Your heating and air conditioning system will ultimately need to be updated, just like any other appliance in your house. When the time comes to buy new HVAC equipment, you can select between forced air and central air. Both systems have several advantages, and knowing how they differ might help you decide which is ideal for your house.
Central air and forced air HVAC systems are the heating and cooling components in your home that are necessary for preserving a comfortable indoor environment. Since “forced air” and “central air” essentially refer to the same system in your home, you may hear them used interchangeably. These two air systems do, however, differ from one another.
In full or in part, heating systems are frequently referred to as “forced air,” maybe because furnaces typically contain this element. The component of an HVAC system that distributes warm and cold air throughout the house is called a forced air system. Air is “forced” through a system of air ducts and into the home’s rooms by an air handler. The tenant of each room can regulate the amount of warm or cool air by using a system of vents, blowers, and dampers.
The majority of whole-home HVAC systems come with air handlers that supply conditioned air to the ductwork. This is possibly the reason why whole-home systems are referred to as “forced air systems.”
In contrast, a mini-split air conditioning system has an air handler that isn’t made to function with a forced air system and is instead integrated into the indoor unit.
Given their resemblance, it is simple to understand why “forced air” and “central air” are frequently misunderstood. The main distinction is that “forced air” refers to the air distribution system, whilst “central air” refers to the actual air conditioning unit. In a typical appointment for whole-home HVAC installation, a central air conditioner replacement and connection to a forced air system may be necessary.
Given that they are not utilized simultaneously, a furnace and a central air conditioner can be connected to the same forced air system. The same system can accommodate the installation of additional components like humidifiers. A whole-home system can be made considerably easier to manage by using an air conditioner with a reverse cooling cycle, or heat pump, as it is a single unit that serves as both a heater and air conditioner and feeds into the same forced air system.
What Distinguishes Central Air from Forced Air?
Therefore, the main distinction between central air conditioning and forced air systems is that the latter relates exclusively to a cooling system. The forced-air system in your home is used by a central air conditioning system to deliver cooled air, using the vents, plenums, and ducts to distribute conditioned air.
Using an outside unit that is not at all connected to the furnace, the central air conditioning system is separate from your furnace. But in order to supply cool air throughout your home, it essentially borrows the delivery system.
Because the distinction between the two terms is so slight, they frequently get mixed up. In actuality, the two terms are frequently used inexactly, even by contractors.
Pros and Cons of Forced Air
The production of filtered and dehumidified air by forced air systems, one of their numerous benefits, makes your home more comfortable. Forced air systems’ filtration is also simply upgradeable and low maintenance. With fewer energy costs, you’ll be able to heat or cool your entire house. The value of forced air systems is increased, and they work with both programmable and smart thermostats.
Forced air systems have some drawbacks, such as increased costs and noisier systems. Costs associated with forced air systems are higher, particularly when a central air conditioner is included.
Central Air: Pros and Cons
Central air conditioning systems are very effective and efficient. They don’t need much upkeep, therefore the system can function for a very long time with no maintenance. Additionally, central air conditioning systems may maintain a constant temperature throughout the entire house all year long and work far more silently than conventional forced air systems.
Another advantage of central air systems is their ability to improve air quality by removing humidity, allergens, airborne particles, and dangerous gases. As a result, your home will be cleaner and your family will be able to breathe easier.
Unfortunately, installing central air conditioning systems might be more expensive. Depending on the system type and whether your house already has the necessary ductwork and furnace for the air system to function effectively, the cost may vary. Vents and ducts may require some care since mold and germs can accumulate in them. Make sure to have your central air conditioning system cleaned by a professional at least once a year if you have one.
Although a central air system could result in a larger energy bill, if you keep your air conditioner well-maintained and set the temperature above 72 degrees, you can limit your bills from climbing to intolerably high levels.
Which One Should You Pick?
A forced air system filters the air, and the filtration may be simply upgraded. For effectively chilling the entire house, choose this option. It is the perfect solution for places with high humidity levels because it naturally dehumidifies the air as well. It doesn’t require as much maintenance, so you don’t have to worry about it being overly maintained. When used properly, it can lower your energy costs while maintaining the comfort of your house.
However, you might need to continue utilizing central air conditioning if your house already has a ductwork system. High-efficiency appliances are widely available today. Make sure a qualified expert installs your new HVAC system, though. To learn more about installation and selection, get in touch with us right now.