Forced Air vs. Central Air: What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons)

With endless HGTV-style shows about flipping houses and preserving historical detail, more and more buyers are choosing to purchase older homes. It’s easy to see why. Old homes have:

  • History 🗿
  • Character 🎭
  • Great bones 🦴
  • Excellent resale value, if done right 💰

What old homes typically don’t have, though? Air conditioning.

When you want to bring your home to the 21st century, it is important to invest in a high-quality HVAC system that will keep your home’s temperature regulated all year long. However, when it comes to choosing an HVAC system, there tends to be one debate among homeowners that has no answer.

Forced air vs. central air.

While both models offer benefits, it is important to do your research and choose the system that fits your needs and budget. That’s where we come in!

We’ve done the research for you and compiled it all together to help you choose the style that’s right for you. Keep reading to learn more!

What Is Forced Air?

“What is forced air” is a difficult question to answer because there are two definitions. There is the very technical definition and then the one that most people think of when they refer to forced air.

Technically speaking, a forced air system is any heating and cooling system that blows air into your home via ducts and vents. However, when most people talk about forced air, they are only thinking of a heating system.

Typically, modern models of forced air systems will use electricity to power a heat source that warms the air. A powerful fan then pushes the air through the system.

What Is Central Air?

Central air is what most people think of when they think of a modern HVAC system. While the technical definition of a forced air system can include both heating and cooling systems, central air only includes an air conditioner.

Your central AC system typically relies on an outdoor unit that pulls cool air into your home. It is then dispersed through your ducts and vents.

Forced Air vs. Central Air: Pros and Cons

In some ways, comparing forced air vs. central air is like comparing apples and oranges. They both have a unique set of pros and cons that makes them difficult to compare. However, if you are looking to get a comprehensive look at the benefits each kind can offer, keep reading!

Forced Air

Forced air systems are typically the best choice for homeowners who live in a climate with varying temperatures.

Pros

  • Heating and Cooling System – Forced air gives you the best of both worlds in the sense that it can both heat and cool your home.
  • Affordability – In general, forced air systems can be fairly affordable to install, provided your home already has ducts installed.
  • Energy Efficient – Modern systems are very energy efficient and can help you save money in the long run.
  • Clean Air – Your forced air system will have an air filter that can trap dust and other particles that irritate your allergies.

❌ Cons

  • Cost – If you are looking to install a heating system as well as a cooling system, it can quickly add up. That number becomes bigger when you factor in adding ducts.
  • Carbon Monoxide Risk – If you choose a model that uses gas to power it, you run the risk of creating a carbon monoxide leak in your home.
  • Inconsistencies – If you are using existing ductwork, it is possible that your heating and cooling will be inconsistent throughout your home.

Central Air

Central air systems are optimal for generally warm climates, where the only temperature change you need is cooling.

✅ Pros

  • Doesn’t Take Up Indoor Space – Because central air systems typically make use of an outdoor unit, you don’t have to worry about making space for your central air system inside your home.
  • Cost Effective – Since you only need to use your central air system in hot weather, you may save money by not running it year-round.
  • Filtered Air – Just like with a forced air system, your central air system will filter irritants and allergens out of the air.
  • Avoid Humidity – Your central air system can decrease the humidity in your home, which can help you stay comfortable and avoid mold growth and other side effects of high humidity.

❌ Cons

  • Limited Options – Central air will not help keep you warm on days when the temperatures dip. This means that you may need to layer up on cold days!
  • Duct Maintenance – In order to keep your system functioning, proper maintenance is required. You will need to regularly invest in duct cleaning in order to avoid irritating your respiratory system and dealing with inconsistent cooling.

How Much Does It Cost to Install an HVAC System?

The overall price of installing an HVAC system will vary depending on:

  • The size of your home
  • The system you choose
  • The area you live in
  • Whether or not you have ductwork installed

In general, a central air conditioning system will cost you between $1,200-$4,500. Furnaces also have a wide range of costs, depending on the style you choose. They can range from $1000-$5,000 in some extreme cases.

Tips to Maintain Your HVAC System

If those numbers have you shaking in your boots, it’s important to remember that a well-maintained HVAC system can last you for years to come! Doing a little work today will save you money in the long run. Follow these maintenance tips for an HVAC system that functions perfectly.

1) Schedule Tune-Ups 🗓️

One of the best ways to protect your HVAC system – whichever style you choose – is to schedule regular tune-ups with your service provider. Many HVAC professionals actually offer maintenance programs that keep your air conditioner and furnace working all year long.

2) Change the Filters 🧰

An old, clogged air filter can decrease the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Additionally, it can also affect the quality of the air in your home. Changing the filter a few times a year will help keep things moving.

3) Clean Your Outdoor Unit 🌳

It’s easy to forget about our outdoor air conditioner, but that thing sure can take a beating as the seasons change! Make sure to regularly remove any leaves and other debris that might surround it, as well as dust and cobwebs. A clean air conditioner is an effective one!

4) Get Rid of Clutter 🧹

Dust is the enemy of your heating and cooling system. You can help to keep it from building up by avoiding cluttering the area where your furnace or heat pump is installed. We know this can be challenging, as many people use their furnace area as a storage area, but leaving space or regular cleaning is a great way to maintain your furnace.

How to Find a Quality Home Service Professional

There are many home service professionals on the market, but not all are created equal. Here are the things to look for in order to hire someone trustworthy to work on your HVAC system.

  • Experience – You’ll want to look for a team that has experience working with the systems that you are hoping to install.
  • Reviews – Reviews are one of the best ways to determine whether or not customers have enjoyed working with the company in the past. You can get an honest look at whether or not they show up when they say they will complete the work well and charge fair prices.
  • Referrals – Your best resource is right next to you! Your neighbors have likely had to ask for help with their HVAC systems at one point or another. Asking your friends, family, and community members for a referral can help you feel confident in the company that you choose.

Talk to the Team at Aquarius

If you’re looking for a trustworthy team with plenty of experience, call on Aquarius Home Services. Whether you are looking for a tune-up or to install an entirely new system, our HVAC specialists can help you find a solution that works for your lifestyle and budget. Contact us today to book your appointment!

Jack Livingston
Jack Livingston
1721093363
Nicholas was an extremely helpful technician. He was thorough and fixed our issue at a reasonable cost. We were impressed with the customer service we got both from him and everyone at Aquarius. Thanks for getting us in within 24 hours, fixing our air conditioning and explaining what was going on.
Sandy Oldeen
Sandy Oldeen
1721089662
Mike Lauer from Aquarius came to service my A/C. Mike was so kind in informing me of my options. He had my trust right away. In the end I purchased a new unit. Mike is definitely an asset to Aquarius. Thanks for the good service Mike!
Karen Arcand
Karen Arcand
1721088008
Leigh Griffith
Leigh Griffith
1720985156
Nick did a nice job of showing us what was affecting our AC and the problems that were looming with our furnace.
Scott Moore
Scott Moore
1720976548
The technician worked hard and did a great job.
Mary Cole
Mary Cole
1720816564
Had technician, Nathan come to perform yearly check on AC Very knowledgeable and explained everything. Bonus points for fixing the pesky rattle from the ductwork!
Jessica McDougall
Jessica McDougall
1720815008
Aquarius has consistently been great at fast response times, responsive communication, and willingness to teach about the maintenance procedures they perform. We will never go back to anyone else!
Nancy Melvin
Nancy Melvin
1720809794
Provided prompt and professional service.
Sean M
Sean M
1720808556
Stephen Clonkey
Stephen Clonkey
1720801379
Riley was very thorough and communicated with us very well.
Jessica Kohl
Jessica Kohl
1720723436
Mike C was my technician and he was AWESOME, very nice, knowledgeable, respectful inside my home (wore booties, didn’t touch newly painted walls, even picking up clumps of insulation on the carpet and putting in his pocket so it wasn’t on the floor, turning off lights) he was great!
Tim Peterson
Tim Peterson
1720718604
Highly recommend Aquarius Home Services. Mike was very professional and explained everything in easy to understand detail. Keep up the good work!
Natalia Yasama
Natalia Yasama
1720656615
There is no better technician than Riley !Very professional, honest , perfectionist. 11 stars service .
Karl Witt
Karl Witt
1720640365
Super great experience! Air conditioning went out at 10 o’clock in the morning and the technician arrived here by 1:45 and completed the repair in less than 45 minutes. Graham, the technician, was really awesome and did a great job with repair.
Bonster Bon
Bonster Bon
1720639807
He did a good job representing your company young man explain things thank you Ethan
JD Smith
JD Smith
1720631805
Excellent deal, sales person, and installation techs. Staff are friendly, they listen to you, and are professional! Two thumbs up! Thank you Thomas, Mick, and Jeff!
Hans Schroeder
Hans Schroeder
1720627228
Mary Schmuland
Mary Schmuland
1720616091
Professional, proficient, courteous, and going above and beyond! We were extremely satisfied with John and his plumbing services; removed garbage disposal, connected new faucet and soap dispenser, rectified hook-up with Aquarius water filter to our refrigerator, and installed new sink drains. He was prompt, worked in a congested cabinet, and did a superb job with attention to details. Would be glad to trust him and his expertise, again! Pleasant and focused!
Carmelo Panetta
Carmelo Panetta
1720569940
Brandon did a great job cleaning five mini split airconditioning, including fixing a broken one.
Ayrlahn Johnson
Ayrlahn Johnson
1720566419
The Boogieman came out and fixed our furnace and AC in one fell swoop. Got them both working. We were heated up a bit but now Cooler heads 😎 are prevailing!
Gregg Barker
Gregg Barker
1720566016
Riley and Brent did an awesome job. The communication with scheduling and knowing when someone was coming was frustrating as the time kept changing.
Becky Hansen
Becky Hansen
1720565057
No pressure sales appointment tget went over all tge options, got an appointment with 3 days to have the install. The install guys gave ne s call ahead. They put in the nee furnace & AC unit, explained what they did and also showed us. They took ff the service call charge as we bought the units as it was not worth fixing (our AC was 41 years old we found out) Travis Lee and his partner were professional and very knowledgeable. Would highly recommend Aquarius
Denise Bratvold
Denise Bratvold
1720545466
Another seamless experience with Aquarius Home Services. The timely communication with Jeremy from before arrival continued as he worked through my water heater problem and options for solutions. Would highly recommended AHS.
LaNae Christenson
LaNae Christenson
1720536581
Chris came to evaluate a slow leak and quickly found the source of the problem. He gave the best and worst case scenario and got to work right away. I appreciated his candor and professionalism throughout the entire process and am very pleased with the result. I would definitely call again if needed.
Barb Galvez
Barb Galvez
1720535493
Tech was awesome, friendly and very well qualified for my AC tune ups.
melissa goldman
melissa goldman
1720478062
Just can't say enough good things about Aquarius. We've general contracted a couple of our own homes and have never worked with such professional, knowledgeable and kind people. We had a Kinetico system installed that Brian coordinated. Even though we have Kinetico water filtration in other homes and are familiar, he pointed out things that we didn't know. Paul worked on our plumbing and was equally wonderful. Just made everything so easy. We had a sizeable amount of electrical work done by Dave and AJ and Erik. Absolutely top shelf every step of the way. AJ even, on his own time, went in search of a scarce part we needed to finish the upgrades. He found it and finished in one day! AJ really went above and beyond throughout. They all did. Truly so grateful to the teams and can't recommend them highly enough.
Linda Thompson
Linda Thompson
1720473879
They installed a tank less water heater. We were very impressed with their work. Very knowledgeable and courteous. A GREAT team.
Matt Schifsky
Matt Schifsky
1720470294
Quick response to a cut gas line. Friendly technician.
Lee Daniels
Lee Daniels
1720466379
If i could give zero stars i would. Contacted who we thought was Freedom Heating and Air a local small business and got Aquarius a greedy corporation. Got a quote over the phone of $98 to install a new smart thermostat that we purchased. Technician came out less than 30 minutes it was installed since the smart thermostat is hardwired into our furnace. Then was told the cost was $345! Talk about bait and switch. This company is a total scam. Asked to speak with someone with customer care….still waiting. Finding a new company for any future needs. Avoid this Aquarius. They ruined a perfectly good small business. DO NOT RECOMMEND! Avoid! Call someone else!
Robert Abbott
Robert Abbott
1720459912
Dave did an electric panel inspection and house wiring inspection. He was extremely professional and broke everything down into language i understood. You are my electric repair company of choice because of the great and professional employees you have working for you! I’d say it was 5 star service as usual!!!
Janet Boeckmann
Janet Boeckmann
1720457435
Eric was the service guy who came out to do a check upOn our water conditioner. He was on time, very professional and explained what he did. We would highly recommend Aquarius home services !
Joan Holmes
Joan Holmes
1720453542
We had a great experience with the entire team from sales to water treatment team. We were so pleased that we took your offer to have our furnace tuned up by your people. Thank you!
Kay Wortman
Kay Wortman
1720280580
They are real thorough and good at what they do. Very clean and clean everything when they are done could not even tell they were there at all .Problem with sink all fixed.would highly recommend them.
EDWIN MEKENYE
EDWIN MEKENYE
1720237776
Knowledgeable technicians, professional and simply marvelous in what they do.Boss, kindly give them a raise!
Myra Kunas
Myra Kunas
1720228638
Great service. Was able to come out the same day to help with a plumbing issue and even showed me a bunch of helpful information about our water softener that has plagued me for 15 years. Highly recommend.
William Green
William Green
1720215619
Tech diagnosed problem and replaced part. Quick service. I would do business with them again and recommend them four you service needs
Joe Y
Joe Y
1720215261
Mary
Mary
1720213282
Ethan was very professional and thorough. Easy to discuss details of the service. I would recommend Aquarius.
Don Meyers
Don Meyers
1720212412
I appreciated the thorough inspection and the care and maintenance advice. Unfortunately our concern with the system was due to the length of travel with the duct work. So no increase in cooling.
Steven Emert
Steven Emert
1720206147
Very thorough, knowledgeable, up front about what is and isn’t needed, costs.
Jackie Anderson
Jackie Anderson
1720200877
Michael Russo
Michael Russo
1720189389
As always, outstanding, communicative customer service and Nick the technician gave my furnace a head to toe tune up. The best
karyn proulx
karyn proulx
1720147687
Anita Prairie
Anita Prairie
1720046929
Christiane Ickx
Christiane Ickx
1720045544
They did one outstanding job! I would highly recommend them!
Pam Borgan
Pam Borgan
1720042057
Riley was an amazing technician and explained everything totally. I would highly recommend him to anyone.
Bob Singleton
Bob Singleton
1720038418
Techs were on time, friendly and skilled. I had a bigger problem than I thought and they handled it well.
Christopher Christenson
Christopher Christenson
1720037545
Seems like they decided my house would be a good one to let a trainee go at it. They damaged my siding on a simple job. I highly regret not going with another company. Not worth the cost.I paid the high cost to ensure the best service, but they screwed it up.
Mickey Olson
Mickey Olson
1720031959
Techs were great. Very informative and polite. Explained everything I needed to know. Thanks
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