We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Zone Valve?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A zone valve can be used to regulate the temperature in different areas of a structure that is heated primarily by a hydronic system. Hydronics involves the use of heat transfer to warm or cool a structure using water as the primary medium. Areas of the structure can be divided into artificial zones through which water flow is controlled by valves. Each zone valve typically consists of a motor unit that is mechanically connected to a valve body. Most zone valves used in homes are electronic, though commercial and industrial applications often use units that are operated by compressed air or vacuum.

Hydronic systems that make use of zone valves may include separate cold and hot water pipe loops or single integrated systems. Early hydronics typically involved a boiler for heating water and a chiller or cooling tower to cool water, each of which had its own set of pipes throughout a building. Modern systems include compact units known as chiller boiler systems which can direct hot or cold water throughout a home or other structure with the use of zone valves. Each room or other area in the building can have its own zone valve to allow hot or cold water into the associated pipes.

Most home hydronic systems use electronic zone valves composed of an electric motor and a valve body. The motor may be a simple alternating current (AC) unit that can either fully open or close the valve depending on which side is energized, or it can be a device that activates through the heating of a wax pellet. Units with wax motors are typically closed by spring action unless power is applied to the thermistor to heat the wax. Each zone valve is typically controlled from a central location, though separate thermostats may be present in each room.

If the power fails or motors malfunction, electric zone valves often have a manual bypass feature. This can be useful in maintaining a comfortable temperature in each zone even if the control system is not functioning properly. Without this feature, a zone valve with an AC motor would remain in its last position, while wax motor valves would close shut due to the spring action.

Large buildings often use zone valves that are actuated by a centralized source of compressed air or vacuum. In both of these cases the natural state of the valve is typically open, so the application of vacuum or pressure can force it shut. A variety of complex building management systems can be used with these types of zone valve, allowing the environment to be tightly controlled from a central location.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.