Use HVAC Zoning as Your Insulation Alternative

Insulating older homes is a controversial topic among many homeowners and contractors. How much will the proper materials cost? Will this actually solve my problem? Insulation is intended to balance the temperatures within your home. By sealing your house so that heat doesn’t leak in or out, residents can easily create a uniform climate throughout their house. Insulation specialists choose between materials like mineral wool, blow-in, or fiberglass batts to get the best results for any house’s needs.

But it’s worth asking, is it worth insulating your old home, or are there other alternatives? Well, insulation does prove to be incredibly useful in some homes but other times it can be a waste of time and money. So, what alternatives to traditional insulation are there? In this article, we’ll take a look at what to do when an old home won’t benefit from installing insulation.

The Problems With Old Home Insulation

Older homes built in the mid-20th century were crafted much differently than they are today. Modern engineering has allowed construction professionals to have more control over the homes they build than ever. While newer, well-built homes generally have better insulation and seals than older homes, the open cavities between the walls in older homes allowed the moisture that leaked in to evaporate quickly.

While this method does help increase the longevity of a healthy home, it does not make for a comfortable one. The solution then would be to just insulate the home so that the climate would be uniform, right? Well not exactly. If a house that isn’t sealed properly is stuffed with insulation it will lose its ability to have air circulate throughout the walls of the house. This insulation will act as a sponge and with no way to dry out, water damage will eventually irreparably damage the integrity of the house. When moisture gets trapped in an older home’s insulation it can cause issues such as. 

  • Wood rot
  • Warped or cracked drywall
  • Peeling paint
  • Mold


Wood Rot

When wood stays wet for extended periods of time, the fibers within the wood begin to loosen their bond. Once these bonds start breaking down the durability of the wood is significantly reduced. If water is trapped within insulation that is adjacent to a wooden support beam, the entire house can eventually collapse like a house of cards.


Drywall damage


Similar to the way that wood rots, drywall will also be permanently damaged if it’s been in contact with water for too long. And although dry really doesn’t offer any support to the actual structure of your home, if it gets damaged then residents can face some unpleasant repercussions. Any loose debris or critters that are trapped inside the walls of each house could eventually sneak out invading the living space. Replacing drywall can be a fairly simple process but having to routinely do these replacements will be no inexpensive task.


Peeling Paint

When peeling paint causes bare wood to show, many believe that it is due to cheap paint or a hastily done job but normally it comes down to moisture affecting the paint’s adhesive abilities. Similar to the previous cases, moisture can get into the interior of the wall, eventually getting absorbed by the insulation. When excess moisture builds up in the wood, it will eventually transfer to the wood’s surface and ruin the paint’s adhesive ability. If there is ever trouble regarding moisture build up in a house, look for places where paint is peeling to identify possible problem areas.


The different types of molds commonly found in houses usually grow the same way. Whether it be black, green or brown, the formula doesn’t change. When mixtures of warmth, oxygen, wood, and moisture are contained in a small area then the house is susceptible to mold growth.

Once these problems plague a home, the space could be rendered uninhabitable. If a home built in the 20th century doesn’t meet the requirements for an insulation install but there is still a need for a controlled climate there is still an alternative.

What is HVAC Zoning?

HVAC zoning is the process of separating your heating and cooling system so it can maintain individual climates for each room. With the ability to have independent climates mixed with traditional HVAC schedules, you can make living areas comfortable in the day while focusing on bedrooms at night. HVAC zoning gives residents the same ability to balance climates just as insulation would with the added bonus of actually being able to control each room independently.

How Does It Work?

HVAC zoning systems implement a series of dampers within the ducts to reroute air to areas specified on the control interface. Each zone has its own independent thermostat allowing users to adjust the temperature of each individual zone. Dampers in ducts will move synchronously if multiple ducts feed air to the same zone. These zoned HVAC systems are complex and require a professional to install them. Planning the setup of the layout for these installations can be difficult to navigate but a trained HVAC technician can properly evaluate the layout of your home and help you set up efficient zoning.

What are the Benefits of Zoning?

HVAC zoning offers several benefits for both added comfort and reducing expenses. Some of the benefits of a successfully implemented zoned HVAC system include:

  • Better energy efficiency: A zoned system diverts air away from areas that don’t need it so you’re using less energy to keep your home comfortable. Zoning is more efficient than simply closing the air vents in each room because the dampers provide a better seal.
  • Personalized comfort levels: A zoned HVAC system can put an end to these by allowing individuals to adjust the temperatures independently for each part of the home.
  • Even temperatures: This system will address your heating and cooling needs by zone, so areas that are naturally colder can get the extra heat they need without pumping excess heat into warm spots as well.
  • Reduce the chances of mold: With many older homes needing space in the walls for air to circulate, installing a zoned HVAC system allows for moisture to escape while still allowing for complete control of the climate of the house’s zones.

Is a Zoned System Right for Me?

A zoned HVAC system can be installed in any home with ductwork. However, this system isn’t the best option for every home as zoned heating and cooling works best in larger homes where there’s plenty of space to separate into zones. 


Zoned HVAC systems work best when the house contains:

  • Two or more levels.
  • A basement.
  • Living space in the attic
  • High ceilings
  • Split levels with living space over the garage
  • A sunroom
  • Multiple large windows
  • High square-footage


Looking for a leading manufacturer of residential and commercial zoning equipment by offering products with superior quality and reliability? At Arzel Zoning, we strive for excellence, growth, and innovation by continually developing people & products that exceed industry standards and customers’ expectations.


Contact an Arzel® expert today to learn more about our products and services!