Q:

What is forced-air heating?

A:

Quick Answer

A forced-air heating system uses a blower and ductwork to distribute heat from a central heat source to the rooms of a home. Possible heat sources include electrical resistance heating, a fuel-burning furnace or a heat pump.

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Full Answer

Adding the blower to the heating system provides better distribution of heat throughout the home. Older systems often incorporated ducts using natural convection currents to distribute heat throughout the home. However, these older systems required locating the furnace under the home and provided less even heating to remote areas. The existing ducts and blower in a forced-air system are useful in providing air conditioning in the home. These affordable systems are the most common type of heating system in use, as of 2014. They filter and humidify the air as it passes through the system.

Some owners find forced-air systems noisy, depending on the location of the furnace and blower. Cycling the blower disturbs allergens, including pollen and mold spores that settle in the ducts, resulting in respiratory issues for allergy sufferers. The ductwork requires space in the walls, attic or basement. The air filters on these units require regular maintenance to prevent damage to the unit. Installers often used asbestos in the ductwork of older systems, which requires mitigation when upgrading.

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