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Business Insights: Zoning

Originally published: 03.01.17 by HVACR Business Staff

Business Insights: Zoning

Raise Customer Satisfaction

Zoning systems will give your customers a level of comfort they never thought possible.


Installing zoning systems has many advantages, both for homeowners and for contractors. The biggest, however, is that both parties are happy with the results. Customers are not only satisfied with the installation, they’re actually excited about the new comfort system they have in their home.

A home without a zoning system will leave someone uncomfortable, somewhere in the home. It’s too much to expect one thermostat to prvide perfect conditions for every room in your customer’s home.

“Most residential jobs can benefit from the installation of a zoning system,” says John Karcher, a partner with Thermal Service of NJ, Inc. in Edison, N.J. “Here in New Jersey most homes are two-story’s and the number one complaint that we hear is uneven temperatures from the first floor to the 2nd floor.”

Karcher says they always try to have the customer tell them when and where they are uncomfortable, and then recommend the solutions. Zoning systems affords Thermal Service of NJ’s customers additional control without the need for additional costly equipment. It’s cost effective and the energy savings, he says, quickly pays back the customer.

HVACR Business spoke with Karcher about the advantages of forced air zoning and the benefits of using a smart by-pass damper.

John Karcher
Thermal Services of N.J.


FOLLOW UP: Want to learn more? Request zoning system manuals, submittal sheets and technical bulletins from EWC Controls today:

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How do you maintain proper airflow when designing a zoning system?

We always follow ACCA’s Manual D specifications when designing residential systems. Now that ACCA has come out with Manual Zr for residential zoning we have been using their guidelines. EWC Controls has trained us on the particulars of Manual Zr and how it relates to the jobs that we install. We are firm believers in the use of a properly sized By-Pass damper to maintain and control the operating static pressure of the installed system.

What benefits does a by-pass damper offer?

The biggest benefit that we get from the use of a by-pass damper, is that we know we are going to constantly move a proper amount of airflow through the HVAC system at all times. When the by-pass is properly sized, and when the by-pass can insure that we are going to maintain the design operating static pressure of the HVAC system the benefits are equipment efficiency and homeowner comfort.

Why is it important to relieve air pressure in the ducts?

All systems are designed to move a certain amount of air for the size and shape of the building they will serve. This includes the equipment, duct system, registers, and all other components that come in contact with the air being produced. If you close off any portion of that airflow in the duct system, you create a backpressure. That backpressure can cause damage to the equipment, will cause an unacceptable noise level for the homeowner, and reduce the life expectancy of the overall HVAC system. Properly sizing and installing a By-Pass damper eliminates all of those issues.

Have you seen an increase in EER on systems where you’ve used by-pass dampers?

We don’t get the chance to monitor all of our installations, but we do get a lot of feedback from our customers. They overwhelmingly are 100% satisfied with the comfort and energy savings that our zoning installations provide. I have viewed the EWC Controls study that was published by AHRI and I would agree that when a zoning system is installed based on Manual Zr, you will not get any negative results out of the EER’s performance.

Is it difficult to install a by-pass damper?

A By-Pass damper is the easiest part of the job to install. EWC Controls provides two styles of by-pass dampers, one of them, the SBD is a self-adjusting design, so there is no set up at all. They also have new mechanical design that is just as easy to install with a turn of a knob. These are foolproof ways to make the by-pass install effortless.

How do you select the products you use when designing zoning systems?

Thermal Service has always partnered with EWC Controls. Although each installation requires different materials, EWC Controls has always provided us with the support that we need to properly select the necessary controls for the installation.

Early on they provided us with design help on how to install and select the required equipment for each zoning system, they have always been easy to do business with. Our local distributor, Dunphey-Smith carries plenty of inventory and stocks everything.



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