Source: BIG BUILDER Magazine
Publication date: October 1, 2006
By William Gloede
Almost like clockwork, each spring and fall, homeowners living in houses with forced-air HVAC systems must adjust the dampers in the ductwork in an often vain attempt to balance the temperature from floor to floor and room to room. It is an inexact science, to say the least.
In an attempt to achieve balance and flexibility in larger homes, builders routinely install a second HVAC. But even that is subject to the vagaries of weather and the orientation of the house relative to the sun.
To date, HVAC systems have mostly relied on heft to deal with temperature imbalance. But this leads to the expenditure of more energy than is necessary and more money on more BTU-power than required. Most forced-air systems rely on one or two hall-mounted thermostats to control temperature. They don't help much when the bathroom is cold in the winter and hot in the summer.
Home Comfort Zones, based in Beaverton, Ore., has come up with a simple, relatively inexpensive solution to this problem with its Home Comfort Zones system. It is a pneumatic network of specially designed balloons that are installed in the ductwork near air outlets in every room. The balloons expand and contract via a wireless signal transmitted by a temperature sensor installed on the wall or simply placed on a stand in each room. The whole system is controlled by a central keypad installed where a traditional thermostat would go.
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