Difference Between Central Air Conditioning and Forced Air

For the average soon-to-be or current homeowner, there are many technical HVAC terms thrown around. Like most people, you don't really understand what all these industry-specific terms mean. In fact, two of the most confusing HVAC terms for homeowners are forced air systems and central air conditioning. Learning the difference between the two can assist you in determining what type of system you have in your home.

What is a Forced Air System?

Probably the easiest way to understand the difference between central air and a forced air system is to start by defining what the latter is. A forced air system is an HVAC system that will deliver temperature-controlled air through vents and ducting into the rooms of your home.

This is a relatively broad term that can be applied to both a heating and cooling system. You'll hear it utilized often in conjunction with a furnace. However, it also applies to a heat pump and central air conditioner.

What is Central Air Conditioning?

A central air conditioner is a system that delivers cool and crisp air to your home via a closed-loop of refrigeration and cycled air. All central air conditioning systems have three main components: a condenser, compressor, and evaporator coils. The first two components can be found in an outdoor air conditioning unit, while the evaporator coils are found inside.

This closed-loop system has refrigerant on the inside of the coils that pulls heat from inside of your home. That refrigerant is cycled outside where the heat is dispersed from it. Then, the refrigerant is pumped back inside to complete the loop. This cycle happens over and over again until your home is adequately cooled.

Putting It All Together

When you think about the differences between a forced air system and central air conditioning, the main difference is that central air refers to only cooling systems. Forced air systems refer to both heating and cooling systems. In fact, your central air conditioner can use your forced air system to deliver cold air throughout the rooms of your home. A good rule of thumb to remember the difference between the two terms is that ducting refers to a forced air system.

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Whether you need help determining what type of system you have in your home, give us a call today. Our knowledgeable and helpful HVAC technicians can assist you with your heating and cooling needs!