What is Warm Air Heating?
A Quick Overview
Warm Air Heating systems heat your property by supplying warm air into rooms through discreet vents situated in walls or ceilings.
They work by passing cool air through a heat exchanger fuelled by gas or electricity. Once warmed, the air is then blown into rooms through vents in the floor, walls or ceiling. The principle is very similar to central air conditioning systems found in hotter climates like the USA.
Similar to ‘wet’ boiler based central heating, the temperature is controlled by a thermostat.
History of Warm Air Heating
In the UK during the 1960s and 1970s, it was common to find Warm Air Heating systems fitted into new social housing projects and private homes.
They were a very popular form of heating for domestic properties as they were reliable compared to other central heating systems of that time. However, compared to today’s ‘wet’ central heating systems with a boiler and radiators, these older systems did not provide the same level of efficiency and controllability. The systems were also expensive to run, in particular warm air systems that used electricity over gas.
So from the 1980s onwards, new households favoured the boiler and radiator central heating system in order to maximise operation efficiency and at the same time help lower ever increasing domestic fuel costs.
Warm Air heating Today
Modern Warm Air Heating Systems have evolved significantly.
Thanks to pioneering companies such as Johnson & Starley, there’s a new generation of warm air central heating systems which allow stable room temperatures to be maintained, are much quieter, and have significantly greater fuel efficiency even compared to the latest efficiency boiler and radiator heating systems.
This means that Warm Air Heating must be considered as a viable alternative to ‘wet’ boiler based systems for domestic use. Warm Air heating also provides additional benefits over wet systems which we’ll discuss next.
Warm Air Heating Pros & Cons
Here are some useful points you may want to consider...
Less Water Pipe Leaks
Warm Air Heating Systems are less likely to have water leaks as they rely on airway ducting, not water pipes for heat distribution. This reduces the chances of water pipe leaks and costly remedial mantainence bills.
No Radiators = More Space
Warm Air Heating does not use radiators, freeing up wall space which is especially important in smaller properties. Have you ever seen a sofa or bed pushed up against a wall radiator? It reduces the effectiveness of heat circulation and it’s also not so good for the furniture!
Almost Instant Heat
Warm Air Systems heat the air directly which results in a warm up time that’s relatively quick compared to heating water for radiators. As warm air is vented dynamically, rather than relying on natural heat convection (as with a radiator), heat gets circulated within the room much quicker.
Cleaner Air & Less Allergies
Modern Warm Air Heating can offer air filtration options. As the air is drawn through the system it passes over filters that remove pollutants like pollen, dust, mould spores and even air borne bacteria. The latest Warm Air Heating systems from Johnson & Starley can filter room air up to six times within an hour.
Some Warm Air Heating systems are just that... heating. There don’t offer the facility to provide your household with hot water. Such systems would require the addition of an additional boiler for hot water. However, Johnson & Starley Warm Air Heating systems can include provision for domestic hot water too.
One possible drawback with Warm Air Heating systems is potentially introducing drafts throughout the house. This issue is mostly negated with modern warm air heating as clever anti-draught systems are used. Irrespective, this isn’t an issue at all with radiator heating.
Individual Room Controllability
Although Warm Air Heating systems can use a room thermostat, compared to modern ‘wet’ central heating systems temperature controllability is not as effective. Modern radiators are often fitted with their own thermostatic valves, allowing the user to tailor the heat output at radiator level.
Filter Cleaning & Replacement
One of Warm Air Heating’s advantages can potentially be seen as its achilles heel. In order for air filters to perform correctly, they require periodic cleaning and/or replacing, adding expense and the need for additional maintenance. In addition, unmaintained and dirty filters could increase allergies as they simply circulate said pollutants rather than filtering them.
Final Word on Warm Air heating - Yes or No?
Should you consider Warm Air Heating over 'Wet' Central Heating systems?
If your property has the infrastructure for Warm Air heating, we’d recommend remaining with the system and simply upgrading to a modern, efficient system from Johnson & Starley. The benefits outweigh the cons and there’s no need to retro-fit a complete 'wet' central heating system. Your household will benefit from a modern that's efficient, quiet and reliable.
If you do not currently have provision for a Warm Air System in your property, converting to one can be complicated and expensive. Unless there’s a specific reason for moving to Warm Air, we’d highly recommend upgrading your wet boiler system with a modern & efficient boiler from Worcester Bosch.