Forced-Air Furnace – You Have One, but What Does That Mean?

Posted by Scott Mise | 01.12.2015

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177749855You may have just purchased a new home or renovated your current one, and now have a forced-air furnace. But what are they, and why are these units so popular?

All furnaces share a similar design, although traditional models use convection to provide heat. This means that it takes advantage of hot air’s tendency to rise, but the size of the furnace also increases with the size of the space to heat. Forced-air systems operate with an air handler that contains a blower to push the hot air through ductwork to heat the rest of the house. They come in three types: upflow (for furnaces in the basement), downflow (for attic furnaces), and horizontal (for ranch-style houses and single-level apartments). You will benefit from a more even distribution of heat throughout the home.

Forced-air systems have two sets of ductwork. One set branches off from the furnace, sending warm air to every room of your home. The other set brings cool air from each room back to your furnace. Because of its natural circulatory system, it’s also easy to install central air-conditioning when you have a forced-air furnace in place. The system also uses a thermostat to automatically shut off at a desired temperature, whether cold or hot, thus saving you even more.

There are several types of systems, and yours may have one or more of the following features:

  • gas, electric, or hybrid power source
  • heat pump
  • digital thermostats
  • dehumidifier
  • fresh air system
  • central air conditioning

Depending on the format, your system may be whisper-quiet or less expensive to run than other kinds. Installing a new forced-air system is fairly simple, although it requires running the ducts through walls. Once installed, maintenance and cleaning are both quick. Forced-air systems also allow you to keep better control over air quality in the home.

Owning a forced-air furnace has been proven time and again to be a more efficient and cost-effective than traditional furnaces. They are found in nearly 35 million homes across the U.S. For additional information on the benefits of a forced-air furnace or other issues related to home comfort, please feel free to contact us.