What Is Forced-Air Heating?

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Many American homes use forced-air heating
Many American homes use forced-air heating (Image: home 3 image by Stacey Lynn Payne from Fotolia.com)

Heating and cooling systems are major components in many modern homes. These HVAC, or heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, can vary by type and design. Forced-air heating is one kind of HVAC system.

Definition

Forced-air heating is a heating system that incorporates air circulation via a fan or blower. Forced-air heating systems are commonly installed in American homes.

Components

Forced-air heating systems rely on several basic components.These components include an air-handler, which is often a furnace with a blower. Other forced-air heating components include burners or heating elements, a thermostat and ductwork for delivering air to the heater and transferring it back to rooms.

Process

When room temperatures drop below a set level, the thermostat activates the heating system via a relay, The air handler then draws room air through the ductwork and sends it into the heat exchanger, a metal chamber that transfers heat from one fluid to another. The heating elements or burners then activate to heat the air as it moves through the air handler. The blower pushes the warmed air through the ductwork and into the rooms. This continues in a cycle until the thermostat registers that temperatures have reached the set level and turns off the system.

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