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The Zoned Heating Problem
What is zoned heating?
If you have ever walked around a school of office building, you may have noticed thermostats on the wall. Each room has the ability to set it own temperature. This is known as zoned heating and cooling, or zoned climate control. Zoned climate systems generally have "blend doors" or "dampers" in their duct work. Similar in function to the climate controls of a car, these dampers adjust the airflow on a much larger scale, restricting the airflow to some rooms while allowing it to freely blow in others. This allows the office to use a singular central heating or cooling system that can be controlled for each office.
Can I have this in my home?
As one can imagine, this is a very useful system - rooms can not only be set to different temperatures, but rooms don't have to be heated or cooled when it is unnecessary. This saves energy and money! Now why is zoned heating found in homes but not offices? There are two answers to this question. The first answer being the expense of such a system. Multiple dampers must be placed throughout the building, and they must each be correctly wired into the heating and cooling system. This generally requires professional installation, as an incorrect configuration will result in a poorly functioning system. The second answer is that due to the special duct work modification and wiring required, it is not very easy to implement in a preexisting building. Some walls and ceilings must be torn open for access and later repaired, which would add even more cost to implementing the system.
Introducing the Zent!
The Zent (zoned vent... Zent!) is a modular zoned climate control system that does not face these issues. The Zent system uses specialized vents rather than mechanisms in the duct work. This vent can replace any standard vent in the walls, ceilings and floors of a residential home. In addition, there are small temperature sensing units that can be placed anywhere in a room that will wirelessly connect to the vents in the room. To link all of the rooms together, a master control unit will replace the simple thermostat in the home (or integrate with an existing smart thermostat). The goal is to have an inexpensive system that is easy to install and use so that the comfort and cost savings of zoned climate control to any home, large or small. This system will work great for students in dorms, or renters that would like zoned heating but can't tear down any walls or otherwise modify their home.