When it comes to replacing your home’s heating and cooling system, your first thought might be to go with central air, also known as a forced-air system. It is a system that uses air ducts and vents to circulate air throughout your building and it is a common solution in both residential and commercial buildings. However, as with any system, forced air has its benefits and drawbacks. This article will give you a clear idea of what these are so you can choose what fits your own space best.
Central Air and Forced Air – What’s the difference?
Typically, forced air is used to describe the heating system, while central air is used to describe the cooling system. In general, a forced air system entails any HVAC equipment that utilizes a furnace or heat pump (provided that it uses air ducts) and vents to deliver temperature-controlled air into any given structure. These vents are also used by central air systems to provide cooled and conditioned air for optimal temperature regulation. This is why central air and forced air are terms that are used interchangeably.
Advantages of Forced Air
- Efficiency: Forced air cooling is fast and it naturally dehumidifies the air within your space. Additionally, it comes with built-in filters that can also be upgraded for higher quality filtration.
- Easy-to-install: Forced air systems rely on a single unit, making it a breeze to install.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Not only is installation easy, forced air cooling can also net you lower energy bills.
- Reliability: One central unit means the need for maintenance is tiny and makes it far less likely for different parts to break down.
- Convenience: Forced air cooling is compatible with smart and programmable thermostats. It also adds value to your home.
Disadvantages of Forced Air
- Ductwork inefficiencies: Ductwork is necessary for a forced air system, which also means that they need to be cleaned regularly (every 5 years). Otherwise, dust, allergens, mold, mildew, and other contaminants can build up and be circulated throughout your house.
- Noise: Every system makes some noise, even forced-air heating. It is forcing air through the ducts, where a build-up of pressure occurs. Professional assistance is required for unusually loud noises.
- Central Control: No way to change temperature separately from room to room; all rooms are controlled via a central thermostat.
- Upkeep: Filters and tune-ups are needed in order to ensure optimal operation of forced air systems.
What Is The Verdict? The Ductwork Will Tell You
If you have an existing ductwork system, you may need to continue using central air conditioning in your house. If you want to replace your central air conditioner, make sure the contractor you hire is qualified. Thankfully, there are many modern, high-efficiency options to choose from.
If ductwork is not an option for you, you may also consider ductless solutions. These include multiple indoor units that are connected to a central, outdoor heat pump, and can cool your house effectively.
A new heating or cooling system is a significant investment. These systems might last you 20 years or more. Make sure you do your homework and carefully consider your choices.
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