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Converting from single to dual zone HVAC

Posted by iostream212 , in HVAC 26 April 2013 · 16081 views

I am undertaking a new project, just in time for summer, to convert my single zone hvac to dual zone. I'll document the progress here.
 
Background
I was browsing thermostats at SmartHome and stumbled upon a dual zone controller made by RCS. This got my attention as I already use RCS thermostats in my home. Living in a 2 story home, dual zones sounded like exactly what I needed to fix my HVAC woes (too hot upstairs in the winter, bad balancing with ac in the summer).  I called up a local HVAC company (Bell Brothers) and had a consult by none other than Jerry Bell himself. I was a little star struck because 1.) I am a nerd and 2.) he's all over tv ads and billboards in my area. Anyway Jer (oh yeah we're on first name basis now) took a look around and gave me some good news: My home was already setup for dual zones. The system had manual dampers in place and all we needed to do was hookup the zone controller, add motors to control the dampers, and install a bypass zone. I was quoted ~$2000.00 for the work. The more I thought about it the more I realized I could do most of this myself. Installing the zone controller would be easy for me, as well as the dampers. The only issue would be the bypass zone, which I would have to sub out. The good news was that initial quote itemized the bypass zone at a couple hundred dollars. That means $169 zone board, 2 motorized dampers $160-$240 (depending on brand) and ~$200 for a bypass zone = ~$600. I'm sold.
 
Action
Ordered the zone controller and it arrived today. The unit is small, lightweight, and didn't require a screwdriver to remove the top cover. A couple pics of the item as shipped and with the cover off:
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What's Next
I will install the board this weekend and check out the dampers that are currently there. Then I will get some dampers on order and probably install the following weekend. Finally after the install is tested and not having any issues I'll schedule the HVAC company out to do the bypass zone. Then I will be ready to take the system online.




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