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Old 07-12-2011, 01:52 PM
 
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My husband and I are considering buying a 2 story, 2000 square foot house. Love the house...but it only has one zone heating and air conditioning, which we feel is an economic concern. The thermostat is on the first floor and we feel that the second floor would not be heated or cooled properly. Any thoughts? Thanks.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:57 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
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Most houses will have one zone heating and cooling. You can certainly modify it to 2 zones but I am not sure if it would make sense financially (depends on how much heating/cooling you need; how long you plan to stay in the house, etc).
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by margeaa View Post
My husband and I are considering buying a 2 story, 2000 square foot house. Love the house...but it only has one zone heating and air conditioning, which we feel is an economic concern. The thermostat is on the first floor and we feel that the second floor would not be heated or cooled properly. Any thoughts? Thanks.
Ours is like this, and it does become tricky.
It seems no matter what the season, our downstairs is ALWAYS significantly colder than the upstairs. We have tried a lot of different things, such as closing the downstairs vents in the summer to try to force the cooler air upstairs, but have been met with little success.
Keeping the shades open in the winter to make use of light heat is somewhat helpful as well.
If you get any other suggestions, please share!
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:45 PM
 
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Most houses are setup this way, particularly in that size range. My house is 2,200 sq.ft. and 2 story and also has one zone with the thermostat downstairs. Like the other poster said, the general result of this is that the downstairs is colder than the upstairs in all seasons. Makes sense, cold air sinks hot air rises.

I've found that a lot of it has to do with the vent configuration in your house. Ours is a relatively newer home, so the downstairs vents are generally in the ceiling and the upstairs vents are in the floor. Closing vents upstairs in the winter and closing the downstairs vents in the summer helps to balance it out. We also close off any vents in odd places like closets, this helps push more air to where we need it.

Another big factor is air flow in the house itself. We have a two story living room that opens to the second floor. We also have a ceiling fan in that room and use it to help push the air around. Setting it to push air up in the summer and to pull it down in the winter helps to keep everything balanced.

In terms of overall economy, I find it has more to do with the other factors like insulation, windows and what you set the thermostat to than having one or two zone heat/AC. FWIW, my electric bill for June was around $170 and our normal monthly bill is about $100. In the winter our highest gas bill ever was around $230 for heating, where our normal gas bill is around $25. If that is your biggest concern, ask the seller to share their utility bills, you may be surprised.
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Somerset, NJ
505 posts, read 2,210,040 times
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I agree with everyone else - this is a completely normal and customary set-up. I've seen people install 2 thermostats one for A/C on the second level and one for heat on the first floor.

In the future you could always change it and add another furnace - but that's a lot of added expense for a house that doesn't necessarily have the space that will require 2 units (and you won't get the money back when you sell).

~Joey
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:11 AM
PDD
 
Location: The Sand Hills of NC
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One unit for a two story house is a compromise.
For the best comfort have a high efficiency unit installed for the second floor and when the first floor unit wears out replace it with a high efficiency unit.

New homes built today usually have a unit for each floor.
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:49 AM
 
19 posts, read 131,777 times
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No need for two separate units, that is a waste of money and energy.

Convert your home to dual zone by installing a zoning system.
Customized Whole Home Comfort with Arzel Zoning

This type of system automatically opens and closes the ducts to the upstairs and downstairs accordingly. Any qualified HVAC technician can do this. Mine costs ~3K, and has done wonders. At least 30% reduction in PSEG bills, and more importantly, much more comfortable setting the temps appropriately on both floors!
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:02 AM
 
Location: New Jersey
2,082 posts, read 4,516,811 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marc777 View Post
No need for two separate units, that is a waste of money and energy.

Convert your home to dual zone by installing a zoning system.
Customized Whole Home Comfort with Arzel Zoning

This type of system automatically opens and closes the ducts to the upstairs and downstairs accordingly. Any qualified HVAC technician can do this. Mine costs ~3K, and has done wonders. At least 30% reduction in PSEG bills, and more importantly, much more comfortable setting the temps appropriately on both floors!
that's interesting! will check their website.
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Old 07-13-2011, 10:49 AM
PDD
 
Location: The Sand Hills of NC
8,774 posts, read 16,085,777 times
Reputation: 11934
Quote:
Originally Posted by marc777 View Post
No need for two separate units, that is a waste of money and energy.

Convert your home to dual zone by installing a zoning system.
Customized Whole Home Comfort with Arzel Zoning

This type of system automatically opens and closes the ducts to the upstairs and downstairs accordingly. Any qualified HVAC technician can do this. Mine costs ~3K, and has done wonders. At least 30% reduction in PSEG bills, and more importantly, much more comfortable setting the temps appropriately on both floors!
Sounds like the perfect system except your one system runs full time to heat/cool both upstairs and downstairs.
With the correct size two system both are smaller units than one single unit plus if you have a failure in one unit you still have partial heating or cooling.

Of course if you live in a small house 1,000-1,500 sf maybe one system is OK
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Splitting time between Dayton, NJ and Needmore, PA
1,185 posts, read 3,708,308 times
Reputation: 763
That is a standard setup for that sized house. In my case, I take time in the early part of the summer, usually mid-June, to shut down the vents on the first floor except for one or two away from the thermostat and open up the ones on the second floor. In late September, I'll open up everything on the first floor and shut down the second floor vents. It may sound like a PITA, but it gives me a chance to also vacuum out the ducts.
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