You don't ask a lot from your furnace and your air conditioner. You just want these essential home appliances to keep your living space appropriately cool or warm so you feel comfortable. However, even when you set your thermostat to a mid-range temperature like 72 degrees Fahrenheit, you might notice large temperature differences in various areas of your house.

If you're tired of feeling always cold in your main floor living room and always hot in your upstairs bathroom, look into having a zoned HVAC system installed. Read on to discover how these systems work, what benefits they offer you, and which home types they're suited for.

How Does a Zoned HVAC System Work?

A zoned HVAC system uses the same components as your current system but with a few additions. These extra parts include more thermostats (one for each zone) and dampers placed throughout your air ducts. The additional thermostats and dampers give you more control over the temperatures in various zones.

Like your primary thermostat, each new thermostat takes constant readings of the temperature in its zone. You set these thermostats to the desired temperature for each zone. Then each thermostat ensures that its zone stays at the set temperature. When cooler or warmer air is needed in a zone, the furnace or air conditioner releases it, and the dampers go up or down to direct the air where it's wanted.

What Are the Benefits of HVAC Zoning?

Zoned HVAC systems offer homeowners many benefits. Here are the most prominent pros of these advanced systems.

Enjoy More Temperature Control

The most obvious benefits of HVAC zoning are comfort and convenience. You can keep different zones at different temperatures that take into account the other factors which affect how hot or cold a room feels.

A traditional one-thermostat system tries to keep the entire house at a uniform temperature. This setup often results in hot or cold spots in rooms with many windows, higher ceilings, or fewer insulating walls.

By contrast, a zoned system lets you choose lower temperatures for rooms that get a lot of sunlight or higher temperatures for above-garage bonus rooms. You can even keep rooms you use less often at a lower setting so you don't waste energy.

Increase Energy Savings

Zoned systems also pay off in your bank account. After you make the initial investment of installation, you can expect to save about 30 percent on your monthly heating and cooling bill. That figure is an estimate from the US Department of Energy.

Why do zoned systems result in energy savings? Your furnace and air conditioner will work more efficiently because they release hot or cold air only to rooms that need a temperature adjustment.

Extend the Life of HVAC Appliances

This benefit builds on the previous one. When HVAC appliances operate efficiently, they sustain less wear and tear. Appliances with less wear and tear require fewer repairs and ultimately last longer. In this way, a zoned system also saves you money. You won't have to pay for as many emergency fix-it calls or replace entire appliances as often.

Which Homes Match Best With Zoned Heating and Cooling?

The benefits of zoned HVAC systems are clear at this point, but you may still wonder if this system type would offer all those advantages at your own house. Chances are high you'd see a large return on investment if your house has one or more of the following qualities:

Large square footage-Bigger houses tend to experience more variance in temperature from room to room. Consequently, larger houses also have the most to gain from incorporating zoned HVAC control. They'll experience more pinpointed temperature control and better energy efficiency.

Main living areas with high ceilings-You've probably heard that hot air rises, and if you have high ceilings anywhere in your house, you've felt firsthand how that principle affects your comfort. Rooms with high ceilings often feel cooler than those with lower ceilings, but a zoned HVAC system allows you to regulate the temperature in high-ceilinged rooms better.

Rooms with many windows and many hours of sunlight-Rooms with several large windows appeal to homeowners because they provide beautiful views and let in natural light. Unfortunately, all those windows can mean extra warmth in the summer and additional exposure to cool air in fall and winter. Turning these rooms into an HVAC zone can offset these window side effects.

Large temperature differences between the highest and lowest floors-During the summer, you might try to stay cool by living as much as possible on your home's lowest floors. You might do the opposite in the winter so you remain close to rising warm air. If you turn your home's levels into zones, you can ensure that each zone stays at a proper temperature.

If your home has these qualities, talk to an HVAC professional about installing a zoned HVAC system. These systems can be retrofitted into most existing HVAC ducts, so they're also helpful for increasing the energy efficiency in older houses.