Central heating

Warm Air Central Heating Systems:Pros & Cons Of Installation

Warm air systems were popular in the 60s and 70s, before wet radiator systems took over. Today, warm air heating 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.

 Old vs Modern Warm Air Heating Systems

It was back in the 60s and 70s when the use of warm air boilers and heating systems peaked. Much of this though, has largely been replaced by water-filled radiator systems. However, there are still a number of the older warm air systems around; and those who have them have little to complain about.

The better-designed older systems operate fairly quietly and warm the house up pretty quickly. They dismiss the need for radiators which we know can limit your freedom to layout a room. The downside, however, is that these warm air systems tend to blow dust around the house and the temperature can be difficult to control.

Modern Hot Air Heating Systems

If you like the idea of warm air heaters, less the dust and temperature issues, then a good alternative is the modern warm air heating system. Modern warm air heaters make an excellent replacement or upgrade for older heaters and a great option for those considering new heating systems.

This newer version warms up the house multiple times faster, and has the ability to filter some of the air it re-circulates. Modern warm air heaters have electronic controls for better temperature adjustments and added intelligent features which increases efficiency. On top of that, it also combines silent operation.

More advanced models of the warm air heating system have the capability of producing integrated domestic hot water.  This provides an economical way to supply hot water to radiators as well as for domestic use.

Advanced models also offer the option to electronically filter the air in your house. Typically, modern heaters can clean the air 6 times in an hour, or, as often as every 10 minutes. This is especially helpful for asthma sufferers. The filtration system removes 95 percent of all airborne particles including pollen, human and pet hair, mould, bacteria, tobacco smoke, and other allergens.

Moreover, in comparison to other heating systems, the modern warm air heating system costs 18 percent less to run, even with the integrated hot water option. So overall, a modern heater is an excellent and affordable way to warm up your home while providing you with cleaner and healthier air to breathe.

What is Warm Air Heating?

Warm air central heating units heat up your home during the cooler months, and provide a good alternative to traditional central heating systems. 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 into warm air by passing it to a heat exchanger via a fan and then blowing it into rooms through vents in the floor, walls or ceiling.

The heated metal plates within the exchanger heat the cool air as it passes across, turning it into hot 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 temperature 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 starts warming the air again.

Types of Warm Air Systems

In all cases, air is pushed around a duct network using low-power fans; the difference lies in the way the air is warmed.

Gas-fired warm air systems offer a robust and effective way to heat a home by pushing air around a duct network, using low-power fans.

Air-to-air heat pumps work in a similar way to air conditioning units, as they can both cool and heat air. They can also be used as a standalone units on in conjunction with a ventilation system as they tend to be quite inefficient.

Heated ventilation is usually a very small heat source suitable only for houses with very small heat load. The heat source can be an electric-resistance heater, a wet heat exchanger running from a boiler or an air-to-air heat pump.

In-ground preheating technology takes advantage the fact that the temperature at depths over 1.5m, the ground temperature stays almost at the same level (8-12°C). The air is an in-ground preheating system is either raised or lowered to the temperature of the ground through a network of pipes and then pushed to the air-source heat pump that is connected to the ventilation system, to be used to  cool down the air in the house.   

What are the advantages of warm air heating systems?

  • 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.

How to lower warm air heating systems running costs

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.

Air Filtering

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 disadvantages of warm air heating systems ?

  • 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.

Repair & Installation Costs

Service Cost

Similar to normal heating boilers, warm air units need to be serviced every year. Because of the air that is blown around the system, dust and debris accumulate around the unit. By cleaning the unit your make sure that the pressures are correct and that the war air unit is functioning property. Service usually takes almost an hour and the cost comes to 75 + VAT.

Repairs / Emergency Breakdowns

When the air unit stops working, you can have a fully qualified engineer to attent to your broken warm air unit from ust £75 including VAT.


If your warm air unit has stop working and you need to replace it, we can have a replacement unit installed from £1750.00 (dependant on size and survey).

As a warm air system requires ducts to allow the flow of warm air, costs vary dramatically depending on whether your home already has duct work 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.

Estimates from quotes —–

Installation With Air Ducting

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 185 square metres you would be looking to spend betwen £2,500 – £3,000 though if additional ducts need to be added this cost could easily increase.

Cost of Installation Without Air Ducting

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 185 square metres home the costs would be somewhere between £5,500 to £6,500 to install the system and required ducts.

image credit: pinterest.com

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