Forced Air vs. Central Air Systems: How Are They Different?

Aug 12, 2021 | HVAC

When it comes to HVAC systems, you might hear the terms “forced air” and “central air” used interchangeably. But did you know that these systems actually differ in many ways? Trusted HVAC installation contractor A/C and Refrigeration explains what they are and the benefits and drawbacks of each here.

HVAC technician fixing an air duct

Forced Air Systems

A forced-air system refers to any heating and cooling system that distributes temperature-controlled air throughout the house. It has an air handler, which “forces” air from the system through a network of air ducts and into each room. A system of dampers, vents and blowers allows the occupant to control the flow of warm and cool air within the living space.

A forced-air system can be a beneficial component for your home due to ease of maintenance and the ability to upgrade air filters. It’s also compatible with smart and programmable thermostats, allowing for consistent comfort and energy-efficient heating and cooling. However, it also has its disadvantages, including the fact that it costs more to install than other HVAC options like window AC units. To ensure proper function, you need to hire a reliable HVAC company that can perform a professional installation.

Central Air Systems

A central air system, meanwhile, refers specifically to an air conditioning or cooling unit included as part of a forced-air system. That’s probably one reason why these two terms are used interchangeably. It’s not uncommon in HVAC installation projects to replace the central AC unit and connect it to an existing forced-air system. It has an outdoor unit, which houses the condenser and the compressor. These are two components responsible for the refrigeration process.

A central air conditioner, much like a forced-air system, works efficiently and operates quietly. It also has filters that effectively trap airborne particles and help clean the indoor air. Installing one tends to be costly, at least more so than other types of air conditioners. It really depends on the specific type of central air conditioning system you’re installing, however.

For your HVAC repair and replacement needs, turn to A/C and Refrigeration. Give us a call at (602) 488-7161 or fill out our contact form to schedule a service appointment.