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Air Bag Zoning

I wanted to email this to Rich himself but could not find an email for the cast. So Ill put it out here.


I have been watching TOH for years and will have to say I am throughly disappointed with the last episode. I have seen it before, however, did not reply to it at the time. Well, here I am now. I am referring to the air bag zoning system. As an HVAC Mechanic myself, this must be one of the most ridiculous solutions for uneven temperatures in a home that I have ever heard of. It does not take an experienced eye to see the large restriction in the duct, when the bag is "deflated." Now we have created a new issue to add to the customers problems, by not allowing the proper CFM to compensate for the heat load. Not to mention in my experience most duct systems are not properly sized as it is. So in no way is this the proper solution for the customers best interest. Also for that price of the zoning system installed, they could purchase a correctly sized, energy efficient system to serve that second floor. This will potentially be saving the customer money on energy, as they will not be over cooling another conditioned space to compensate for the temperature variation in the home. We are a country moving towards energy conservation and on a warm summer day their unit will run much longer ( I would be willing to bet) to cool the space with their new $8,000.00 duct restriction.

I apologize for the rant. I had to get it off my chest.


Re: Air Bag Zoning

I have a 1 1/2 story house with the same issue as the home in the episode. I think part of the issue is that the upstairs (600 sq feet w/ 2 bedrooms and bathroom) only had 3 vents -- 1 each in bedrooms and bathroom. I've added an additional vent in each bedroom. Also, my house has a common return in the middle of the main floor instead of return vents in each room.

I've looked at creating a single zone upstairs and another zone on the main level, but based on what I've read, it could create issues b/c the system is not sized to just heat/cool the upstairs alone. There wouldn't be enough air flow, which I think could damage the fan motor, compressor/A-coil, or overheat the gas heat element.

So, my question is how did the house in the TV episode "get away with it"? If only a single room is demanding AC or heat, won't this cause very restrictive air flow through the furnace or A-coil?

Re: Air Bag Zoning

I just visited the homecomfortzones.com website with info about the air bag system. They apparently use a plenum sensor to detect how many zones can safely be shut off. If a system is even remotely close to correct sizing, I'm guessing the number of zones that can be off is minimal, which defeats the purpose. Since I only need a couple of zones, I think the air bag system would be useless for me -- I doubt my system could safely run with only one zone active.

Also, more disturbing is that when I search for a dealer in Missouri, the site states the system is only available in California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Why the heck would TOH feature something with such limited availability? Very disappointing....I'm trying not to think about TOH receiving compensation for advertising this product.

Bob Gabrilson
Re: Air Bag Zoning

I haven't heard of this bag system? What's wrong with dampers?
I've installed Arzel (air driven, zone) dampers and it works beyond belief. Sometimes a by-pass damper is needed if there is a small zone calling.

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