Improving Comfort Based on Lifestyle Pattern
After considering all the internal and external factors discussed in our blog post on “How Home Design & Orientation affect your comfort,” you may be considering changes or improvements to your heating and cooling system. Before investing in new equipment or other upgrades to your comfort systems, there are a few factors to consider about your existing system, and your lifestyle patterns.
Determine your Lifestyle pattern
One of the most critical influences on your comfort is how your family uses your home. In the tables below, fill in how your family typically utilizes the home during weekdays and weekends in each season.
This exercise shows a pattern in how you use your home, which we call a Lifestyle Pattern. For instance, you may use the upstairs only during sleeping hours while the kitchen and living room are most frequently occupied in the evenings and weekends. The whole home may be utterly unoccupied during workday hours. By plotting your lifestyle pattern, you can see where you are wasting energy in your home. Additionally, you can see where and when you need conditioning in specific areas throughout the day.
While you only use some areas of your home, your heating and air conditioning system works to heat and cool your entire house, not just the occupied rooms. The result is costly and wastes energy as your HVAC system works longer to condition spaces that do not need it and are unused.
During the weekday, our home is empty (except for pets)
Our household is usually asleep: 11pm-6am
Determining the rooms you spend the most AWAKE hours in will help when creating a plan for conditioning your air in the most effective and efficient manner
Rate the usage of the living space in your home:
- Never use – except for rare occasions
- Rarely use – just a few hours each week
- Spend about 50% of our time in this room
- Frequently use
- Except for when we are at work – there is always someone in this room
What can you do to improve this situation?
To combat wasted energy by your heating and cooling system, your heating and air conditioning contractor can install a zoning system. Zoning solves the issues associated with a single thermostat by putting the control where it’s needed when it’s wanted. It provides the comfort and control you expect in your home while using less energy to operate your heating and cooling equipment. As energy costs rise, homeowners are challenged to develop ways to cut expenses. With a zoning system, you are no longer forced to choose between your comfort and energy savings. By dividing your home into distinct comfort zones and giving each its own thermostat, you can regulate the temperature and timing of heating/cooling by room. Areas that aren’t being used are simply shut off from receiving conditioned air, reducing the energy your home needs.
Before you meet with your contractor to discuss zoning your home, determine which rooms require custom control. Group rooms together with similar usage patterns or areas that may be troublesome to condition. When you are laying out your zones, or distinct areas, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- South facing rooms may be combined
- Rooms that are shaded or face the north become another zone
- Combine rooms on the same level when the home has multiple stories
- The master bedroom, a bonus room or a basement might make up their own zone
- Rooms with common usage patterns such as combining bedrooms together (provided they are on the same level)
- Consider creating equally sized zone areas
When considering which zoning system to install, ask about the Arzel® Zoning system. It features retrofit dampers which control the flow of air and can be installed in most existing application without any need to reconfigure your ductwork.
For more information on the features and benefits of Arzel® Zoning systems or to find a local HVAC contractor, visit www.arzelcomfort.com/contractor-locator