Central vs Zoned System
Another consideration for heating your
home is where you want the warmed air to go. Heating systems
can be grouped into one of two categories: central and zoned.
Central Heating Systems
Central heating systems, which include furnaces, boilers
and electric heat pumps, use a blower and ductwork to circulate
air throughout your entire home. Every room in the home is
heated to the same temperature, which is controlled by a single
thermostat. The presence of ductwork allows for the added
comfort of a central air conditioning system as well.
In contrast, a zoned system has multiple thermostats spaced
throughout the home, allowing you to adjust the temperatures
in different area. Electric baseboard heaters and radiant
heating panels are examples of zoned heating. Traditional
zoned systems like these have the disadvantage of having no
ductwork, and therefore no capability to use central air conditioning.
Choosing a System
The type that's best for you depends on the size and age
of your home, as well as your lifestyle. If you have a large
home with rooms you rarely use, such as guest bedrooms, a
zoned system will allow you to shut off the heat in that area
- a practice not recommended for central heating systems.
Zoned heating is also a plus if you and other family members
disagree about the most comfortable temperature.
If you'd like the versatility of a zoned system with the
energy efficiency and year-round comfort of a central system,
ask your dealer about the new zoned systems for forced-air
furnaces and heat pumps. Different areas of your home, such
as the kitchen and family room, bedrooms and basement, are
designated as individual zones with dedicated thermostats.
The furnace will be specially designed and sized to accommodate
the temperature changes in each area. Adding a zoned thermostat
system to a high-efficiency natural gas furnace can help your
save an additional 10-15 percent on your heating costs.