What Is the Difference Between Central Heating and Forced Air Heating

air ducts

While it’s still warm outside, it’s never a bad time to check on the maintenance and functionality of your heating system and ensure that everything is in proper working order before you need to crank the heat up when the temperatures drop. Not all heating systems are the same, however, and there are many ways to go about heating your home up. 

When it comes to modern construction, there are two options that are more popular than the rest: central heating and forced air heating. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two, and what some of the pros and cons of each are. Have further questions? Contact Valley Heating and Cooling, the absolute best Madison, AL heating and cooling company there is. Our experienced technicians are always here to help. 

Central Air and Heating (HVAC)

In a central heating system, ducts and vents are put in place and utilized to disperse the conditioned or heated air throughout your home. This air originates from a centralized source such as a furnace or boiler and then travels to the rest of the building. Typically these are located in your basement or another room inside your home, which becomes the central location, or ground zero for heated air. Given this description, it’s pretty easy to see why these systems are called central heating and air HVAC systems. 

While both forced air systems and central heating systems can utilize ducts and vents, central HVAC systems also have the ability to use pipes to move water or steam needed for the heating process. Central heating systems can include boilers, furnaces, solar heating, electric resistance heating, and more. The two most common kinds, however, are furnaces and boilers. Furnaces are the same for both central heating and forced air heating, so instead of discussing them, we wanted to briefly go over boilers. 

Boilers are located centrally within your home. They heat up water, typically by burning gas or oil. This heated water, or the steam that results from it, is transferred throughout your house and into the radiators that are in each room. These systems are almost entirely silent, and they are effective at evenly distributing the heat into every room within your home. However, they can sometimes take a little longer to heat your house up and they may be more expensive to initially install than some other options. 

Forced Air and Heating (HVAC)

In a forced air heating system, air is heated through a series of ductwork. This can include furnaces, heat pumps, coils, electric heaters, and natural gas heaters. You’ll notice that there is a slight overlap between the two main kinds of heating systems, as they both can include ducts and vents, and furnaces can be considered one or the other, or both, given the circumstances. Forced air heating systems get their name from the fact that they quite literally force the air through the ductwork system. Many times, these systems can be found outside your home. 

While there are many kinds of systems that are included in this classification, there is one particular unique example that should be pointed out, known as heat pumps. With another self-explanatory name, these utilize a pump in order to force the heated or conditioned air throughout the home. This particular system is not only useful for heating your home, but also for cooling it down, because it provides you the option of reversing the system and pumping cool air instead of heat. In both circumstances, these systems can be extremely efficient, and can run more cost efficiently than traditional heating and cooling methods. However, there can be some steep initial costs, and they may not be ideal for especially frigid climates. 

How Valley Heating & Cooling Can Help

Even if you are not planning on utilizing your heating system for the next couple of months, or you are planning on having a professional handle the upkeep and maintenance entirely, it can be beneficial for you to know what kind of heating system you have, and how it differs from some other homes. This can help you have more of an understanding of what your HVAC technicians are saying when they go over what kind of maintenance or repair you need. 

If you would like assistance with determining what kind of heating system you have, or have found yourself searching for “Heating and Cooling Near Me,” reach out to Valley Heating and Cooling today! Want more information on how to keep your system operating at its best? Check out our recent blog: Why is Heat Pump Maintenance Important?