Advantages and Disadvantages of Forced Air Heating

Advantages and Disadvantages of Forced Air Heating

By: First Supply

Forced air heating is a popular choice for commercial and residential structures in the United States. In fact, forced air/AC remains one of the most common HVAC solutions used in the Upper Midwest. However, since these systems do require ductwork, installation can get expensive if you’re retrofitting buildings that were originally constructed without ductwork. Read about the key advantages and disadvantages of Forced Air Heating systems below.

Advantages of a Forced Air Heating System

Forced air systems are named for the way they blow conditioned air into spaces. These systems hold several advantages over other heating systems.

More affordable

Energy costs aside, repair, replacement, and maintenance costs are lower for a forced air system compared to other heating methods. Choosing Energy Star units can further reduce energy costs to increase savings.

Less visible

Aside from vents and registers, most of the equipment is concealed inside the walls, or hidden in a basement or utility room.

Dual-purpose ducts

The same ductwork is used to move warm air and cool air, so replacing a system or adding a central air conditioner is a relatively easy process and a huge upgrade over individual air conditioning units.

Reliable performance

Forced air systems are constructed with simple components and a limited number of parts. This means there are fewer things to go wrong, and it’s more likely that a repair technician will have parts on hand for faster repairs.

Faster heat

You feel the effects of forced air heating as soon as the furnace kicks on.

Direct heat

Since warm air blows directly from a register, you can dry wet items by putting them over a vent. This works great for mittens, and boots.

Add-on options available

It’s easy to add equipment to filter, humidify and/or dehumidify air for a whole house or commercial structure. Whole-home air purifiers, humidification, and central air conditioning systems are often included at the time of installation.

Energy Efficient

Many furnaces use natural gas, which is an extremely affordable, clean burning fuel. Modern high efficiency furnaces have Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings as high as 98%.

Disadvantages of a Forced Air Heating System

While forced air heating systems are a great fit for many situations, there are some disadvantages to keep in mind if you’re considering this HVAC solution. Read below for a list of disadvantages that come along with a forced air heating system.


Forced air systems can be noisy. These systems involve a furnace turning on and off which adds to the noise level of an indoor space. This might be a consideration if the area in question is going to be used for recording audio or attending Zoom meetings.

Reduced Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Forced air systems blow dust and contaminates around as they heat and cool. Even with air filtering devices in place, it’s a good idea to keep the dust cloth handy if you plan on using a forced air system.

Uneven heating

The location of air ducts and registers may affect the amount of conditioned air that reaches different rooms. Leaky ducts, and distance can reduce the effectiveness of a forced air HVAC system.

Regular maintenance

Other HVAC systems are relatively turnkey in terms of operation and maintenance, however with a forced air system filters need to be changed on a regular basis.

Less control

Because the thermostat is centrally located, directing heat to individual rooms can only be done by opening and closing vents, so you don’t have the control you have with hydronic systems or radiators. Read more about hydronic systems in the article: Pros and Cons of Hydronic Heating.

Less energy efficient

It’s a given that air will leak from even the best constructed run ductwork. Factors like the length, complexity, and number of connection points will affect the efficiency, but suffice it to say that ducts aren’t airtight.

Bringing the Heat

Choosing the perfect heating method for your home or next project takes time and research. This article gives you the information you need to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of a forced air heating system so you can decide whether it’s the right HVAC solution for you. Trust First Supply for all your furnace installation equipment, maintenance supplies, and HVAC information.