Warm Air Central Heating Advantages and Disadvantages

Warm Air Central HeatingWarm air systems were popular in the 60s and 70s, before wet radiator systems took over. Today, warm air systems are often overlooked, but new developments and innovations mean warm air central heating systems are definitely worth considering as they could save you money on your heating bills.


What is Warm Air Heating?

Warm air central heating units heat up your home during the cooler months, and provide an efficient alternative to traditional central heating systems. The most usual means of powering warm air heating is through natural gas, though oil and electric can be used instead. The biggest advantage of installing a warm air heating system is the fast direct heating of air which goes directly where it is needed via ceiling grilles, side wall registers or floor grilles at a comfortable speed. You can opt for either gas warm air heating or electric warm air heating depending on your individual requirements and your homes’ capabilities.

How Do Warm Air Heating Systems Work?

Warm air heating, or warm air central heating, is the process of turning cool air to warm air. A warm air heater sucks in the surrounding cooler air through a vent and that air is then pushed over a heat exchanger via a fan.

The heated metal plates within the exchanger heat the cool air as it passes across, turning it into warm air. Once the air has been warmed it is passed out to the remainder of the building. This continual process carries on until a predetermined level on the thermostat is reached. The system then remains on standby mode until the temperature drops below a limit (set by the occupants of the house) at which point it begins to start warming the air again. This simple process is used across homes in the UK to keep them warm during the winter months.

What are the Main Warm Air Heating Advantages?

  • Quick response for demanding heating requirements during the winter
  • Unlike wet radiator systems, warm air systems do not risk a breakdown at the hands of water leaks, sticking valves, sludge or pump failure, meaning they are a more effective heating system
  • Controlled ventilation to ensure maximum comfort for the entire household
  • A longer life service than wet radiator systems
  • There is the option to have an air cleaner on, which removes particles such as pollen, tobacco smoke and other intolerances.
  • Can incorporate a cooling system for summertime use
  • No need for radiators
  • No water tank so no risk of freezing or a leak

One of the other main benefits of using air heating is the running costs, which can be up to 18% lower in comparison to other heating systems, yet warm air systems still include the option of heating hot water.

The other large benefit is the air filter that can remove harmful particles. This means that all of the air in your house can be electronically cleaned approximately six times an hour. The latest filters will remove up to 95% of airborne particles down to one micron, effectively minimising the amount of pollen, human and pet hair, mould, bacteria and tobacco smoke in the air. The result is a cleaner, healthier environment for all occupants of the household, especially for those who suffer from hay fever or respiratory complaints.

What are the Main Warm Air Heating Disadvantages?

  • As warm air systems deteriorate with age they may suffer with an inefficient on and off mechanism
  • Warm air heating systems can be expensive to buy and install
  • Could cause problems with asthma sufferers
  • Dust movement may cause problems
  • Can be noisy
  • Systems struggle to gauge temperature when windows are left open
  • Re-routing ducts can be time consuming and costly
  • Need decent insulation to stop condensation which can lead to damp

Whilst there does appear to be way more  benefits to installing a warm air unit, it is worth considering that they are usually associated with new build housing and that it could work out very expensive to install a system into an older house.

How Much Does a Warm Air System Cost to Buy and Install?

As a warm system requires ducts to allow the flow of warm air, costs vary dramatically depending on whether your home already has ductwork or not.  Bear in mind that you’ll need to hire a qualified heating engineer to install a warm air heating system safely and in line with building regulations.

If a home already has air ducts, then installing a warm air system is relatively straightforward and should only take around two days. For a house of around 2,000 square feet you would be looking at costs of around £2,500 though if additional ducts need to be added this cost could easily increase.

For a house that needs ducts, such as a house that uses radiators, both the costs and time involved will go up quite considerably. For a 2,000 square feet home there costs would be somewhere between £5,000 to £6,500 to install the system and required ducts.

Tony Lenthall says:

We are living in Normandy, France, and are renovating a house. We are interested in gas warm air ducted heating. We would need a storage tank for the gas. Are you able to assist us?

ablyth says:

Hi Tony, we have a sister company in France called 123Devis – they can connect you with tradesmen in Normandy who can advise you on heating options.

Dot Kirkham says:

We have an Economy 7 electric warm air heating system we believe the fan motor has failed and have been unable to find a local electrician who has experience of this system. We are in Aberlour, Scotland (AB38) is there anything you can do to help?

sdeshmukh says:

I am sorry but but we don’t do this category, however we can get you in contact with appliance repair engineer who might help you fix the fan motor. Fill out this form and we will try our best to find you an electrician.

Dicky Thrift says:

My elderly relatives have an original 1970s warm air system in their bungalow and I am concerned that the system could circulate dust and associated moulds growing in the potentially damper / cooler parts of the ducting. Can an electrostatic filter be retrofitted?

sdeshmukh says:

Hi Dicky,
I don’t think we do warm air system category but if you think an electrician can do this job then we can get you in touch with electricians to repair your warm air system. Just fill out this form and UP TO 4 electricians will provide you with free no-obligation quotes. Make sure you add detailed description of your project in the form to get better service.

David francis says:

I’m in the process of buying a 70s bungalow, which currently has a warm air heating system, with an original boiler, how do warm air costs compare to a regular central heating system? I had been planning to put a combi boiler and rads in straight away… Any advice?

Bexicle123 says:

Hi David, we recently moved into a 1970’s semi with warm air heating. At first we were concerned about the cost and were set on converting to radiators etc, but we’ve found there’s a slight decrease in warm air gas bills compared to those we’d had in a previous property with wet heating. Only downside is having to use an immersion heater but we plan to update the warm air system to incorporate that soon. Instant heat and cleaner air is a definite winner for us, and much less dust everywhere too.

Vinod Patel says:


I am currently in the process of extending our house, approx 680sq mts, and wanted to have a warm air heating system installed. Would you be able to assist.
Thank you

samrat says:

Hi Vinod,
Unfortunately we don’t provide contractors for this category but if you are looking for central heating then you can fill out this form and UP TO 4 central heating specialists will provide you free no-obligation quotes. Also if you want we can provide you quotes for home extension.

Nicki Buckland says:

I’m about to move into a house with warm air heating. The heating unit is in the centre of the house and I’d like to move it to the side. Is this possible at all and could you give me an idea of cost?
Many thanks

samrat says:

Hi Nicki,
It should be possible to move the heating system to a side. The cost will depend on what actually needs to be done. The engineers will have to take a look at it and then quote. You can get free no-obligation quotes by filling out this central heating form.

Peter Martin says:

I have moved into an early 1970’s bungalow with what appears to be an original SUGG warm air heating system that also heats the hot water, whatever I set the gas control to the water stays permanently excessively hot, any advice please.

samrat says:

Hi Peter,
There might be an issue with the temperature control system. Get a central heating engineer to have a look at it. You can find engineers here to provide you with free no-obligation quotes.

jacqui says:

I have warm air heating that was installed when the house was built in 1970s. My bills have gone through the roof and the house doesn’t heat up with some of the vents not putting out any heat. I live in a 3 bed end terraced house which has 1 bathroom a lounge diner and separate kitchen. Don’t know my sq footage. I have ducting already how much would it cost for a whole new system or is it possible to just replace the fan system and keep my existing boiler and hot water cylinder? thank you

Rod Brook says:

I have warm air heating and am getting new double glazing fitted. The glaziers tell me that I must have a vent fitted in the wall. Can anybody tell me where and what size the vent must be?

mjackson says:

Hi Rod,
We are afraid that this isn’t something that we are going to able to advise on as you would need to speak to a ventilation specialist.
Should you be looking for quotes on the work then please feel free to fill out our online form and we will aim to match you up to 4 local companies that will be able to help.
Should you only be seeking advice then we recommend trying a internet search for local companies and you can call them directly with any questions you have.

Chris says:


I am currently in the process of buying a house with a warm air system but my wife has concerns as the report that we got says that there could be asbestos in the ducts, flue and behind the system. I can understand that there would be around the outside of the ducting and and behind the system and the flue but is this a common thing for it to be on the inside of the ducting or are they being over cautious?

Also what would be a rough cost of a new system that does all the filtering and controls our water heat? and any good suppliers around the hartwell northampton area.

Grateful for any advice


mjackson says:

Hi Chris,

We would advise looking for an asbestos specialist who will be to give you a definitive answer in regards to the suspected asbestos – you can request quotes by filling in our online asbestos form.

We also cover heating therefore please feel free to complete our online heating form in order to receive free quotes on any work you might need doing.

We hope this helps.

mark @ Servicemagic

domestic air conditioning says:

Very good posts. Appreciate it.

Maria says:

I m looking to update my hot air heating and wonder if you have branch in Kettering or anywhere else in Northants?

mjackson says:

Hi Maria
In order to place a request for quotes, you would need to complete our request form by clicking this link.

We will then aim to match your request with up to 4 local tradesman who will contact you in order to make arrangements to view the job and offer the free quote.

Cheryl lewendon says:

Hi, we’ve just moved into a three bedroom house in Bracknell, Berkshire and it has a warm air system that also heats the water. If possible, I would like it updated as the boiler and water tank takes up a lot of space. I’m not sure if the new systems are any smaller? Do you know anyone I can talk to in my area?
Thank you

mjackson says:

Hi Cheryl,

Thanks for your post.

In order to use our service, you would need to be seeking official quotes, with a view to having the work done.
If you are,please feel free to fill in our online request form and we will aim to match you with up to 4 local contractors who will call you in order to arrange a convenient time for them to visit you and provide you with a free quote.

Sean says:

Hi there,
Question on behalf of my parents who have a warm air system in a 40yr old house. They had a replacement heater for their warm air heating fitted 2 yrs ago but could a hot water heater be added onto this system.?Piggyback style I mean. They currently have a seperate water heater (old combi) but that’s now died.
Seemed logical to me that a relatively new air heater should be able to also heat water for hot-tap purposes. In addition to reducing the space needed for two seprate systems/heaters/boiler.

mjackson says:

Hi Sean,

Thanks for your post.

We would love to advise however it would be difficult as we aren’t heating engineers ourselves.

I would suggest searching for local companies that you can contact who should be able to answer these questions.

Thanks again.

Jo Tearle says:


We have a warm air heating system and the amount of dust it moves around the house is awful. I am asthmatic and find it a real problem and we have to dust almost daily. Is there a way the system can be cleaned to reduce the dust?

mjackson says:

Hi Jo,

Unfortunately, we don’t have a category for cleaning of a warm air system however, we would recommend speaking to a local warm air specialist who will be able to advise further.

Thanks for your post.

Mark @ Servicemagic

Dweston says:

we have an electric warm air unit that needs replacing but cannot find anyone on the Isle of Wight. Plenty of electricians but no one knows about these units. Help do you know of any installers?

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