Can Zone Damper System Save You Money and Is It Really Worth It?

On average, an HVAC zoning system is going to cost you $1,700-$4,500. Is such equipment worth the investment?

A zone damper system can help you save up to 30% on energy costs if used correctly. Such a system will increase your house’s comfort levels and can also prolong the life of your HVAC system as it wouldn’t have to work at full capacity all the time. 

Is Zone Damper System Worth It and Can Save You Money?

A zoning system uses dampers to direct the conditioned air only to the zones that need it. As a result, you won’t be constantly heating or cooling your whole house – and that’s a great plus.

So, even though zoned HVAC systems are relatively expensive, they do offer quite a few energy-saving benefits:

  1. You can control the temperature in the different areas of your house independently.
  2. You can completely seal off the unused rooms (guest rooms, for example) and get them back to a normal temperature once you need them.
  3. As the HVAC system is not working at full capacity all day long, you’ll be able to increase the lifespan of the equipment

Read: Why HVAC Zone Damper Not Working? Troubleshooting Guide

How a Zone Control System Will Save You Money?

If properly installed and used, a zone control system can help you save up to 20-30% on energy costs.

Your HVAC system will not be constantly heating and cooling the whole house – and that is huge a money saver on its own. The system’s prolonged lifespan is another bonus that you (and your wallet) would be able to take advantage of.

Read: Why Dual Zone AC Not Working In One Zone? Troubleshooting Guide

Is Zoned Heating Worth It?

A zoned HVAC is an investment that will be able to save you money in the long run. But the truth is that not every house can benefit from zoning.

You should consider getting such a system if:

  • Your house has two or more stories
  • You have a livable basement
  • Your family members have different temperature preferences
  • There are rooms in the house that experience hot and cold spots
  • Your rooms have high ceilings and/or large windows

A zoned system might not be worth the splurge if you have a very small house. 

By the way, don’t forget to inspect the insulation before making the decision, as you won’t be able to take advantage of the benefits that zoning has to offer in case you have poor insulation. 

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Zone Damper?

Depending on the type of damper, be prepared to pay anywhere between $70 and $340.

Some other elements of a zoned system include:

  • Thermostats ($100-$600)
  • Zone sensors (up to $60)
  • A zone control panel ($120-$300)

Read: What Are Zoned HVAC System Problems?

Are HVAC Dampers Worth It?

When used together with a programmable thermostat, dampers can lead to energy savings of around 35% (but only in case you manage to take great care of the equipment).

A zoned HVAC system is a bit more complicated than a regular heating and cooling system. It consists of more elements and, naturally, the chances of something breaking down are higher.

Dampers can get stuck or their motor can fail altogether. That’s why it’s incredibly important to have a professional perform regular system check-ups.

Read: Why Ecobee Thermostat Runs For 5 Mins And Then Shuts Off?

How Much to Install Dampers in Existing Ductwork?

It is easier to install a zoned HVAC system from scratch. Retrofitting an existing system is a lot more complicated and not always possible.

For example, it is generally not recommended to add any zones to an existing HVAC system, if you have single-stage equipment. 

When going for a zoned system, you can expect to pay the following:

 When installing in an existing systemNew system
2 zones$1,700-$2,800$1,500-$2,000
3 zones$2,200-$3,500$1,800-$2,300
Per every additional zoneUp to $500Up to $350

How Long Do Zone Dampers Last?

With proper maintenance, HVAC dampers can last for up to 20 years (that is close to the lifespan of the whole system).

To make sure that the dampers last for that long, an HVAC technician would usually:

  • Check the dampers for defects during operation
  • Adjust the linkages from actuators
  • Remove any dirt from operating parts
  • Check the elements for rust and wear
  • Check and repair caulking, if needed
  • Lubricate the moving parts

Read: What Are Zoned HVAC Systems?

FAQs

What’s the Zone Control System?

A zone control system consists of thermostats, a zone control panel, and dampers. These elements work together with your HVAC system to provide the necessary heating and cooling to certain zones. 

Investing in a zone control system is one of the ways for a lot of homeowners to save on their heating and cooling costs. 

Does Turning Heat Down at Night Save Money?

Lowering your thermostat by a degree will help you save up to 1% on your heating costs. If your zoned HVAC system has smart thermostats, then you can program the system to decrease the temperature every day at bedtime.

By the way, sleeping in a cool room actually helps improve the quality of sleep.

How Many Heating Zones Should I Have?

To make the most out of a zoned HVAC system, you would have to carefully plan out the division of your house into zones. 

The most basic systems have two zones, and those are usually great for two-story buildings. But you have to consider the ‘needs’ of the different areas of your home as you might benefit from installing more than two zones.

An HVAC expert is going to help you determine the number of zones. Remember that the areas should be proportional in size to the equipment that is handling them.

Are Dampers Bad for HVAC?

A zoned HVAC system might end up not achieving any benefits if you have single-stage equipment. In such a case, the dampers would contribute to the damage to the whole system as the static pressure inside the ducts is going to be too high.

Should Dampers Be Open or Closed in Winter?

In the majority of cases, the most energy-efficient way to use your dampers in the winter is by keeping the upstairs ones closed

What Should I Put My Heat on to Save Money?

You might not be able to save a lot of money with a zoned HVAC system if you like to keep the house hot during the winter.

If you want to save plenty of energy during the colder months, set the thermostats to around 68-70 F. Also, consider an 8-degree setback when the house is unoccupied. 

Is It Cheaper to Keep House at Constant Temperature?

It is cheaper to lower the temperature at night and when no one is home. Keeping the unoccupied rooms at a constant temperature is unnecessary as well, but the good news is that all these issues can be solved with the help of a zoned system. 

Is 16 SEER Worth the Extra Money?

A 16 SEER HVAC unit is around 13% more efficient than a 14 SEER unit. You will see significant energy savings if you live in an area with a hot climate and if you tend to use your AC a lot.

Are HVAC Dampers Necessary?

Some HVAC systems operate perfectly fine without dampers. But if you want to take advantage of a zoned system – the dampers would be an essential component.