicians use minimal ductwork between zones and excellent layouts to help reduce pressure. Similarly, your air conditioner's indoor unit needs to be located so it is easy to get ducting to areas such as ground floors to air condition them.

Zone-insulated rooms together

Insulated rooms can trap the cool air and keep sunlight out of them. They are thus more effective at getting to the desired temperature. Therefore, it would help if you zoned insulated rooms together for better efficiency. This is more effective than putting an insulated and uninsulated zone together.

Select a "constant" zone

You may need to choose a constant zone. A constant zone is an area or zone that continually receives air as the system operates. It is constantly being cooled or heated. Therefore, such areas act as a system relief valve when all zones get closed inadvertently while your system runs.

The constant zone makes it possible for cool air or hot air to mix into the air that returns to the indoor unit. Another advantage of the constant is that it functions as a spill zone. Without it, the air conditioning system over-cools a single open zone (since all other zones are closed) and may damage the ducted air conditioning system.

Ducted Air Conditioners Vs Split Systems

Air conditioners are beneficial during summer; many people turn to their split systems. However, ducted air conditioning is becoming an increasing favourite in many homes. Here are some reasons why this is so.

Ducted air conditions are energy-efficient and cost-effective throughout the year.

The ducted air conditioning system only needs a small vent in each room to heat and cool the area. You do not need to buy several split systems for every room. A single unit does the work.

Considerations for Installation of Ducted AC

An excellent installation process is needed for you to get the best from a ducted air conditioner. Here are some things you should consider for such installations.

Choice of ducted air conditioning zone controllers

It would be best if you considered the compatibility of the ducted zone control system with your ducted air conditioner model. There are various options for ducted air conditioning zone control. You may opt for Advantage Air's Zone 6 control system since it is compatible with ducted air con brands such as Fujitsu and Mitsubishi electric air conditioners.

Other brands of zone controller systems include:

Use licensed and qualified air conditioning experts

It is best to use qualified and licenced air conditioning technicians when installing ducted aircons with AC zoning. Air conditioning technicians can also provide installation, maintenance, and air conditioning repair services for ducted air conditioners, split system ACs, and portable air conditioners.They can advise you on what type of zone controller suits your home and the merits of basic zoning vs. smart zoning controls.

Hire Professionals for Zoning of Ducted AC

You have now read up on how to zone ducted air conditioning, the benefits of ducted air conditioner zoning, how ducted air conditioning zoning works, and tips to zone ducted air conditioning. Again, it is best to use expert and experienced professionals to install and zone ducted air cons.

They are more likely to do a good job. They can also provide excellent heating and cooling solutions such as evaporative cooling and gas ducted heating systems. Likewise, they can help you install multi-split system air conditioning, Mitsubishi air conditioners, or Daikin ducted systems.