Updated on 2nd December, 2022 by Martin Astley
Have you ever heard of a warm air heating system? If not, don’t fret, these heating systems were popular between the 1950s and 1970s, so many people are unaware that this different type of heating system existed.
But what exactly is a warm air heating system? How do they work, and can they still be used in the modern day?
We’ll provide you with everything you need to know about this archaic form of heating in this comprehensive guide.
What is a warm air heating system & how does it work?
A warm air heating system is a form of heating that draws in air and heat from the outside using a vent and passes this air over a gas flame for further heating. The warm air is then circulated around the property via ducts, grills or vents.
Warm air heating systems can be an effective choice for homes that are well-insulated, single-story spaces such as bungalows and flats, as well as some commercial properties. They are typically managed through the use of a thermostat.
What are the different types of warm air heating system?
There are different types of warm air heating systems, each with their own benefits and requirements. You may also find that different warm air heating systems are suitable for different types of homes.
The different types of warm air heating systems are:
This type of warm air heating system pulls in air from outside and uses a gas flame to warm it up. This warm air is then pumped throughout the home using ducts, vents or grills.
2. Ground Source Heat Pump
Using pipes which are buried underground, this type of warm air heating takes advantage of the constant supply of heat that is available underground. These systems absorb this natural heat and air is passed through the pipes to be heated and distributed to your home. Ground source heat pumps are available in either closed-loop or open-loop forms and their use of natural sources makes them a renewable form of heating.
3. Air Source Heat Pump
This type of warm air heating system is often compared to air conditioning systems; however, these heat pumps work in reverse to heat air. These systems extract heat from the outside air and use this heat to provide heating and hot water to your home. Outside temperatures do not have to be particularly high for air source heat pumps to work, they can absorb heat from air temperatures as low as – 15°C. Like ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps are also viewed as a renewable source of heating.
4. Hybrid Heat pump
Hybrid heat pumps are designed to work in conjunction with a gas boiler in order to provide heating and hot water to the home. These systems can be set automatically or used manually. They can alternate between using fossil fuels and renewable sources in order to supply heating, thus helping users to control and reduce their carbon emissions.
What are the pros and cons of a warm air heating system?
When it comes to getting a warm air heating system installed, there are a number of pros and cons that you’ll need to consider.
A warm air heating system can bring the following benefits to your home:
- Energy-efficiency – Most warm air heating systems use natural sources in order to provide heating, making them renewable and eco-friendly. Using warm air heating systems can help to reduce your carbon footprint by approximately 60%.
- Cost-efficient – The running costs of warm air heating systems can be approximately 18% lower than other forms of heating.
- Funding available – The UK government offers a number of funding options to help people with the cost of purchasing less carbon intensive heating systems such as ground source heat pumps and air to water air source heat pumps.
- No need for radiators – As some warm air heating systems use vents, ducts and grills, radiators may not be needed for your home.
- Quiet operation – Warm air heating systems are well known for their quiet operation, so you don’t need to worry about them producing loud noises in your home.
- Compatible with heating controls – Warm air heating systems can be controlled using electronic devices like thermostats, so you can have more agency over your heating and set consistent temperatures throughout your home.
- Electronic filtration available – You can choose to have electronic filtration as a feature for your warm air heating system; this can remove 95% of all airborne particles and irritants such as pollen, bacteria and pet hair.
Whilst warm heating systems have many advantages, they also have a few cons. These include:
- High initial costs – The initial costs of getting a warm air heating system installed can be high. Ground source heat pumps can cost up to £19,000 to install.
- Water heating not included – Some warm air heating systems do not heat water. Therefore, you may have to keep using your boiler or invest in an immersion heater or hybrid heat pump in order to get hot water for your home.
- Limited manufacturers – The market for warm air heating systems is not as diverse and competitive as it is for gas boilers. There are a limited number of manufacturers and installers, so costs are high and options are few.
- Disruptive installations – Ground source heat pumps require groundwork to be conducted in your garden. This is likely to cause disruption to your household.
- Visible vents and ducts – It can be difficult to retrofit the required ducts and vents into a property. These ducts are visible and can be unsightly.
- Can allow allergens to travel – Warm air heating systems can transport allergens such as dust and pollen around your home. This can be an issue for those that suffer with allergies or breathing problems.
- Funding not available to all warm air systems – Government funding is not currently available for the purchase of air-to-air heat pumps.
- Not 100% renewable – Some warm air heating systems require electricity to function, making them only semi-renewable.
Warm air heating system vs central heating system price comparison
As highlighted in the previous section, there are many benefits of getting a warm air heating system for your property. However, there are also a number of downfalls of this form of heating.
Warm air heating systems can be expensive to install and are not typically suitable for all households; for instance, in order to have a ground source heat pump, you must have a garden. Nevertheless, these heating systems could be a suitable option for well-insulated, newly built homes.
As it stands, the most popular and effective form of heating is the gas boiler. Gas central heating can suit the needs of smaller homes, they can also be the best heating system for large houses. Gas boilers are easy to use and control, plus they can provide both hot water and heating. They can also be up to 94% efficient, thus helping to reduce your carbon footprint. The efficiency of gas central heating can also be increased even further by using smart technology such as smart thermostats and smart meters to regulate energy usage.
Additionally, new central heating system installations are typically quick and easy – they could be completed in just a few hours depending on the complexity of the job. There is also a vast range of gas boilers available on the market, with a variety of different brands, models and sizes.
With technology quickly advancing and energy-efficiency becoming increasingly important, it is likely that other forms of heating will become more popular in the UK – especially with there being a potential gas boiler ban on its way. Hydrogen boilers, electric boilers and a return to ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps are all options that are currently being discussed within the industry.
For now though, gas boilers are still very much the most common choice for homeowners.
Find a suitable gas boiler for your home using our quick and easy quote today.
Warm air heating system replacements
With warm air heating systems being regarded as outdated, getting a new gas boiler installed could be the best option for you.
Getting your old warm air heating system replaced with a gas boiler central heating system could cost up to approximately £3,580.
At 247 Home Rescue, we could provide you with a professional gas boiler installation at an excellent price. Simply try our free online quote tool today to get an estimate for your new boiler installation and to find out more about gas boiler prices including installation.
Is warm air heating expensive to run?
Warm air heating systems are not as expensive to run as other forms of heating. It is estimated that warm air systems can have running costs that are up to 18% lower than other types of heating.
What is the difference between a local heating system and a central heating system?
The main difference between a local heating system and a central heating system is that with central heating systems, heat is generated in one place (e.g. a furnace room in a domestic property or a mechanical room in a larger building), whereas a local heating system involves neighbours in a community coming together to build a small district eating plant. Local heating systems are an alternative to district heating systems.
What is the most efficient form of heating?
Currently, the most efficient form of heating is electric radiators powered by a renewable source such as solar panels, wind turbines or hydro energy – this is due to these options having zero carbon emissions. You could also lower your carbon emissions by getting a warm air heating system like a ground source heat pump or air source heat pump and powering them using a renewable energy source.
Gas boilers are currently the most cost-effective form of heating.
What is the most efficient domestic heating system?
The most efficient domestic heating system is electric radiators powered by renewable energy such as solar, wind or geothermal. You can also use these renewable sources to power a warm air heating system, such as a ground source heat pump or an air source heat pump.
If you’re looking for an efficient and cost-effective way of heating your home, a gas boiler could be a suitable choice for you.