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Heating Systems: Differences Between a Forced Air & Hydronic Heaters

Written on: March 6, 2017

There are a variety of options when it comes to choosing a heating system for your home. While doing your research, you’d likely be choosing between a forced air system and a hydronic heating system.
Here are the pros and cons of each system, to help you pick the best option to meet your needs:

Forced Air Heating System Installation in Wyoming County PA

A forced air system may use water from a boiler to create hot air. Also, it could use electricity to heat oil, gas or air for heat. The system then pushes hot air through vents that are installed in a building.


image of a heating system tune-up Moscow PAMost forced air systems are installed with furnace filters. The filters help remove dust and allergens as warm air is circulated through the building.
You can also install a humidifier or dehumidifier as part of a forced air heating system. This keeps your home at a comfortable humidity level.
The cost of installing and running a forced air system is lower. This is due to the fact that it’s operated using one unit with multiple heads. The heat is distributed via aluminum ducts that push hot air through floor vents. This web of ductwork is often already installed in pre-existing homes (especially in North America). This lowers the cost of a heating or cooling system replacement.
The ductwork and vents that support a forced air heating system can double up to distribute central air conditioning. Therefore, you can consolidate the heating and cooling system in your home.


Since air is being forced through vents, the resulting heat distribution is not as even as that provided by a hydronic system. It also produces more noise each time the cycle turns on.
When proper maintenance is not performed, the system may spread air-borne particles. This occurs when gusts of air are forced through the vents. Maintenance includes cleaning the filters, vents, and ducts regularly.
The use of electricity, oil or gas in a forced air system makes it less energy efficient. It’s a less “green” method to heat a home compared to a hydronic system.

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Hydronic Heating System

A hydronic heating system heats a building by boiling and then circulating hot water via heat-radiating devices using pumps to move the fluid through the system.


radiator for hydronic heatingIn a hydronic system, a system of PEX hoses is connected to the hot water boiler. Hot water circulates the house or building through this system of hoses and returns back to the boiler. Since there’s no unnecessary loss of heat or water, this closed system uses very little electricity and is very energy efficient.
A hydronic heating system produces and distributes heat more evenly because the hot water is pushed through PEX hoses. The PEX hoses are located under the floor. This creates a consistent temperature over the entire square footage of the space and a more comfortable environment.


The initial cost of installing a hydronic heating system is higher than that of a forced air system. However, the reduced energy costs over the long run could make up for the extra expense. There are also government incentives to encourage the use of this “greener” option.

Heating System Tune-up Wyoming County PA

energy efficiency and heating systemsBoth types of heating systems have their advantages. If you are requiring a heater replacement, then finding a new system truly depends on the system you already have in place or that might work best for you. It is usually more cost effective to replace your existing system with the same “kind” of system that you already have. Regardless, it is important that you maintain your heater. Be sure to contact a reputable HVAC company to carry out all of the maintenance or repair work on your heater.
For a heating professional in your area, be sure to contact Ace-Robbins. We offer affordable, reliable, and heater service plans which include heating system maintenance such as annual tune-ups. We also offer heater repairs, heating oil delivery services and propane delivery services. Be sure contact us if you have any questions about heating system installation or replacements. Contact Ace-Robbins to discuss how to resolve any of your home heating needs. Our professional and certified technicians have the know-how to get the job done. We have been in business since 1961 and since then, we have been striving to build long lasting client relationships by providing excellent customer experiences.
We service Montrose, Wyalusing, Towanda, Wysox, Laceyville, Factoryville, Dallas, Clarks, Summit, Hallstead, and other surrounding areas in PA.
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Contact us today or give us a call at (570) 836-3232 if you have any questions.