What is Forced Air Heating? Here's What You Need to Know

Nearly every home these days has a heating system to keep the atmosphere warm on cold days. From wood and coal furnaces to fully sophisticated geothermal pumps, the air heating industry has advanced remarkably since the 20th century.

Forced air heating is one of the many techniques that can be used to keep a home warm and cozy at a singularly controlled temperature. Most homes and commercial buildings in North America use a type of forced air heating systems. However, not a lot of people actually know what they are called. 

A External link opens in new tab or windowforced-air heating system is a type of HVAC that pulls or sucks cold air in from the outside and channels it to a furnace through ducts. The air is heated at a particular temperature and then distributed all over the home through other ducts and different vents usually mounted on the upper or lower sections of the home. If the heater is on and you don’t want a particular space warmed up, all you have to do is shut the vents in that room and the temperature will remain constant.

Forced air heating systems are pretty affordable as they come in many sizes and variations. They are also easy to install and are highly durable. They can share the same ducts as your cooling system, ultimately reducing the cost of installation and the need for space.


Easy Installation

There’s nothing more frustrating than having to tear down your walls and rip out your floors out to lay in an HVAC system. A forced air system simply blends in with the already existing ducts in your home. The rest of the equipment (blower, heat exchanger, air plenum, fan switch) is easy to install and set up after the ducts have been sorted out.

Quick Heating Time

The whole point of a distributed heating system is faster heating. Unlike a central HVAC where it might take some time for the room to warm up, your forced air heating system sucks in cool air, warms it up, and spreads it throughout your home in a very short period.

Versatility and Reliability

A forced air heating system could either be powered by natural gas or a very small amount of electricity. Most are gas-powered and would be at lower risk of breakdown when compared to other heating systems that rely entirely on high wattage electricity to function.


Forced air heating systems are relatively cost-effective and reasonably priced. There are many categories of these systems with different levels of sophistication, so there’s always something your budget can work with. Also, due to the ease of installation, workmanships costs are effectively reduced.


They are Quite Noisy

There’s a lot you can do to mitigate the amount of noise emanating from your system, but no matter how sophisticated it is, a forced air system will always produce some noise. Older systems are remarkably loud and you’d have to decide if it’s a price to pay for a warm sleep at night.

There's No Centralized Control

The only way to control the heat within a room is to close the vents – either fully or to an extent. The temperature control is often regulated by a sole thermostat and this doesn’t leave individual room owners many options.

Possible Health Risks

Just as with a cooling system, a forced air heating system may contribute to the circulation of dust and other particles through the ducts and around your home. The alternating warm and cold conditions may give rise to the growth of resistant mold varieties in your ducts. When these particles get into human bodies through the nostrils or ingestion through food, they may result in illnesses such as mold-induced asthma and bronchitis.

To avoid this, the air ducts and vents should be cleaned out at least once in six months for optimum wellness. A forced air heating system is a great investment and an awesome HVAC option for your home.