Key Differences Between Central & Forced Air Systems

image of a condenser depicting forced air vs central air hvac systems

Knowing the distinctions between HVAC systems can help you select the best one to meet your needs, whether you are purchasing your initial system or replacing an existing one. Two common types of HVAC systems are forced air and central air HVAC systems. This guide will explore central vs forced air systems with a focus on their advantages. This information aims to help you determine which one is most suitable for your residence.

The technical terminologies associated with HVAC may be perplexing to the average person. McAllister Energy, the most experienced and knowledgeable HVAC service company in southern New Jersey, wants you to be well informed when purchasing a new HVAC system. By engaging our services, you can feel confident that you have made the best decision. Keep reading to explore some of the differences between these two types of HVAC systems.

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What Is A Forced Air Unit & How Does This HVAC System Work?

It is common for industry experts to use the term “forced air” when discussing air heating systems. However, this term is more complex than it may seem. In reality, any HVAC system that circulates temperature-controlled air through air ducts and vents into a dwelling is a forced-air system.

When HVAC technicians use the term “forced air” solely in reference to heating, they are likely referring to a furnace or heat pump.

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How Does a Furnace Work?

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Gas, oil, and electric furnaces function comparably to one another. They all warm houses through the following procedure:

  • The furnace produces heat using propane, oil, natural gas, or electricity. This heat flows through a heat exchanger. As the air within the ductwork of the house passes over the heat exchanger, it warms up.
  • The blower within the furnace propels air through the ductwork to heat the home.
  • Typically, furnaces are referred to as forced-air furnaces since they distribute warm air throughout the various rooms of a home using a blower.
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How Does A Heat Pump Work?

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The heat pump operates similarly to an air conditioner but with the added capability of both heating and cooling a home. It extracts heat from within the house and releases it outside in warmer seasons. During colder months, it pulls heat from the outside air and transfers it indoors.

The following steps outline how heat pumps produce warmth in a home:

  1. The evaporator pulls heat from an external source and delivers it to a heat exchanger. Depending on the type of heat pump, the source may be the air, ground, or a nearby water source.
  2. Heat causes the refrigerant to evaporate when it comes into contact with it. The vaporized refrigerant is then directed to the compressor, where its compression amplifies the heat.
  3. Once the refrigerant fluid becomes a gas, it travels to the condenser to return to a liquid state. The condenser acts as a secondary heat exchanger, allowing water from the central heating system to absorb the heat.
  4. The system then distributes the heat throughout the house. Some heat pumps circulate heated water through pipes under floors or radiators to warm the home, while others utilize motorized blowers to propel warm air through ductwork.
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What Is Central Air Conditioning & How Does It Work?

A central air system employs a closed circuit of refrigerated air to maintain a cool and comfortable home. Typically, central AC systems comprise outdoor and indoor units that work together. Central air cools a home through the following process:

  1. Warm air from inside the house is drawn in through a vent and flows over the evaporator coils. The coils absorb the heat and distribute cold air back through the ductwork.
  2. As the refrigerant absorbs the heat, it transforms from a liquid state to a gaseous and moves on to the compressor. The compressor decreases the gas volume, increasing its temperature and pressure.
  3. The gas then travels to the condenser located in the outdoor system, where it releases heat. The temperature shift turns the gas back into a liquid.
  4. Once the refrigerant has cooled, it is directed back through the system to restart the process.

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Forced Air vs. Central Air: What Is the Difference?

The primary distinction between central air and forced-air systems is that a central air system pertains specifically to the cooling mechanism. A central air conditioning system employs vents, ducts, and a plenum (a device that moves air) in a forced-air setup to provide temperature-regulated air. A central air conditioning system employs the same duct system as your furnace to distribute cool air throughout your home without other connections.

The use of the same ductwork and comparable temperature conditioning procedures make it difficult to differentiate between these two methods of air control. As a result, many industry experts use these terms interchangeably.

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Should I Choose a Forced-Air or Central Air HVAC System?

A forced-air system offers several advantages, including the ability to filter the air and upgrade the filtration quality, energy-efficient cooling, and improved air quality. This type of system can also reduce humidity and doesn’t require excessive maintenance, which can result in lower monthly energy bills.

Today’s market offers many high-performance, energy-efficient air conditioning units that meet your needs. A forced-air HVAC system might be the best option if your home is always humid. However, if you already have a functioning air duct system, sticking with a central air system may be the better choice. Find a reliable HVAC technician to install your new system to ensure optimal performance and lower utility bills.

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HVAC systems play a vital role in making our homes cozy and inviting for both residents and visitors. Choosing a forced-air or central air system ultimately depends on individual preferences and the home environment.

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If you are looking for reliable heating and cooling services in southern New Jersey, look no further than McAllister Energy. Our certified technicians are experts in all aspects of HVAC, such as maintenance, repair, replacements, and more. We pride ourselves on providing top-notch service that you can always count on. As the area’s most sought-after HVAC service provider, we are dedicated to serving you!

At McAllister Energy, we believe in offering affordable heating and cooling services without sacrificing quality. Our maintenance services are designed to improve comfort and energy efficiency while lowering your home’s heating and cooling costs. We’ll work within your budget to recommend the best HVAC solution for your home or business. Plus, all of our work is backed by our satisfaction guarantee.

Don’t wait any longer to schedule a service appointment with McAllister Energy. Call us today and experience the quality service and affordability that we are known for!

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