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How to Set the Thermostat When You Have Two Zones

Mackenzie Maxwell

If your home is large, has two stories or boasts large windows, a two-zone HVAC system may work best for you. Learn how to set your zoned thermostats for optimal comfort.

How to Set the Thermostat When You Have Two Zones

If you have a two-story home or a large single-floor home, you may need two separate zones for heating and cooling. Effectively using these zones can afford you many benefits, but it's not always easy to know how to set each thermostat. With a little knowledge and a few great tips, you can be well on your way to a perfectly balanced home.

Benefits of Zoning Your Home

When you zone your home into different sections for heating and cooling, you may notice a wide variety of benefits. First, and perhaps most obviously, you gain more control over the temperature of your home. This may be great for people who want their bedrooms cool while they sleep but prefer the temperature to be a little warmer in the living areas.

Another excellent reason to have separate systems is that you can save serious cash on your heating and cooling bills. This is especially true for empty nesters who only use one section of the home when the kids come to visit. By shutting off that zone until you need the temperature control, you can save significantly on your bills. Furthermore, zoned systems tend to run quieter and last longer because there's less strain on the HVAC.

Types of HVAC Systems

To understand how to set the temperature in your double-zoned home, it's important to understand which type of air conditioning system you have.

Forced-air cooling and heating systems are most popular in single-zone systems, but some people have made these systems work in zones. As the name suggests, this method cools the area by forcing cool air into a space.

Hydronic systems are more common in zoned homes. This air cooling method uses water vapor to cool an area. Simply put, it removes the heat from the water and runs the air by the chilled water to cool it down. This system centralizes the task of cooling while allowing the temperatures to vary throughout the home. When heating a home, these systems remove the chill from water and use the heat to warm the home.

Setting the Temperature in a Two Story Home

Once you have a better understanding of your home's system, you can optimize your zones. If your home is zoned by levels, keep in mind that upper levels will naturally run warmer than lower ones. Because heat rises, you should aim to set the upstairs thermometer two degrees higher than the downstairs one.

Program Perfectly

Be sure that each zone has a dedicated and programmable thermostat. With today's technology, you can set bedrooms to have the perfect temperature at bedtime, the kitchen to cool down while your cooking and the living room to feel great while you spend time with your family. Think about when you use each zone, what you need the temperature to be at those times and then set your program accordingly.