What Is a Forced-Air Heating System?
While the summers are sunny, it gets cold in the Pacific Northwest. This is why finding a heating system that not only works to keep your house warm but is also energy efficient is extremely important to homeowners and business owners alike.
There are a few other heating systems out there, but forced-air heating is the most common system in North America and you’ve probably had one or at least heard of it before. But, do you really know what forced-air heating is and how it works?
If you are in the market for a new house or installing a heating system in your current space it helps to know how forced-air heating functions, the different types available, and the benefits they offer. At Entek, we want you to know all there is about forced-air heating so you can walk away with all the knowledge to know if it’s right for you.
How Forced-Air Heating Systems Work
Forced-air heating requires a heat source that heats the air and disperses it throughout the space by way of ductwork and vents. The temperature is maintained by setting a thermostat that you control. The thermostat setting tells the heating system to stop distributing warm air when the desired temperature is reached and to begin again when the temperature is below the thermostat setting.
With forced-air heating, cool air from within is recycled back into the system where it is filtered for contaminants, reheated, and redistributed within the space.
Now that you have a general idea of how forced-air heating works, we will go into more detail about all the different parts that make a forced-air heating system function.
The Essential Parts of a Forced-Air Heating System
There are a few important parts that make a forced-air heating system function properly. Let’s start with the heat source. There are a few different types of heat sources available for forced-air heating that you should consider.
The most common heat source is a furnace. You have probably seen one in your basement or a closet within your home. There are a few different kinds of furnaces such as an electric, natural gas, or fuel oil furnace. Each type combines fuel with air and burns it to create warm air. After the flames of the furnace heat the air, the warm air is pushed through a heat exchanger or furnace fan and then distributed throughout a home, traveling through ductwork and vents.
Another heat source for a forced-air heating system is a heat pump. There are two types of heat pumps that use forced air for heating a home. The first is called an air-source heat pump. This uses an electrical system to collect warm air found outside and then distributes that air throughout the home via ducts.
The second is a less common, but more efficient heat pump and it is called a ground-source heat pump. This type of heat pump collects warm air from underground. Because this system is built underground, it requires a more involved and expensive installation, which is why it’s less common than an air-source heat pump. But, since underground temperatures are more constant, ground-source heat pumps are more efficient and can save you money in the long run.
Now that we have covered the foundation of the forced-air heating system, we will go over some other equally important parts. We’ve been using the word ductwork, but do you know what its function is?
Ductwork is tubing that distributes the hot air from the heat source to vents throughout your space. Not only do ducts distribute the warm air to the vents, but they also collect cold air throughout the home to be filtered and recycled as warm air from the furnace. If you have a heat pump, the ducts push the cold air found within the home back outside.
You are probably familiar with vents. These are the grate-like rectangles that you find on your ceiling or floors. Vents are attached to the ductwork and they are where the warm air escapes to heat your home.
Benefits of Having a Forced-Air Heating System
So now that you know what a forced-air heating system is and the different parts that help make it function, let’s talk about the benefits that make forced-air heating so common in North America.
For starters, forced-air heating is the only heating system that allows you to combine it with cooling. The ductwork installed can also be used for a central air conditioner, making it more convenient and affordable.
Forced-air heating is also very energy efficient. In fact, the government now regulates the efficiency ratings of new forced-air heating systems. This means that these heat sources work better than other systems out there and they save you money on utility costs.
Forced-air heating systems are also great for cleaning the air in your home. The filter system and ductwork make sure that allergens, dust, and other contaminants are removed from the air, improving the quality. You can also install dehumidifiers or humidifiers in addition to a forced-air heating system, allowing you to better control the level of comfort in your home.
While forced-air heating has many benefits for customers, it is important to keep up with some minor maintenance. Duct cleaning may be necessary over time. Pet hair and other air contaminants can build up in the ducts, affecting the air quality of your home. If you have pets, suffer from allergies, or notice dust in your home after cleaning, you may benefit from having your ducts inspected and cleaned.
Lastly, it’s important to regularly change furnace filters. With proper maintenance, your forced-air heating system will efficiently heat your home and improve air quality.
If you need a new heating system or have questions about your current forced-air heating system, call our specialists today.