forced-air heating

In by Mark Goodman

A common form of heating using natural gas, propane, oil or electricity as the fuel. Air is heated in the furnace and distributed through a set of metal plastic ducts to various areas of the house.

forced-air heating (Wikipedia)
A photo of a floor-mounted register from which heated or cooled air enters a room.
A forced-air system includes registers located in individual rooms through which heated air is discharged.

A forced-air central heating system is one which uses air as its heat transfer medium. These systems rely on ductwork, vents, and plenums as means of air distribution, separate from the actual heating and air conditioning systems. The return plenum carries the air from several large return grills (vents) to a central air handler for re-heating. The supply plenum directs air from the central unit to the rooms which the system is designed to heat. Regardless of type, all air handlers consist of an air filter, blower, heat exchanger/element/coil, and various controls. Like any other kind of central heating system, thermostats are used to control forced air heating systems.

Forced air heating is probably the type of central heating most commonly installed in North America. It is much less common in Europe, where hydronic heating predominates, especially in the form of hot-water radiators.

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