two zone heating system


Old 11-22-99, 03:24 PM
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I am planning to build a new house which will be around 3400 SF. My friend told me that I need to have a two-zone heating system because of the size of the house, one for upstairs and one for downstairs. This means that I will also need to have two air conditioners and two humidifiers. My budget is pretty tight so do I really need to have a two-zone heater(I was told that a two-zone heater cost around $3000)? I don't want to spend that much of money but am also afraid that if I don't install it now, can I add it in the future? Will it be more expensive if I have it done in the future?
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Old 11-22-99, 03:25 PM
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You should be able to zone by using a carefully thought out duct system and strategically placed thermostatically controlled motorized dampers and fans.
Old 09-08-04, 09:57 AM
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The benifit of having the 2 zone system rather that a second system is the cost difference for one. The zones are ment to better control the temp.all over the house rather than one system where the upstairs might be 5 deg. cooler than the rest of the house espically if you have a bopnus room above the garague. That usually gets the coldest of them all. If youi install the 2 zone system it would be much eaiser to do it at the beiining og the job than later since you would have to disconnect all the upstairs runs from the existing duct and run a new trunk for your second floor. The cost of the zone is much cheaper than going with a whole new system for the upstairs. Hope taht helps ya out
Old 09-08-04, 11:15 AM
Ed Imeduc's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Mountain Williams Missouri
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Will it be more expensive if I have it done in the future?
Oh you bet for sure.

3400sq ft home. You are trying to save here in the wrong place go for 2 units for up and down. Dont do dampers in the duct with one unit. Why have a big unit run for just one zone

Now when you build a home like this think about it. The heat and AC units and duct work ,The plumbing and the electric in the home its there for a longtime so do it right the first time. For now you can cut back on the lights and hang better ones latter on.get better faucets latter. With the water line in get the humidifier later. You can cut cost now on things that can be worked on later . But not the duct work and units or the inside plumbing and electric.
Been at this for a long time my .02cents

Old 11-01-07, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
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2 zone system

I ahve to agree with ed 110 %. Your heating and cooling systems are one of your infastructures of your home. Do it the RIGHT way first time. This is not an area to second guess. Working on a tight budget, this will help with your fuel costs and therefore the nice fixtures,faucets and etc. can wait. their something that can always be changed later. good luck
Old 11-01-07, 06:43 PM
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2 systems is not a 2 zone home. 1 system with 2 zones is a two zone home. I'm with Ed you need TWO system. It will save you on electric cost. No humidifier in attic system.
Old 11-17-08, 08:18 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Philadelphia
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Angry Dual zone system from hell

I have a full dual system, 2 of each. The upstairs has all registers in the ceiling. The downstairs is set up for air: registers in the floor and returns high up on the walls.
The upper stairwell has no registers. Each room upstairs has lots of feeds and returns. Air velocity is low enough upstairs that you can't hear the flow. Balance is awful. Hard to heat the whole room in winter, i.e. cold layer stays on the floor. 74 at ceiling and 54 at bed level. Nasty.
First floor is generally fine but hot air rises and overheates second floor. Spring and Fall are nuts. A/C on upstairs to combat heat and heater on the first floor to combat cold conduction from many large windows as well as cold air falling from second floot. A/C and heater are feeding each other. Attic insulation is thick. First floor air velocity is the same but more audible. 2 2.5 ton systems, gas heat all in basement of new home. builder's consultant said that the ceiling registers were OK since the air was supposed to mix and bleed out. My evidence says he missed the obvious. Hot air loves to stay near the ceiling feed and flows right out the return like an upside down tub. Cold air loves to fall and needs to be drawn back into the heater without too much of a hassle. Air feed velocity is at motor max. Should be more trouble in summer with the denser cold air but winter seems worse.
Old 11-18-08, 04:54 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 458
I am currently installing two furnaces with 3 zones in a house. The upstairs has its own furnace, pretty straight forward except that the furnace is in the basement so the ducts run through the main floor and then through the floor trusses. The other furnace is zoned between the main floor and fully finished basement. It took me at least half a day to plan all my duct runs before I even cut into the house. As complicated as this one is, its going to be a very comfortable home when it is finished. Also the home has an HRV with hepa filtration for recirculation, a ducted dehumidifier in the finished basement, a whole house fan above the balcony upstairs, a pair of humidifiers, baseboard electric in basement rooms at owners request and two stage heating and cooling. Zoned systems can be very effective but they have to be planned very carefully and the correct controls applied.

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