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What Are the Differences Between Central Air and Forced Air HVAC Systems?

central air and forced air

Forced air and central air HVAC systems refer to the heating and cooling elements in your home that are essential for maintaining a quality indoor living space. You may hear the terms “forced air” and “central air” used interchangeably since they are basically referring to the same system in your house. However, there are differences between these two air systems.

As an expert HVAC system repair company, Cates Heating and Cooling is here to help you decide which air system is right for your home. Both central air and forced air systems offer pros and cons, but we recommend that you take advantage of both to improve your home’s air quality and overall atmosphere.

What Are the Differences Between Forced Air and Central Air Systems?

Typically, forced air refers to the heating system in your home, while central air refers to the cooling system. However, these terms are often used interchangeably because your central air system will use the forced air system’s vents and ducts to deliver cool air into your home.

Central air systems will produce hot or cold air in a central location and deliver the conditioned air into your house. Your air conditioner is a central air system independent of your furnace and uses an outside unit to create cool air.

The outside unit in a central air conditioning system uses a condenser, compressor, and evaporator coils to loop recycled and refrigerated air in your home. The condenser and compressor are located on the outdoor unit, and they work with the evaporator coils to pull in hot air and release cool air through the ducts and vents.

On the other hand, a forced air system works as a delivery method for any HVAC system that uses air ducts and vents to send conditioned and temperature-controlled air into your home. Forced air systems are generally associated with your home’s heating system since they originate from furnaces or heat pumps.

Pros and Cons of Central Air

Central air systems are highly efficient and effective. They require little maintenance, so the system can last a long time without any major upkeep. Central air systems also operate a lot more quietly than other forced air systems, and they can keep the entire house at a consistent temperature year-round.

Another benefit of central air systems is that they can promote cleaner air quality by filtering out humidity, allergens, airborne particles, and harmful gases, allowing your house to be cleaner and your whole family to breathe better.

Unfortunately, central air systems can be more expensive to install. The cost can vary depending on what type of system it is, as well as whether your home already has the proper ductwork and furnace for the air system to work properly. There is also some potential maintenance with vents and ducts since bacteria and mold can build up. If you have a central air system, be sure to have it professionally cleaned at least once a year.

Although a central air system may result in a higher energy bill, if you set your air conditioning above 72 degrees and keep it well maintained, you can prevent your bills from getting unbearably high.

Pros and Cons of Forced Air

Forced air systems offer many advantages, including the ability to produce filtered and dehumidified air, allowing your home to be more comfortable. The filtration in forced air systems can also easily be upgraded and requires little maintenance. You’ll be able to heat or cool your whole home with lower energy bills. Forced air systems add value to your home and are even compatible with programmable and smart thermostats.

There are some disadvantages to forced air systems, including the higher expense and noisier system. Forced air systems are more expensive, especially when combined with a central air conditioning unit.

There is also some upkeep involved with your home’s vent and ductwork. Ducts must be sealed and cleaned every few years to avoid mold, mildew, and dirt build-up. Without proper maintenance and regular filter changes, you could potentially blow air into your home that’s contaminated with dust and other allergens.

Forced air systems must also be installed by a professional. Fortunately, Cates offers many different HVAC service plans to make the process affordable and hassle-free for you.

How to Decide Which Air System Is Right for You

Deciding what type of HVAC system is right for you can be a challenge. Fortunately, we have expert technicians who can help you decide which air system is perfect for your home.

If you’re unsure about what’s best for you and your family, first consider what system would be compatible with your home. If you don’t have existing ductwork or the vents and ducts in your home need major repair or replacement, you may consider a ductless mini-split unit. These can provide temperature-controlled air to whatever room you need.

If you live in an area where temperature control is essential during the summer and winter months, you may consider getting a whole-house central air system for your home. Although the upfront cost may be more expensive, it’s worth the extra money to be able to live and breathe in comfort.

Cates Heating and Cooling can make the HVAC installation process easy for you! Our certified technicians offer same-day and even emergency service. We also have financing options to make the job as affordable as possible for you. Contact us today at 913-888-4470 for Kansas residents and 816-944-1844 for Missouri residents to get started!

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