Zone Heating Demystified

If you’re shopping for your first wood-burning stove or looking to replace an older model, you might have already heard about the value of “zone heating.” You can efficiently boost warmth in high-traffic areas, while keeping unoccupied rooms cooler, with a supplemental heating system like a wood-burning stove.

The idea is to focus on-demand heating energy in the places your family is most likely to spend time and to lower the thermostat on those places that are sitting empty. Keeping a lower temperature on your central furnace can reduce your monthly bills, and the warmth and beauty of a wood-stove fire can add a cozy touch to your most highly trafficked living areas.

Heat where you are
To find out more about the “how to” behind zone heating, we caught up with Darren Cooper, Stoves Manager for Coastal Farm & Ranch in Oregon City, Oregon. Cooper says he explains zone heating by describing it as a great way to heat one specific area, maximize efficiency and minimize overall energy costs.

“Zoning is the most cost-effective way to heat the area you do most of your living in,” he says. “You’re really wasting money if you’re heating unoccupied areas in your house. When customers want to know more about zone heating, I tell them that installing a stove or fireplace in the proper area and closing off sections of the house that aren't being used can save a lot of money over time and keep you warm and cozy year after year.”

It’s important to remember that a “zone” is one specific area, not an entire home. In most cases, Cooper says, a stove or fireplace is not the best solution to heat a whole house, even though he does encounter customers who are hoping a wood stove can do just that.

“It is possible in some cases, but it’s going to depend on floor plan, how well the house is insulated, how airtight it is, and the variability of pressure differences and air movement.” He explains that a stove or fireplace is a centralized heater designed to heat the primary "zone" in which it’s locate. “When I explain to customers that a stove or fireplace is not ducted throughout the house to other zones, they begin to understand what zone heating means.” [Editor’s note: Quadra-Fire does offer heat management options with our EPA-certified wood fireplaces and gas stoves. We recommend speaking with your local dealer to find out which option will serve your home heating needs best.]

Asking the right questions
Cooper asks lots of questions to determine his customers’ expectations and to make sure they’re buying the right heating source for the job. “I help them figure out what type of appliance will best fit their needs, whether it’s a stove, fireplace, insert, wood, gas or pellet. The type of appliance they buy will affect where it should ideally be located--whether upstairs, downstairs and along an interior or exterior wall.”

If you’d like to find out how a Quadra-Fire stove can help keep your most lived-in zones as warm as possible, while reducing your energy expenditures, contact your local dealer.