Zone valves are a great alternative to the central heating system. They allow you to set the temperature of each room so that you can have different temperatures throughout your home or have some rooms warmer than others.
The main benefit of using zone valves is that they can save you money on energy bills. If you live in a building with multiple floors, installing zone valves is more cost-effective than using a central heating system. We have discussed all you need to know about zone valves in the sections below.
What are Zone Valves?
Zone valves are an easy, affordable method for managing and controlling the temperature in your home or business premises. They work by splitting your home into zones or areas that can be individually controlled, giving you greater flexibility in how you heat and cool your rooms.
Zone valves work with thermostats, a pump, and a boiler to control the temperatures on different floors or rooms in a home. Separate thermostats are installed in each room to be controlled and their settings adjusted appropriately. When the temperatures fall below certain levels, the thermostat sends an electrical signal to the zone valve, which opens the flow of hot water into that specific zone.
Some zone valves come equipped with an auxiliary-limit switch, which determines if the valve is fully open or closed for more precise temperature control. These electrical signals also control a circulator/pump and boiler, which begins to pump hot water.
Hot water will then flow through the zone, heating up until the thermostat’s temperature settings are reached. Here, the thermostat will send an electrical signal to close the zone valve, releasing the limit switch.
Designing a Zone Valve Heating System
Zone valve heating systems are designed to offer the best of both worlds: they will allow you to control the temperature in individual rooms or zones while using less energy than traditional boiler systems.
Because a zoned-heating system is so customizable, you must take the time to plan out your system before going ahead with the installation. This means carefully considering how many zones you need for your space and what heating needs each room has.
Once you’ve figured out how many zones you need and which rooms will be in each zone, you can begin thinking about how much heat each room needs. There are several factors involved here: where is this room located relative to other rooms (for example, if it’s closer to an outside door)? What type of window treatments does it have? How much sunlight does it receive? All these things can affect how much heat is needed in any given space and time of day.
Here are the other factors to pay attention to when designing a zoned-heating system:
Zone Valve Type
The most preferred type of valve used in zoned-heating systems is an electrical ball valve. They are durable, resistant to a water hammer, reliable, and consume less power. When the thermostat sends an electric signal, an electric motor rotates an internal ball a quarter turn to close or open the valve. Once in a closed or open state, the valve doesn’t require an additional power source to remain in that specific state. Most zone valves come with a lever that allows them to be controlled manually in case of a power outage or for testing purposes.
Water circulating the home heating system is often heating at very high temperatures. The valve should be made from the right materials to ensure they are compatible, durable, and efficient. Typically, the housing can be made of brass, O-rings should be made of EPDM, and the seal material can be made of Teflon or PTFE.
Location of Thermostat
Since each zone requires a thermostat, you should keenly choose a spot away from any natural or artificial light source. Similarly, keep the thermostat away from fridges, freezers, or any object/installation that can alter its temperature readings.
The other thing to consider is the water pressure needed to pump the water throughout the piping system. Some things that will affect the water pressure are the building’s size, the size of the valve orifice, the length of heating pipes, and the number of zones within your home. To avoid choosing the wrong pump, always work with a professional who will do the calculations and pick the right pump and valves for the job.
During installation, ensure that the zone valves are located in an accessible area for easy maintenance and troubleshooting. Some common issues with zone valves include burnt motors, overheating, and leaks.
Choosing a Zone Valve for Your Home Heating System
Before choosing a zone valve, you want to analyze your needs keenly and know the options available to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money. You also want to choose high-quality products from a reputable manufacturer and, where possible, seek guidance from a trusted professional.
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