Is Forced Air Heating Right For Your Home?

Choosing a heating system for a new construction home requires weighing plenty of different options. You'll need to examine utility rates and availability in your area, as well as consider the local climate and how much you care about long-term efficiency versus short-term installation costs. Although there's no single solution for every home, many homeowners ultimately choose forced-air systems.

Of course, building a new house from the ground up means getting exactly the home you want, so it's worth considering if forced-air systems are the right choice for you. These four questions will help you decide if a forced-air system fits in with your dream home.

1. Are You Installing Central AC? 

Most homeowners choose to install central air conditioning systems, but there are still some parts of the country where it's less common. However, if you install an air conditioning system in your home, it's worth considering the overlap with forced-air heating. Your furnace will share the air handler unit and ductwork with your AC, significantly reducing installation costs.

2. Is Indoor Air Quality a Concern?

Hydronic radiant heating systems can often produce a more even, comfortable heat, but they also come with a significant drawback. Since radiant systems don't use convection, air can become stagnant. With a forced-air system, your return ducts constantly cycle air through a whole-house filter, helping to circulate and purify the air. If allergens are a concern, forced-air systems may be a better option.

3. Is Natural Gas Available In Your Area?

The primary difference between forced-air and radiant systems is the method of heating. Forced-air systems use convection, which means they heat the air and circulate it through the house. Ductwork losses make this method less efficient than radiant heating, so it's best to reduce your overall heating costs as much as you can. Since natural gas is typically cheaper than electric heating, it's a good option.

4. Do You Frequently Change Thermostat Setpoints?

One overlooked advantage of forced-air heating is that it tends to heat rooms relatively quickly. Many people don't turn radiant heating systems down at night because it takes them a while to reheat in the morning. On the other hand, forced-air systems can provide heat nearly instantly, and an adequately-sized system should get your home up to temperature in a short period.

Ultimately, forced-air heating systems are ubiquitous because they offer an excellent blend of affordability, efficiency, and comfort. If you still don't think one of these systems is right to heat your new home, it's a good idea to discuss alternatives with your HVAC contractor. Taking the time to choose the right heating system for you will help you enjoy your home through many future winters.