Rental Upgrades

How to Create Separate AC Zones in a Home



A Zoned AC is one where you can set a different temperature in each area of the house. You might separate your zones in the upstairs and downstairs or in two sides of the house that get very different sun. AC zone systems require individual management of the air temperature and pressure for each zone, which requires some sophistication and horsepower from your AC unit.

Many agree that AC zones have great potential for harmonious family life and practical commercial design. But what you may not know is that there are three different types of AC installation that can provide controllable climate zones.  Whether you are a resident homeowner or an aspiring landlord with rental properties, zoned AC can be a very useful upgrade.


Add Zones to Your Central Air System

For buildings that are already well-served by their current AC system but would like zone control, you can adapt your central air system to include two to four zones. Adding zones to your central air system is a practical way to use your existing ductwork.

Adapting a central air system for zones involves installing controllable dampers which can direct or restrict the flow of air. These dampers combined with a zone control thermostat will ask for just the right amount of hot or cold from your central air system to provide custom heating or cooling to each zone.


Build a Ductless Mini-Split System

Ductless mini-split is a different approach to the multi-zone household. Ductless AC designs require that the air be cooled or heated on the spot, often from a unit mounted on the wall. They do this by running the coolant lines from the outdoor unit – which is shared – to each individual mini-split zone unit which cools air inside each room where it is mounted.

Ductless mini-splits were invented in Japan when it was discovered that typical Japanese architecture standards did not have the overhead space for ductwork, but ACs were in high demand. The ductless mini-split is, therefore, excellent for small spaces but on the pricier side of your options.


Install a Second AC System and Ductwork

For larger spaces, you may consider installing a second AC system instead. You can install them side-by-side to increase your total horsepower or separate your ACs to accommodate two very different zones. For example, many homes have a central AC system downstairs and another one upstairs to cover two very different heating and cooling needs. Not only does the upstairs deal with different sun exposure and airflow, this also allows you to tailor your AC use for sleepers.

You can add a second AC system between the warm and cool side of the house, or if you have two close but separated structures with living spaces. You can install your two AC units to share ductwork or with shared but zoned ductwork. Or you can separate the units and have double the zones and double the coverage.


Zoning AC for Your Investment Properties

Zoned AC is a rising trend that many tenants will enjoy. These techniques are ideal for homes that typically have uneven sun exposure, difficult to balance airflow, or large spaces that typically heat and cool at different rates. Zoned AC is also useful for separating one building into multiple units with individualized comfort in each unit.

For an aspiring landlord, considering zoned AC can be a smart move for home upgrades and renovations. Planning for installation is typically the most challenging step. Upgrade your rental homes and keep your tenants happy with Leaf Management. We can help you choose the best renovations to improve the profitability, safety, and satisfactory lifestyle of each property and handle the logistics of large appliance installations for each rental home.