The absolute cheapest way to zone control your home HVAC system
OVERVIEW & THE PROBLEM
Every week we inevitably have a conversation about hot and cold spots. Unfortunately, it is common to have complaints about some areas of a home being too hot and other areas too cold. Uneven temperatures. This is especially prevalent in Houston homes closer to downtown (heights and Washington corridor) where houses tend to be multi-level and often times one system controls several floors. This can often spell disaster as these types of systems are either poorly designed (cheap construction) or not well equipped with zoning OR even a decently designed system is limited by the technology of the day preventing it from fully performing. Fixing this kind of issue permanently is often very intrusive and can be quite expensive. Further, it can still at times have mixed results. So what’s the solution?
Frankly, there are a number of solutions from the redesign, improving HVAC equipment, proper sizing and zoning air with dampers but again this is very expensive. Instead of going down that road today we’ll discuss the cheapest solution which only costs several hundred dollars as opposed to several thousand.
The low-cost solution is to use a portable thermostat. In this case, we’ve sampled the Honeywell Portable Comfort Control REM5000R1001. It is a handled touchscreen thermostat that works in conjunction with the standard thermostat. With this particular unit, it is required that both the thermostat and remote be compatible so you’d need to purchase an accompanying stat.
HOW IT WORKS
The following Honeywell video shows the features available for portable comfort control. It is capable of slaving the system to the portable unit. Thus making the HVAC system work to satisfy the desired temperature of the remote instead of the wall thermostat. This can be toggled back and forth. Further the remote can control other zones(if applicable).
With this cheap solution, there are some downsides. These are best used on low occupancy homes (or zones). It is NOT a great solution if you have people living independently in the same building under the same HVAC system. Unless of course, everyone prefers to huddle around the portable thermostat. Otherwise whoever has the remote would be cozy while everyone else is sweating or freezing.
Having the whole kit installed with vary in price from home to home and market to market but will probably average from $300-$600 for a thermostat and one remote to be installed. Certainly cheaper than several thousand.