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Forehead Slap Moment of the Week: Variable Speed and Zoning

Posted by Colleen Weston on Apr 26, 2012 @ 07:23 AM

Variable speed and zoning: It DOES work!Why wouldn't my contractor recommend zoning for me? I was telling him I was still uncomfortable and handing him more business on-top of the thousands I have already spent and he refused to consider installing it for me even when I mentioned the benefits I had read about." 

I was dumbfounded. 

My only thought was the long-standing battle between variable speed equipment and zoning which still crops up once in a while. While many contractors have concerns regarding zoning variable speed equipment, today's systems can overcome the common challenges experienced when these two are combined. In the past, zoning systems did not have a way to manage the blower capacity, causing it or allowing it to ramp up to high speeds when only one zone was open. When the blower reacted to the reduction in ductwork (closed zone dampers), it became noisy, short cycled and, in general, counter-productive. 

Zoning controls which have the ability to manage blower capacity allow the system to intelligently adjust to the duct capacity and deliver the air required to the distant, and usually most uncomfortable, zones. You allow the equipment to operate at a reduced capacity for more of the season while focusing that reduced capacity to the zones that are harder to reach or under a higher load.

Zoning enhances the effectiveness of variable speed equipment and the variable speed equipment allows the zoning system to have better control over the quantity of air for increased comfort.

Ultimately, it appears a common zoning misconception cost this contractor thousands in added revenue, and, most importantly, may have cost him a loyal customer. Don't let misconceptions stop you from offering a complete comfort solution.  This contractor walked away from meeting the customer's comfort expectations and set the stage for someone else to come in and complete the job. 

Do you recommend zoning on variable speed applications?

Topics: customer, Contractor, Zoning Systems, variable speed, hvac

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