The Pros & Cons of Forced Air Heating Systems
There are many different ways to heat your home, each with their own benefits and disadvantages. The most popular type of heating system in the U.S. is forced air heating. Forced air heating uses air to transfer heat and distribute it throughout your home. This type of heating system can be implemented in multiple ways, including different types of furnaces and heat pumps. Learn more about different types of forced air heating systems as well as the pros and cons to a forced air heating system in comparison to other options.
What is Forced Air Heating?
In a forced air heating system, a furnace or heat pump generates hot air that is then passed through your ductwork and vents to reach the rooms in your home. You control forced air heating systems using a thermostat, just the same as other central heating systems. Forced air heating is widely used across the U.S. and prevails over other types of heating systems, such as radiant heat and hydronic heat. Typically forced air heating systems are chosen due to their simplicity and effectiveness in heating the whole house.
Types of Systems
· Natural Gas, Propane, & Oil Furnaces: Natural gas, propane, and oil furnaces produce heat by combusting fuel. They employ a heat exchanger to prevent harmful byproducts of combustion from circulating throughout your home. These types of furnaces are ignited by a standing pilot, hot surface igniter, or electric spark. Natural gas, propane, and oil furnaces are a very common forced air heating choice.
· Electric Furnaces: Electric furnaces utilize a heating element that runs on electricity and heats the air. The blower and heating element are powered on and off by the temperature gauge in thermostat. Electric furnaces are beneficial because they do not produce carbon monoxide or emissions, there is no risk of a gas leak, and they are quiet. However, electric furnaces are also one of the most expensive ways to heat your home. Many cities and states provide incentive programs in an effort to reduce emissions. Some utility companies also offer a cheaper rate for those who use electric heat.
Heat Pumps: Heat pumps use the refrigeration cycle to draw heat from the outside and bring it inside your home. They are more efficient than both types of furnaces, but they cannot be used in very cold climates. Heat pumps can also be used for cooling.
Advantages of Forced Air Heating
· Simplicity: One reason why forced air heating is so popular is because of its simplicity. Forced air heating systems are easy to install and do not require a lot of components. They also allow you to easily install a cooling system using the same ductwork, which can save you money in the long run and is very convenient.
· Effectiveness: Forced air heating systems are also very effective. They are able to quickly heat your entire home, making them a popular choice.
· Affordability: In addition, forced air heating systems are very affordable compared to radiant heat. On average, they cost between 40-60% less. This makes forced air heating the best choice for those on a budget.
· Efficiency: While forced air heating is not as efficient as radiant heating, newer systems can still be extremely energy efficient. Electric furnaces operate at 100% efficiency, and the right gas or oil furnace can operate at an efficiency level of 95% or higher. Forced air heating systems also respond immediately to programmable thermostats, while radiant heating systems do not. This adds to the energy efficiency of forced air heating.
· Options: Because forced air heating is so popular in the U.S., this system comes with a variety of options. You will be able to easily find a system that meets the needs of your home as well as a contractor to install and repair it.
Filtering: Finally, forced air heating is advantageous because it allows you to not only filter the air in your home, but humidify and dehumidify it. This gives you greater control over air quality.
Disadvantages of Forced Air Heating
· Maintenance: One disadvantage to forced air heating systems is that they require a lot of maintenance. This includes changing the air filters and performing maintenance on the ductwork and heat source. Maintenance can increase the cost of the system.
· Noise: Forced air heating can also be very noisy in your home if not installed correctly.
· Cost: Despite the affordability of forced air heating systems, there are certain factors that can raise costs. Natural gas and oil prices are progressively rising, which increases expenses. In addition, older forced air heating systems are inefficient and often require expensive repairs.
· Efficiency: As stated above, forced air systems are generally less energy efficient than radiant heating systems, especially if the system is older. When deciding which system to install, it is important to weigh not just installation costs, but costs over time for maintenance and utilities.
· Ductwork: Forced air heating systems do require ductwork, which takes up space in your home’s walls, ceiling, and attic, and can be expensive to install.
· Allergens: This type of system can also distribute allergens in the air, which will cause problems if you or someone in your family has serious allergy problems.
Uneven Distribution: Finally, forced air heating systems can quickly distribute heat throughout your home, but if not engineered and installed correctly they often heat unevenly, with some spots warmer and some cooler than others.
Contact Albuquerque Plumbing Heating & Cooling
Whether your Heating System needs repair or replacement, you can count on Albuquerque Plumbing, Heating & Cooling to get the job done right. With our 100% satisfaction guarantee and vast experience in the plumbing industry, our company ensures the best service possible. Contact Albuquerque Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today to inquire about our heating services.