What is the Difference Between Forced Air & Central Air?

There’s a lot going on with your HVAC system, and there can be a lot of confusing things surrounding how the system works to keep your home comfortable. Two of the terms often talked about with HVAC systems are forced air and central air, but understanding the difference can be confusing. The terms are often used interchangeably when referring to the same system in your house, but there are differences.

Both central air and forced air systems have their benefits, but speaking with a trusted Denver HVAC company can help you separate the differences to get the right system into your home. It’s important to get the right system in place to improve your home’s overall air quality, and keep everybody comfortable.

What is Central Air?

Central air refers to a system in which air is heated or cooled at a central location and then distributed throughout the building through vents and ductwork. There is commonly a central unit that distributes the air, like your air conditioner or furnace, and those are connected through a network of ducts. The warm or cool air is then pushed though that ductwork to the rooms of your home, ideally providing consistent temperature control throughout the entire area.

Central air systems are highly effective, and generally require little maintenance. They’re also very quiet, and allow your home to remain at a consistent temperature throughout all of the seasons. Central air systems can also easily filter out things like allergens and other airborne particles, allowing for a cleaner overall air quality. However, they can be a bit more expensive, depending on the system and if your home needs proper ductwork.

What is Forced Air?

Forced air systems work almost as a delivery person for your HVAC system. This is a method of distributing air throughout a building by using fans and/or blowers. The air is still circulated through your ductwork and vents, but the fans and blowers deliver heating and cooling to different parts of a building. Because of the fans, forced air systems can be a bit noisier, and there is some upkeep involved with the ductwork, as cleanings are required every few years or so to avoid mold and dirt from building up.

Where things get confusing is that forced air systems can be part of central air systems. The air can be heated or cooled at a central unit, and then forced through the ducts. However, forced air systems can also be standalone, with things like space heaters or window-mounted air conditioners. Those standalone systems work by heating or cooling the air locally inside their own unit before blowing the warm or cool air into the room.

While forced air and central air are related, they are different and can refer to different aspects of your HVAC system. Getting the right system for your home and budget can help you save on energy bills and provide more consistent temperatures throughout your space. For more information about this differences, reach out to the experts at Sparks Heating and Air today.