Monday, July 27, 2009

The "Post-It Note" of heating and cooling my home.

The Post-it note is known as a great American invention. Back in 1974 Arthur Fry came up with way to make an experimental glue famous while working for 3M in Minnesota. The Post-it note changed the world of paper. So as I was thinking about this I wondered what major innovation changed the way we heat and cool a home. There are many things that have changed the comfort we feel in a home today.

Early years we had a fireplace in our 1-room house. Now the average home has 2-3 bathrooms. In the early 1900's when coal fired furnaces were used a house could vary in temp 30-40 degrees easily depending on what room you were in because once you got the coal burning hot you couldn't just stop it.

Today people expect to be comfortable when they sleep, keep the babies room warm in the winter, but still save energy. Zoned Heating has been the technology that has allowed this. The average home has one thermostat in the hallway which tells the furnace to turn on or off. First who lives in the hallway, so why do we care what the temperature is there. Imagine if you only had one light switch in your whole house. Well that is what happens when you have one thermostat. Two story homes are a real problem because in the summer the upper level is hot and the basement is cold. The other advantage of zone systems is why do you want to cool your bedrooms to 74 degrees during the day when no one is in there. Or why do you want your living room to be cooled at 3 AM when you are in bed.

Zone systems allow a standard home to have multiple thermostats through out the house. So you can cool the bedrooms at night, but not waste energy cooling the living room. Or in the winter you can heat your basement over 65 degrees unlike the average home. People commonly spend well over $20k finishing a basement to use but then they freeze trying to watch TV down there. To get a better understanding how it works click HERE to see a short video.

Honeywell says you can see up to 30% savings on your heating and cooling bills by zoning your home. One major energy savings people experience, is in the summer. Homeowners will set there thermostat to 70-72 degrees on the main level so they can hopefully get the upstairs to 76-78. When you have zoning in your home you have a thermostat upstairs in your master bedroom for example and you set that thermostat to 75 degrees and you can leave the living room at 78 for example while you sleep.

One thing you have to be concerned about is the installation of a zone system is who is the company designing and installing it. It is important to research who you buy a zone system from because if it is improperly installed you can shorten the life of your furnace and A/C and have a noisy operating system. But a properly installed zone system is like a "Post-It Note" to me.

1 comment:

  1. Here's an article about the history of HVAC...