Do you have forced air heating in your home, but you don’t know how it works? Or, are you wanting to have it installed in your home? Well, this post should tell you everything you need to know about what forced air heating is, how it works, as well as its pros and cons. Read on if you’d like to know more!

forced air heating

Image courtesy of Storyblocks.

What is forced air heating?

Forced air heating is exactly what it sounds like. Something heats the air- usually a furnace, but it could be an electrical element- and the air is then forced around the home, pushed by a fan. Forced air heating therefore relies on ducts and vents. Large metal ducts, easily recognisable, run from your furnace in the basement around the home. In industrial settings, you can see these ducts running through the inside of the building; but at home, they’ll be concealed behind walls and above ceilings. Do you remember the scene in Die Hard where John McClane (Bruce Willis) is crawling through a vent? That’s forced air heating!

Forced air heating is just one way of heating your home. There are a few alternatives, the most common being boilers. Boilers heat water instead of air, and the water is piped around your home into radiators, which give off heat. Water is more effective at carrying and holding onto heat than air; but they require more energy to heat your home. Perhaps you already have a boiler, and you would like forced air heating installed; give us a call today to find out more about installation!

How does forced air heating work?

Forced air heating is very, very simple. Back in the good ol’ days, every home had a wood burning furnace; now, furnaces use gas for fuel. Whereas the furnace used to be in the kitchen or the main room of the house, and give off warmth directly, they’re now kept in the basement and the warm air is carried around the house using ducts.

The air passes through these ducts, blown on by a fan. Underneath or at the side of the duct are vents, which open onto the various rooms of your house. The hot air is blown out into each room. And at the end of the duct, the remaining air is blown out into the atmosphere. Forced air heating uses filters in order to catch any dust that might otherwise be blown around your house. This is to keep the air you breathe warm, but fresh; otherwise, it would be like breathing in campfire air while you’re trying to watch TV! Not good!

What’s so great about this kind of heating?

Forced air heating is by far the most popular in the U.S. today. And true enough, there are some good reasons why it’s so popular. Here are the four most important of the lot:

  1. There’s no way of heating your home that’s any cheaper. It’s the simplest to install, because parts are so common and so cheap. For the same reason, it’s also the cheapest to repair. And it’s the cheapest form of heating to run, too. What’s not to like about that?
  2. Air quality with this kind of heating is generally good. Newer fuels like gas burn cleaner than the old wood burning stoves ‘of yore’. And, just in case, the ducts are normally fitted with filters so that dust can’t blow through into your clean home.
  3. Newer models are more energy efficient than ever. As we said before, gas is a far cleaner and more efficient fuel than wood. But newer models and systems are also more energy efficient. So, for example, ducts can be fitted with material to stop them leeching out heat. And instead of releasing unused hot air into the atmosphere, some duct systems can recycle it.
  4. Air conditioning can run through the same duct system as heating, meaning that you can save money and space by having just one solution for both.

And what are the drawbacks?

The main drawback of this kind of heating is that heat can be distributed unevenly. As the air travels through the ducts, it naturally becomes colder, as it’s seeping through the vents into your home. So there’s going to be one room that’s at the far side of your house, or two floors above your basement, that’s cooler than the rest. And if you don’t regularly have your filters cleaned, they can both cause your heating to be less efficient and to spread particles of dirt around your home. That being said, regular maintenance can stop either of those things from ever happening!

So, do you want to have forced air heating installed?

Alright. Your old heating system- maybe a boiler and radiators- has finally bitten the dust. You put off repairing them, because you’re actually thinking of having them replaced. That’s great! You can either replace them with a more modern boiler or heat pump, or you can have forced air heating installed. The choice is yours.

If you do want a furnace installed, why not give us a call today? One of our friendly staff members will be happy to talk with you over the phone. We can give you advice, information and even an estimate if you’re sure that you know what want. So what are you waiting for? Call today!