Forced Air Heating Furnaces: What Are They and When Should You Replace Them?

Forced Air Heating Furnaces: What Are They and When Should You Replace Them?

If you own a home, you are probably familiar with the many options for heating your home. From gas furnaces to radiant heat to wood-burning fireplaces, there are many options. Perhaps you are just starting to look at homes and are starting to learn about the different heating methods. Forced air heating is a very common heating method, and it’s one you’ve probably experienced at some point in your life. This post will explore what forced air heating is and when you might need to replace your heating system.

What is a forced-air heating furnace?

A forced-air heating furnace is a system that uses air as the medium to transfer heat. Forced air heating systems typically rely on ducts and vents to distribute the warm air throughout the residence or building. Heated air will continue to blow throughout the house until the temperature reaches the temperature set on the thermostat. For instance, if you set the thermostat to 65F, the warm air will continue to blow until that temperature is reached. Once at 65F, the warm air will cease blowing. The heat will turn back on again once the temperature dips below 65F.


How is the air heated? Gas or electric models are the most popular, but forced air furnaces can also be heated by heat pumps and hydronic coils as well. Gas furnaces rely on the flame from natural gas to heat the air while electric models rely on electricity to heat the air.

Where are forced air heating furnaces used?

Forced air heating systems are very common in homes. These systems are frequently installed in basements or the center of the home. Central locations make it easier to distribute the warm air throughout the house.

Many homeowners prefer this type of heating because it is easy to maintain and doesn’t take up space in each room (like a radiator or wood-burning stove would).

Repairing versus replacing

Despite annual maintenance, you might still run into problems with your heating system. You might wonder if you should (or can) repair your furnace or if you need to replace your furnace.

The good news is that diagnosing the problem with this type of system is relatively easy. When compared to radiant heating, it is much easier to inspect a forced-air heating furnace. Because radiant heating is often installed underneath the floors of a house, it is much more difficult to access let alone repair. A forced-air heating system is much more accessible, so repair work and routine maintenance are much more convenient.


That being said, there is a delicate balance between repairing and replacing. Sometimes a problem has a simple fix like replacing the thermostat or installing a new switch. In other cases, it might be more cost-effective to replace the system. If you already have ductwork installed in your home, replacing an old forced-air system with a new forced air system is less expensive than installing ductwork and a new furnace.

Do you have a heating problem?

If you are experiencing problems with your forced air heating furnace, don’t suffer in the cold! Contact us, and we can help diagnose the problem and suggest appropriate solutions.