Forced Air Heating System – How Does It Work? [2022]

Forced air heating: what is it?

If you’re in the market for a new heating system for your home, then you’ve probably heard of forced air heating. The term forced air heating refers to heating systems that transfer heat using forced air. Vents and ductwork are used to distribute air in these systems. A single thermostat controls the forced air heating system that uses fan-forced air to heat the entire house. Due to their concealment in crawlspaces, attics, and walls, ducts can go unnoticed. Air is continuously circulated within the house through return air ducts.


What a Forced Air Heating System Does

In forced air heating systems, heat is generated by using natural gas, propane, or electricity as the fuel source. Heat is transferred from a heat exchanger to moving air in a gas furnace via gas ignition. High-resistance wires absorb heat from moving air in an electric furnace. Both systems use ductwork to force hot air into your home and circulate it throughout with a fan or blower.


An explanation of how forced air heating works

The heating unit is controlled by a single thermostat that turns it on and off depending on the temperature setting. The forced air heating system generates heat by forcing air over heat exchangers or heating elements once it is turned on. Your ducts distribute hot air out of the registers, and the air is then circulated throughout your home. In most houses, registers are adjustable so that the direction and amount of air flow can be controlled. When the desired temperature is reached, gas is ignited or electricity is flowed to elements.

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The Maintenance of Forced Air Heating Systems: A Guide for Homeowners

In order for a forced air heating system to function properly, air filters are one of the most important components. Filters that are clogged will make the system run longer and harder to deliver heat. During the winter season, it is necessary to replace or clean the filter every month, while during the rest of the year it needs to be cleaned at least every three months.

A professional tune-up is recommended for every furnace on a regular basis. Blue Ox Heating & Air technicians ensure that no item goes unchecked during a complete tune-up. Among them are:

Tune-up items for furnaces:

  • The blower motor should be checked and the blower wheel should be balanced.
  • Temperature differences between supply and return air should be checked.
  • Heat exchangers should be inspected.
  • The furnace should be subjected to a combustion analysis.
  • Motors in inducers should be inspected.


The Merits and Demerits of forced air heating system

In terms of forced air heating, there are some merits and some demerits to consider. 


The benefits of forced air heating are numerous. 

Energy costs associated with forced air heating

The energy efficiency of forced air heating systems is excellent. Natural gas is the most commonly used fuel in forced air heating systems because it is cheaper to operate than electricity. Depending on the system, electric furnaces, gas furnaces, hydronic coils, or heat pumps can be used. In the last decade, air heating technology has advanced significantly, and today’s systems are much more energy-efficient than those from even a decade ago.

Time required for heating

By heating air and returning it through your ductwork, your home will be warmed quickly. A heat source directly heats it and then distributes it. The water may need to be heated or distributed from a central system with other systems. As air comes out of the vent, rooms can feel warmer more quickly since the air circulates rather than radiates. You can, however, find out more about heating time calculation here.

The installation process is simple

Installation is simple if you already have ductwork for a heater or air conditioner. Ductwork that is already in place can be used. 

Assurance of reliability

Air heating systems are more reliable than electric or heat pumps. There are fewer moving parts in the ductwork, so it is less likely to break down. Simple components make up the system. It’s easy to replace parts such as fans, belts, or motors if anything goes wrong.

Efficient and cost-effective

There are many advantages to forced air heating. Installation is usually easier when using a prefabricated system, so the price will usually be lower. A radiant heater, for example, is more expensive than other systems.

Filtration of air

If you filter the air coming into your home, you will be able to improve the quality of the air.


A few additional factors should be considered when it comes to air heating system.

It’s noisy

The air heating system is not silent. It is still necessary to push air through ducts using pressure, even if recent advances have made them quieter than ever.

The air duct system

It is possible for dust or mold to accumulate in any closed heating or cooling system using ducts. The air can spread dust when it blows over it. By replacing filters and performing routine maintenance, potential problems can be mitigated.
It is possible to lose some heat while the air is being distributed through the ducts. This is no different from any other duct-based air heating or cooling system. Leaks in the ducts could, however, decrease the efficiency of air heaters.

Control system that is located at a central location

Using a thermostat, you can control the temperature in your home. Due to distance, duct loss, and duct location, there may be some uneven heating in every room. Typically, each room does not have its own temperature control. Poorly insulated windows and doors may also result in some cooler spots.

The installation process

If you already have ductwork and insulation, installation is straightforward. A duct installation can be expensive if there is no existing ductwork.

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What type of air heating system do you have in your home? Would you be interested in installing one? Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns. Our team is available to assist you.


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