Have you heard of zone heating? Mentioned in one of our articles from September, this method is a great way to save on your energy bills. This is especially important when you consider that heating and cooling account for 48% of energy use in the United States* and 63% in Canada (heating only)**. Let’s take a closer look at this approach.
What is zone heating?
Zone heating essentially means heating your home room by room, based on where you spend most of your time. A central heating system distributes heat evenly through the entire house. However, families spend most of their time in specific rooms, like the living room for instance. So, it makes a lot more sense to keep the temperature cooler in some rooms, and warmer in others.
How can you do it?
There are a number of zone heating methods. You can install electronic thermostats in every room and regulate their temperature separately. This only works if there is one heating unit in each room. Portable electric heaters can also be included in the equation, combined with other heating sources.
These methods don’t offer that special something you get from a fireplace or stove, that is to say, a cozy atmosphere and a majestic decor. Gas appliances are excellent for zone heating. Although less powerful, electric fireplaces generally suffice for at least one room. What’s more, they are less restrictive than other devices, as they can be set up in more places. As for wood-burning fireplaces, some models are now equipped with a technology that forces hot air to move to other rooms than the one where the fireplace is installed.
According to government-owned electric utility Hydro-Québec, if you lower the heat by 3⁰C (5⁰F) at night and when you’re not home during winter, you could cut your heating costs by 4% to 5%. These figures give an idea of the potential savings zone heating can generate.
For those who are concerned about complications from too-low temperatures, there’s nothing to worry about. You can keep your home at temperatures as low as 15⁰C (59⁰F) without running any risks. However, just one degree less on your thermostat already makes a difference on your heating bill.
There are several external factors that have an impact on your heating needs, of course. For example, generous sunlight adds heat, and less well insulated residences require additional effort to warm up.
Use our new BTU calculator to estimate your heating needs.
*According to U.S. Department of Energy
**According to Natural Resources Canada