Zone Heating with a Propane stove.
Guil wrote in with the question below:
I have a Hearthstone propane stove, I don’t know which model. Is the use of propane significantly less than a gas furnace powering heat through overhead ducts (forced hot air)? Thanks, Guil D.
Guil your question is a hard one to answer specifically because there are way too many variables. I can’t just tell you which is more efficient. I will try to explain to you the concepts behind it and you can decide for yourself.
Zone Heating is heating one zone of your house with a stove or in room appliance.
Whole home heating is using a central heat source (heat pump, furnace, forced air, etc) to heat your whole house with a central thermostat. This heat is usually distributed through ducts installed in your home, under the house or in the attic.
The theory with zone heating is that you can heat the area that you live (90% of the time) with a wood/gas/pellet appliance and not need to heat every square inch of your home. A lot of us like our bedrooms cooler. So by placing this unit in our living area. Like the living room, dining room, kitchen area, we can keep those areas warmer and the bedrooms will stay naturally cooler, heating less square footage. Thus saving energy & money.
So as you probably know a gas stove is not as efficient as a gas furnace. This is mainly because they design them to be pretty, with a yellow flame. Which is not as efficient as if it was a completely blue flame. But if you think about a gas furnace, that efficiency is in the unit. It does not take into account all the heat that you have lost by the time that you blow it through the ducts in your attic or under your house and then actually feel the heat in the home.
I would advocate strongly for zone heating as a major supplement. It cannot replace your central heat for those coldest parts of the winter, but I think it can save you a lot of money throughout the heating season.
Hopefully this has given you some concepts to think over and please post in the comments section if you would like to add anything.
The Stove Guy