When it’s time to start thinking about a new system for heating and cooling your home, your first thought might be central air, also known as a forced-air system. While there are a lot of advantages when it comes to central heating and cooling, there are also many alternatives you may not be considering.
Learn about the pros and cons of forced-air systems so you can familiarize yourself with different options available and which one is best for your home.
Central Air vs. Forced Air
Usually, forced air refers to the heating system and central air refers to the cooling system. In many cases, however, they are used interchangeably.
Central heating systems can refer to furnaces and boilers because the heat is generated in a central location and then distributed throughout the house.
Basically, a forced air system refers to any HVAC system that uses air ducts and vents to send temperature-controlled air into the building.
Whereas central heating can refer to a boiler system, forced air can only be a furnace or heat pump (if it uses ducts).
Central air conditioning repair services uses the delivery system of your forced air heating system to provide cool, conditioned air.
While there is a difference between central air and forced air system, the difference is small and most of the time, these terms are used interchangeably.
Forced Air Advantages:
- Air is filtered and filtration can easily be upgraded
- Great for cooling the entire home
- Air is naturally dehumidified, good for humid days
- Compatible with smart and programmable thermostats
- Requires little maintenance, there’s only one unit
- Potentially lower energy bills
- Comfortable and energy efficient
- Adds value to home
Forced Air Disadvantages:
- Costs more to install than other AC options, such as window units
- Cannot be installed yourself; a professional installation is required
- Risk of improper installation
- Ductwork is necessary (takes up space and prone to inefficiencies)
- Duct sealing and cleaning is necessary—every 5 years or so
- If not properly maintained, mold, mildew, and other contaminants can blow around your indoor spaces
- Potentially loud operation
- In some living spaces such as condominiums, central air conditioning may not be an option
- Dust and allergens are distributed by moving air
- Potentially higher energy bills
- Regular tune-ups and filter changes are necessary.