The most common form of home heating found in North America is the central furnace. However, most electric furnaces only convert an average of 30 percent of their energy into heat. This is why electric heating is so expensive when compared to natural gas and propane furnaces.
Furthermore, you'll find that any type of central heating system, electric or gas, loses a substantial amount of warmth through its duct systems. The delivery of the heat is simply not an efficient process.
In contrast, electric resistance heaters convert almost 100 percent of the energy they use into heat. While electricity isn't the cheapest source of energy, electric resistance heaters deliver warm air to a space more directly than a duct system, and can therefore heat a house more efficiently. You will be using less energy than is needed to maintain a furnace, and can use that energy more effectively, thereby saving yourself money.
Zonal heating, one of the more popular distribution methods of electric resistance heat, warms rooms separately according to individual needs. Each zone, commonly determined by rooms, has its own thermostat that can be set independently.
For example, if the majority of your family's time is spent in the living room, the thermostat can be set higher in this room and lower in the basement laundry room that's not used as frequently.
Further, zonal heating takes advantage of natural temperature differences in the home. For instance, a room with large windows that garners a lot of heat from the daytime sun doesn't need to be heated as much as one that doesn't receive passive solar heat. Your heating energy is used more efficiently, and you won't find that some rooms are continually overheated as is often the case with central heating.
Zonal heating is the most effective because it doesn't force a furnace to work excessively to keep the temperature at the same level throughout an entire house.