Forced air heating is incredibly common. In fact, about 35 million American homes are fitted with this style of heating system. Due to this incredible popularity, a lot of new home owners choose to have forced air installed in the homes they're having built without even giving it a second thought. While forced air heating is an excellent choice for many homeowners, it does have a few intricacies that make it a less ideal choice for others. Before you default to forced air, take the time to weigh the pros and cons of this style of heating system.
Pro: Furnaces are cheaper to replace than boilers.
Not only will your first forced-air furnace cost less than a boiler would, but when it comes time to replace your furnace, the cost will be lower than if you were to have a boiler system. A new, high-efficiency furnace should cost you between $2,500 and $6,000 including installation, whereas a new high-efficiency boiler will cost between $6,000 and $9,000 including installation.
Pro: It's easy to find an installation and repair company.
Because forced air systems are so common, you'll have your choice of contractors whenever it comes to installing, replacing or repairing a forced air furnace. You can get several estimates and go with the company you like the best. Alternatively, you may have a bit harder of a time finding a contractor who works with boiler systems or another less common style of heating system, and you might be forced to go with a less-than-ideal company simply because they're the only one that services your area.
Pro: Forced air heating makes the space feel warm quickly.
When you come home and the house feels cold, turning on the heat makes it feel warm rather quickly since the air is forced through the house. Other systems, like steam radiators, take a bit longer to make a house feel warm since you must wait for the heat to radiate off the radiators and permeate the surrounding air.
Con: Forced air heating blows a lot of dust around.
Every time the heat kicks on, not only is dust from the ducts blown into your home, but dust on surfaces gets dislodged should the blowing air hit it. This can lead to issues for people with allergies and asthma. It also makes it a bit harder to keep your home clean, since each time the heat kicks on, the dust gets displaced.
Con: Forced air systems always make some noise.
The furnace will make a noise when it kicks on, and then there's the blowing noise from the air traveling through the ducts. While this is not an issue for most people, it can be a problem for those who work at home and require silence to concentrate. Some parents also find that the noises from forced air heating disrupt their sleeping babies. If you fall into either of these categories, you might prefer boiler-style heating, which is silent when it's working properly.
Con: With forced air heating, you have to leave space in the wall for ductwork.
The ducts that carry air from your furnace in the basement up to the main floors of your home can be a foot or more in diameter. When designing your home, your architect will have to leave enough space for these ducts between your walls. This leaves less actual living space for you. Boiler-style systems, on the other hand, use thin pipes which allow for less space to be left between walls. If you're trying to maximize your living space within a home, forced air might not be the ideal choice.
Forced air is affordable, convenient, and comfortable. As long as you're aware of and not bothered by a few small downfalls, it can make an excellent heating choice for your new home.
For more information and options, talk with different HVAC contractors in your area, such as Homeplace Furnace Duct & Fireplace Cleaning.