Pros and Cons Forced Air or Central Air

Asked by mgbrady, Raleigh, NC Wed Jul 11, 2012

In this area what are the pros and cons for cost and longevity (repairs). Also gas versus electric.

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My NC Homes…, Agent, Chapel Hill, NC
Thu Jul 12, 2012
Forced Air refers to heat, and in our area gas is much less expensive than electric. All AC (with very few exceptions and they aren't worth getting into) is electric.

In our area you have two options either a heat pump which handles both heating and cooling and is all electric and only heats well when temperatures are at 40 degrees or above, lower than than and electric elements in the vents come on and drive up your utility bills. These units are best used on smaller homes. The other option is a central AC (electric) coupled with Gas Forced Hot air furnace, these systems cost more to install as there are two components rather than one. They are more efficient and most people feel they make their homes more comfortable.

The average lifespan for any of theses HVAC systems is 10-12 years though some last longer and others less long. Repairs costs are more or less the same. Bear in mind we use AC much more than we use Heat here in the Raleigh/Durham area.
1 vote
Larry, Thank you for a learned and thorough answer. I now feel I have the information I need to make an informed decision based on fact. A++ for helpfulness, ability to transmit knowledge and willingness to honor the assumed intelligence of your audience. If I was not already working with a broker I would call you immediately. Thanks, Marilyn
Flag Thu Jul 12, 2012
Venita Peyton, Agent, Raleigh, NC
Thu Jul 12, 2012
Larry's response is much more in-depth than mine could be. It does depend on the size and location of the home - and the other appliances.

In a rural area not served by natural gas (lines), you could find yourself stuck with the propane company that furnishes the bottle. They may refill when its convenient for them. I recommend to Buyers that, when possible, they purchase their own in-ground tank. This allows them to have it refilled by a vendor of their choosing (and during the non-peak season when its less expensive).

I find that renters are dubious about gas. They don't want a second bill, even though (and I agree), gas heat seems warmer. On the other hand, if the hot water heater also is gas, they're stuck.

So, there's no 'one size fits all'.
0 votes
Thomas Bohlm…, Agent, Rolesville, NC
Thu Jul 12, 2012
Gas heat cost less then electric heat. Gas heat "feels" warmer. But them you have Two bills.

Some areas natural gas is just not an optiin as there are no gas lines to a home. Many homes in rual arras have Liquid propane (those big tanks on the side of a home) to heat the.home.
0 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Wed Jul 11, 2012
Forced Air and Central Air are one in the same thing.
0 votes
This is partially not true. Central air uses the duct work of forced air systems and is an extra component to it. You must have a forced air system in your home one way or another, and adding a central air until to your home is an additional cost. Essentially forced air is fine, and central air is an added convenience to be able to cool your whole house all at once very quickly. This can be a very nice added feature if you live in an area where it gets very hot, but it is also more expensive to install and generally requires a little more maintenance.
Flag Sat Sep 21, 2013
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