Warm Air Central Heating Advantages and Disadvantages
Warm 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.