What is Central Heating?
Central heating is simply when a heat source in the building delivers heat to multiple other parts of the building through a distribution system. The distribution system can use pipes or ductwork, dependent on what is being circulated (hot air, hot water or steam). This is all controlled by a control system known as the thermostat. There are several ways this is done but some of the common are furnaces and air handlers.
Forced Air Systems
This is a heat dispersion method where heat is dispersed through the space via air. This is a very common method for the St. Louis area. One of the major benefits of this system is that it can be used for both cooling and heating where as other forms of distribution systems are only good for heating. However its system of ductwork can be fairly space consuming. Also dust and other allergens can get into the duct work and then be circulated around the house, reducing overall air quality inside the home.
These systems have two basic parts the furnace or air handler and the system of ductwork. The furnace or air handler receives air, usually for a residential setting through the return ducts. Then if it needs heated the air is heated in the furnace by way of the evaporator coil and then a part called the blower(yes, it’s very creatively named) takes the treated air and blows it into the supply plenum. This is the main supply for the ducts and from their the treated air will be distributed throughout the home via the rest of the supply ductwork.
Steam radiant systems
These disperse heat around a building, like a forced air system, but instead of heating air it heats steam! Instead of a system of ductwork you would need a system of pipes and radiators. This system does have the major drawback of needing a whole different system to cool the same building. However it generally requires a bit less upkeep. This system is one of the oldest methods of heating and is still in use today.