Forced air heating uses gas or electricity to heat air that comes in from outside the house. Fans force the air through ducts in the house and into rooms through vents located on the floor, the upper or lower wall or the ceiling. A thermostat controls the temperature of the air. Forced air heating is one of the most common heating systems in newer homes. However, the method has a number of disadvantages.
Forced air heating blows air into a room. However, the result may be an uneven temperature. Some areas may be warm, while others are cooler. Because heat rises, the rooms on a second floor may be warmer than the rooms on the first floor or in the basement. The positioning of windows may also have an effect. Windows facing the south may receive more sun and contribute more heat to a house than windows facing the north. Design elements such as cathedral ceilings and finished basements can affect the air produced by forced air heating.
Because air from the outside is brought in, the air often carries dust and pollens, creating an adverse condition for residents with allergies such as asthma. Therefore, filtration is required and the filter must be replaced regularly. In addition, if there is visible mold, excessive dust and debris, a foul smell, or if there is insect or rodent infestation, getting the air ducts cleaned by a professional may be necessary and the cost can run into the hundreds of dollars.
Forced air heating is not quiet. Noise occurs when the fan blows the air through the ducts. The amount of noise depends on how much air the fans must work with, how hard the fan must push the air through the ducts and how fast the fan blades move. Duct lining and silencers are an alternative, but they cause the fans to work harder to push the air through the ducts which is less energy efficient.
There are always rooms in a property that residents live in more than others. These rooms may be the only rooms residents want to heat. However, with forced air, the entire house must be heated as opposed to individual rooms, which is especially problematic if a home contains only one thermostat.
Takes Up Space
Forced air heating requires duct work that will take up space in the walls leaving less room for insulation. "Uninsulated duct work can cause you to lose 10 to 30 percent of the energy used to heat and cool your home," according to the website Green-Energy-Efficient-Homes.
- ECOMII: Advantages and Disadvantages of Forced-Air Heating and Cooling Systems
- Wheat and Sons: Choosing between the different types of heating systems
- Green-Energy-Efficient-Homes: Heating duct insulation
- Aprilaire: Zoned Temperature Control
- EPA: Deciding Whether or Not to Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned
- Acoustics: Noise and Energy Consumption in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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