Dual-Zone HVAC Vs. Separate Unit In A Home With Multiple Tenants

Having two different occupants in a single home can be a great way for a landlord to bring in additional rent money, especially when the home is large enough to divide into separate units by floor.  Deciding how to provide heating and cooling to the different tenants is an important consideration, often involving the choice between a dual-zone HVAC system or installing two different units.  This article considers the pros and cons of both approaches.

What Are Dual-Zone HVAC Systems?

A dual-zone features a single unit that controls temperature separately for different sections, or "zones" of the home.  The system relies on unique thermostats and sensors in each zone to detect when additional heating or cooling is required, and then uses dampeners within the duct work to deliver air to only that zone.  

Upfront Costs

Generally a dual-zone air conditioner will be more affordable to install than two distinct units.  Although a dual-zone air conditioner will need to be fairly powerful in order to handle the entire house, and involves more complicated ducting, it is still generally less expensive to do a single 2-ton unit than two 1-ton units.

Maintenance Costs

A dual-zone system will also save you money when it comes to maintenance and repair.  With only one interior and one exterior unit to take care of, the cost of seasonal cleaning and other routine maintenance is usually markedly less.

Differentiating Expenses

While a dual-zone system may offer some cost advantages from an installation and maintenance perspective, it presents challenges when it comes to tenant accountability.  It is relatively easy to monitor and bill the use of two separate systems independently.  With a dual-zone system it may be impossible to differentiate appropriate tenant portions for the resulting energy bill.

Hot and Cold at the Same Time

Another tenant concern may be that with a dual-zone unit it is impossible to run the air conditioner at the same time as the heater.  If one resident is feeling chilly while the other is too warm and you have two separate systems involved, both individuals can be accommodated.  

All or Nothing

Finally, if there is ever a problem with a dual-zone HVAC system, temperature for the entire home is disrupted.  With two separate units, at least part of the residence can continue to be climate-controlled even if there is a maintenance issue with one.  

The availability of dual-zone HVAC units give home owners considering tenants an option besides purchasing multiple units.  Use the information in this article to help you decide which route is right for a particular situation.

To learn more, contact a company like Allied Air Conditioning & Heating Corp.