What is Zoned Heating and How Can I Maximize the Heat in my Home?

With Winter approaching, it’s important to start thinking about adequate heating systems within your home. This year’s inflation makes it difficult to make room for costly utility bills. With most homes using a HVAC system that centrally heats the entire home, it can get expensive to heat up rooms that are not being used. Whether your home has natural gas or propane HVAC heating, let’s talk about getting the most out of your wood-burning stove, pellet stove, or fireplace to help lower the cost of your utility heating bill with zoned heating. 

So, what is Zoned heating and does it really help?

Zoned heating is heating the primary room you’re in with the heat source within your home. This can be your wood burning insert, stove, fireplace or electric fireplace. For example, working from home has been on the rise since COVID-19 and oftentimes the work space is the main room for an 8 hour work day. Keeping the whole rest of the home heated does not become a necessity. Turning down the central heating and lighting a fire in your wood-burning insert or fireplace will keep the centralized room nice and warm while time is being spent. You then don’t get the added cost of heating up bedrooms and basements that are empty every day. 

This works well in the evening too (and may be a great reason to install a gorgeous wood burning stove or electric fireplace in your bedroom!). Turning down your boiler to a low level helps save on that utility bill significantly. 

I want to try Zone Heating- What types of fireplaces have the best heat output?

There are many different types of fireplaces and stoves and each come with their own aesthetic, functionality, and fuel sources.  Below we’ll discuss a few common units and what you can expect with zoned heating. 

Masonry Fireplaces

The most familiar and traditional fireplace is the masonry fireplace. This is the fireplace that pops into mind when thinking about holidays and crackling fires. Despite the cozy nature of these beautiful units, these masonry fireplaces are not the best for a primary heat source or zoned heating. The biggest con is the potential for cold drafts. To retain as much heat as possible within your zoned heating room, make sure your chimney has a damper. If there isn’t one, installing one is important in preventing cold drafts from coming in after burning within the fireplace. Remember, the damper must remain open during burning. It is also important to install a chimney liner to prevent additional cold drafts that can seep in through the brickwork. 

Wood-Burning Inserts

Wood-Burning Inserts are a wonderful way to update your fireplace. They are efficient in building and retaining heat and are great additions to help use a zoned heating system. Wood-Burning inserts can heat from 800 to 3,000 sq feet depending on the size of the unit. They will also burn longer without additional wood being added. These inserts are great to have installed right into where your masonry fireplace sits, making it a faster (and warmer) option to accomplish your zoned heating. 

Pellet Stoves

Pellet stoves are also a great way to heat a space. The heat output is strong and a bag of pellets last about 8 hours worth of burning. Pellet stoves are the most economical and environmentally friendly unit on the market! They also yield higher heat output of up to 50,000 BTUs (British thermal units), which is the measurement of heat output.  Purchasing pellets for a pellet stove is also a great way to support local businesses as the pellets are oftentimes created from local industries. Like the Wood-Burning Inserts, pellet stoves are a reliable and quick way to heat a room for zoned heating purposes. Pellet stoves are also common for bedroom stoves, as they can be small and aesthetically pleasing. 

Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces are also a good way to heat a room for zoned heating. While the flame is not as “realistic” as an actual flame the heat output is quick and efficient. Lighting your electric fireplace will keep a flow of heat moving using as much electricity output as an average space heater…without the risks! 

Ready to save a little money?

When it comes to zoned heating, the best way to save on your heating bill is lowering your boiler temperature and maximizing your heating unit in the room you’re spending the most time in. It allows you to keep your cost low while still maintaining a warm and cozy atmosphere. Increased inflation has made it difficult to tack on extra expenses, but by using your wood-burning stove or electric fireplace you can skim a little more off your bill. Also updating your fireplace will put heat back into your home with more efficient and productive means of heat. If you are looking for recommendations or NFI-certified technicians to install a new insert or stove, we at Midtown Chimney Services are here to help! Give us a call today!