Zone heating is a concept in which a supplemental heat source is used in a room only when it is needed. This enables homeowners to keep the thermostat low in the majority of the home, while enjoying a comfortable temperature in the rooms occupied most. Because both zone heating and electric heaters aim for high-energy efficiency, electric fireplaces and infrared heaters have become an increasingly popular means for homeowners pursuing a green lifestyle.
Zone heating is one of the most efficient methods for heating a home while reducing energy costs. The idea behind this method is that only the rooms that are in use should be heated to a comfortable temperature, while unused rooms should be heated much less. For example, during the day, the living room, dining room and family room would all be heated directly with supplemental heat sources, while the thermostat for the central system is set at a lower temperature. Unoccupied rooms, like a mudroom or the bedrooms, will not use up as much heating energy this way. Overnight, heating can be redirected to the bedrooms as the family sleeps.
Zone heating with electric units allows the thermostat to be turned down without sacrificing any comfort. Electric heat is often more economical than central home systems that are fueled by gas or oil. Electric fireplaces typically operate at about an average 12 cents per hour, whereas gas systems cost over 20 cents per hour depending upon local utility rates. The zone approach allows homeowners to target high traffic areas with an economic source of heat thereby reducing overall utility expenses.