Honeywell Zone Valve and Your Home Water Heating System

What is a Honeywell zone valve? The question comes up a lot when people are designing their new hot water heating system. It also comes up when separating a hydronic system to allow for zoning. This gives you better control with more thermostats. Each individual area that has been split into it’s own zone, can be kept at any desired temperature, independently from all the other zones on the system.

This can be great for large families with sprawling homes. The people who live in your house are individuals and they would love to get their desired temperature when they want it, for their part of the living space without having to effect everyone else in the house.

There are several different possible configurations when your designing a hot water heating system. The basic idea is to install a boiler. Next add some radiation. This may be baseboard, or radiant tubing, or could be convector wall radiators. It can be any type of radiation within the area to be heated.

The next component to our simplified example of a hot water heating systems. Would be the piping that starts at the boiler and runs through the radiation and back to the boiler.

This is known as a circuit or zone. Each area that you would like to control independently must have its own circuit. If you have a two floor residential home, for example, you may wish to have one zone for upstairs and one zone for downstairs.

To accomplish the piping circuit for a two story home like this we would need to install the first floor loop from the boiler through all the first floor radiation and back to the boiler.

The same exact theory must be applied to the second floor circuit. A pipe would go up from the boiler to the first piece of radiation. Continuing through each piece of radiation as it goes, the circuit passes through all the heating on the floor, then makes it’s way back to the boiler.

Of course the system I just described is simplified and there are quite a few components that I’ve left out. The amount of information I’ve given you is sufficient for the purpose of this article.

Now that we have two separate circuits, we must figure out how were going to move the heated water from the boiler through the radiation and back to our boiler. This is going to be accomplished with an electrically powered circulating pump.

Installed with a set of flanges that are cut into the feed or return line at the boiler, our circulating pump will turn on when any thermostat calls the system.

Once the water starts to circulate, we must have a way to make it head to the zone that’s calling. This is going to be done with our Honeywell zone valve.

Each loop or circuit, somewhere near the boiler will also have a Honeywell zone valve installed in it. This valve is electrically controlled and it opens when it’s respective thermostat calls for heat. Each Honeywell zone valve also has an end switch. This end switch will close when the valve opens, allowing both water to pass through it and calling the circulating pump to come on at the same time.

The zone stays active and continues to circulate heated boiler water through the circuit or loop until the temperature within the area being heated is satisfied. Once this is accomplished, the thermostat circuit is automatically broken and the whole system shuts down and goes into wait mode.

Each additional zone will have its own thermostat and Honeywell zone valve. With a zone valve system one circulating pump can circulate heated boiler water to many zones.

Loops are usually limited to 100 linear feet due to the fact that the heated boiler water will cool as it passes through. The number of zones is limited by the size of the boiler as well as your circulating pump. Both of these factors are calculated as the system is designed.

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