What is a Forced Air Heating System?

You may have heard about forced air heaters before, especially if you have been looking at different heating systems to install in your home. But what exactly is a forced air heater? There are many different types of heating systems for the home in the market and it can get quite confusing when it comes to deciding which one to choose.

A forced air system is a heating system that uses air to distribute heat to your whole house. Heated air is pushed or forced through ducts into the rooms of your house via vents to maintain a constant set temperature. The heat shuts off when it reaches your desired temperature and will pick up again when the temperature falls.

The biggest difference amongst the various forced air units is the heating equipment used to heat up the air. Some make use of either a gas or electric furnace; others may use heat pumps or hydronic coils. These are usually paired with an air handler, a fan or a blower which helps to distribute the heat throughout the whole house.

Most of these types of systems are energy efficient and are very effective in keeping your home warm and comfortable during the winter months. They can also be incorporated into a central air cooling system for the summer months. The convenience of heat pumps is that they can heat up your home when necessary and also work to cool your home when you need lower temperatures during the hotter seasons.

If you are buying a home with that has existing ductwork or you are building a new home, it makes sense to put in some kind of forced air system to heat up your place. But if you want to replace a system that already exists in a house without the ductwork already installed, then there will be higher installation costs involved.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Forced Air Heating

While the forced air system works well to keep you warm in winter, you must ensure that you choose the system that is most favourable for your home and family’s needs.

Forced air heating systems are affordable and effective. They work efficiently to quickly heat up a home so it makes practical sense that homeowners would opt for this system.

Quick heating time
They work better than other systems by heating up your home and reaching your desired temperature quickly.

Once the air is heated directly it is forced through the vents via the duct system promptly. With other systems it takes longer for air or water to be heated up and then distributed via a central system.

Easy to install
To install a system such as a radiant heater, you have to tear up your floors, whereas this system is able to work with other existing systems that may already be in your house.

For instance, if you already have ductwork in place for air conditioning, installing the forced air system will be even faster. Since this system’s ductwork works effectively with the existing system’s ductwork, it makes the process of installing it simple.

Budget friendly
Forced air systems are cost effective, more so than systems such as radiant heaters, for example and you get high efficiency for excellent heating.

It is also easier to install than many other alternatives, which tends to lower the overall installation costs.

This system is very dependable compared to other systems that use heat pumps or electricity.

It has fewer working parts and since the ducts are more hard-wearing compared to other systems, you can depend on them not breaking down when needed. Thus you will not have to worry that you won’t have reliable heating at all times.

While this type of heating system is a popular choice among homeowners, when making your decision you should be fully aware of all the downsides before installation.

Potential Health Dangers
When forced air is being pushed through the house it can carry with it dust particles and even possibly some mold. Mold build-up can make you sick.

To prevent mold from building up inside the unit and being cycled through the house you must ensure that the unit is cleaned regularly in order to keep your family safe and healthy.

Unfortunately complete noise elimination in heating systems is not always possible. Well built, well-tuned, state of the art systems will still produce some noise.

Forcing air through ducts together with that built up pressure this entails will definitely produce some sound.

Central heating
This heating system uses a single thermostat to control the heat throughout the house although the heat may differ slightly from room to room.

Some rooms may be warmer than other rooms, depending on their location and the where the ductwork is located. This can be avoided if each room is equipped with its own control, however separate temperature controls for each room is not yet an option.

Ductwork leaks
While your ducts are highly reliable, there is also potential in them for leaks. If your system is not designed well, as it wears you could start to lose some of the efficiency that you once enjoyed.

The ductwork is designed to be highly durable and reliable however there is potential for leaks. If it has not been installed well you could lose a bit of efficiency as it wears over time

Leaky ducts may also lead to pollutants entering your home.

You can prevent this from happening by following a few guidelines. Be sure to monitor your electricity bill and when you see a spike this could mean that your ductwork is in need of maintenance. Also check your home’s temperature and compare for yourself if your system seems to have dropped in efficiency from first installation.

Maintenance tips

Clean your filters
The filters are there to trap any dust, debris or allergens in the air. Without them, the air we breathe indoors has a poor quality. To ensure that the air you breathe is always of good quality and to be sure that the equipment operates properly, clean the filter regularly. It is advisable to check your filter once a month and replace if necessary once every three months.

Seasonal Maintenance
Try to schedule regular, professional servicing of the unit. This is necessary so that you can find and fix any problems that come up before they become larger, and incur large costs to repair. Before turning the unit on for the first time you should get a professional to check out all the equipment. Also when turning it off at the end of the season, get a professional in to check for any issues and fix them before you need the system for the next winter.

Check the ductwork
For the heater to work efficiently, the ducts must always be in peak condition. Regularly inspect them for any signs of damage. Repair any dents you might discover and cover any holes you find, so that hot air can travel efficiently to the vents to keep your home warm.

Inspect the registers
Inside your house, walk around and do a quick check of all the registers. They should not be covered by any household items such as blankets, rugs, furniture, etc. Move or remove any blockages. Heat should be able to flow freely through the house and should not be cooling furniture instead of the rooms.

Upgrading the thermostat
Old thermostats may be the cause of many issues for homeowners. They make it difficult to, correctly adjust the temperature or to determine the current temperature of the house. It becomes difficult to control the heater. If your home has an old thermostat you may need to upgrade it if it does not work properly. When buying a new thermostat aim to get a programmable one. This type will allow you to determine the temperature in your house at any time of the day. It’s helpful to get a professional in to ensure that your new thermostat is installed properly and that all the sensors are where they should be. Remember that if you lower the temperature when people in the house are asleep or when everyone is away from home you will save yourself some money money through the season.

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