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is forced hot air cleaner than baseboard heat?

tony_16 Member Posts: 8
I have had a few people tell me that they would rather have forced hot air in their house than baseboard heat. I explained why baseboard heat would be better and more comfortable but they said that someone told them that forced hot air is cleaner and healthier because the air passes through a filter and that there is less dust in the house.i told them that baseboard heat doesnt blow dust around the room or blow germs from room to room like forced hot air, but they seemed to be stuck on this filtered air deal.So my question is do these filters realy make a difference?
Is the air realy cleaner is a forced hot air systems? Havent there been health problems somewhat related to forced hot air?


  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    just a thought

    Have them go to a house that has had hot air for say 10 year's...and open the ductwork up. I did a job yesterday and the woman was a fanatic when it came to cleaning. But when I opened the ductwork the furball's were 2 inch's deep. When I asked how often she replaced the filter she pointed to a case of filter's and said weekly during heating season....And yes she was the first and only owner in the house...:)
  • Bud_14
    Bud_14 Member Posts: 200
    Not Normally the case

    I think it's fair to say that if she had two inches of dust in the duct work, I would think on the return duct, and she claims to change the filter every week then someones pulling your leg! And too, if thats the case then you should be looking into why the filters arn't working and sell her a better product to stop the least be a little fair about the question. I open duct work all the time and there are both good and bad situations as well as I've pulled off base board and was surprised to see that any air was able to find it's way across the coil..It's the way people live that determines much of the dust in any system..IMHP


  • RoosterBoy
    RoosterBoy Member Posts: 459

    I am getting baseboard heating but I have forced air now
    and I hate it. it is not clean maybe because I do not have
    an electronic air cleaner and a air recovery ventilator to bring in fresh air from the outside but maybe forced air can be clean if you install toughs things

    and if you have duct work that is 10 years old then yes get them cleaned by a pro not some cheep guy that says he can do a good job a good duct cleaning in a average size house takes 4 to 6 hours.

    but for me I am moving to baseboard as long as I keep them clean once a year I should be ok with smell and what not

    like anything if you take care of things they should work well
  • Don Walsh
    Don Walsh Member Posts: 131
    Opportunity knocks!

    Sounds like a perfect opening for selling a nice baseboard system supplemented with a hydro-air system, complete with heavy media filters, ultra violet, and humidification.

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  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    As far as I know

    neither FA of BB create dust or fur balls :) The conditions in the home will cause this problem. Like lots of pets!

    I like the quiet clean even heat of HW BB. But FA does allow filtration, cooling, humidification or dehumidification.

    Just depends on the needs, wants, and comfort desired.

    If a lot of pets are present it may be nicer to have some air filtration and odor removal options :)

    hot rod

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  • Kal Row
    Kal Row Member Posts: 1,520
    and what pray tell...

    do you do, when, the ScorchedAir furnace's heat exchanger give up the ghost, and fills your home, with very CLEAN but quite deadly Carbon Monoxide, go with a sealed combustion hydronic boiler, baseboards, and lots of zones, and perhaps some hot water radiant panels, especially facing the people in the tv area, – and keep the boiler’s atmosphere is limited to one area, like it’s own closed room with a window

    and you always have the option of putting a hot water fin coil into your forced air system for heating, – or at least air filtering without blowing around cold air

    links below are just a sample of what’s avail
  • Bud_14
    Bud_14 Member Posts: 200
    What Is Scorched Air?

    What exactly is Scorched Air? I didn't see in the original post, the person
    looking for professional, unbiased help was actually looking to install a new
    Gravity Type Boiler, that's the comparison you're making, that's where
    the term, scorched air originates. Remember the gravity type furnace. Those days
    have been long gone. The average furnace, set up properly (the same way that your
    boiler needs to be set up, properly I would hope) is merely warm at most. With
    a temperature Rise of 35 to 65 degrees, (I didn't loose you here, did I) your
    plenum, or in the Scorched Air day, it was called "bonnet", temperature
    would have had a maximum air temperature of 135 degrees, but typically it would
    be 120 degrees, compared to the 180 degrees water you're running through your
    base board. Your baseboard works by natural convection, because hot air rises,
    it takes the cold air lying on the floor and warms it up and spits it out the
    top, warming your home, but how is all the dandruff, dust and dirt filtered as
    this happens…it isn't, and as the carpet breaks down, because the air is
    DRY and therefore the carpet becomes dry (as well as the doors, the furniture,
    the bedding, the curtains, the sinuses and well lots of things) because you have
    no humidity being added with the boiler (unless of course, there becomes a leak
    and then you have all the humidity you need, in dark dirty form of boiler water,
    soaking into the carpet). You can of course install a whole house humidifier,
    but you'll lack the ability to distribute the properly humidified air (no ductwork,
    remember). So your only choice is a freestanding humidifier, which causes more
    dust (the mineral deposits and stuff) read more on humidifiers just type in humidifiers
    in a search engine.

    "And keep the boiler's atmosphere is limited to one area",
    Is this how you really educate your customers?

    Back to making ductwork:)




  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997

    That was exactly my point. Someone was pulling my leg. The homeowner was very tedious in cleaning her house, but the furnace was out of site out of mind. I have and do install both hot water and forced hot air system's. I meet the customer's need and comfort not mine. In some cases a hot water system is what they want and get and in this ladies case, hot air. It all depend's on the speed of recovery, location and what they are used to. BUT I do feel that if a system is not going to be taken care of then hot air is not always the best. If the filters plug and then of course the fan, then you can overheat the HX causing it to crack. (do, of course to not moving enough air through the system and running it on high limit). I would in these cases rather put in a boiler, if the baseboard stop's giving up heat then I hand them a broom and tell them to clean. And of course, we are all entitled to our own opinion and we know what they are worth..:)
  • Nron_9
    Nron_9 Member Posts: 237
    sorry budddy

    I think some of the force air guys are starting feel the pinch as hydronics expands into there market , But hay dont worry we need you guys to , I would like to see the forced air guys come up with a small duct system that would add humidity and air change to a hydronic home , code here says we must have a air change of 10 cfm per habital room and 20 for the master bed room , Hrv's do this nicely but adding humity with these doesent work so well , all the trades need to work together to make new homes with the great insolation values and mimamal sepage for are safe and comfortable , To keep the people Happy and healthy.
  • Bud_14
    Bud_14 Member Posts: 200
    Constant Vol.

    I have put in many boilers (mainly replacement)and it is about what is going
    to keep the customer happy. We don't sell system, we sell comfort and
    the type of comfort is what we decide at the time the customer calls on us to
    give them our "professional opinion". There are pros and cons to everything.

    My post was to only clairify "scorched air", no offence meant. The
    truth is, we will install what our customers wish for or someone else will.

    You're absolutly right, we need to design effieiency and comfort no matter
    which type of system we sell. The fortunate ones will be able to have both hydronic and forced air.

    Has anyone ever though about a variable speed air handler with hot water coils
    zoned? This would not be a difficult system to design and install.


  • Bud_14
    Bud_14 Member Posts: 200
    I agree

    I agree the two systems would the ultimate system.
    Surly someone must be doing this already with success.

  • don_42
    don_42 Member Posts: 42
    Bud my hero.

    Thanks bud for telling it like it is.As for force air guys feeling the heat,not at all.
    Look around every house in my area is going in with force air.I got a lady that just yank out her oil boiler and all
    her rads and added two high efficency furnace.

    Then the guy that did the work for her is a good friend of mine who calls me and say she want infloor in the bathrooms.

    I go out in sell a munchkin boiler,to heat the domestic hot
    water load and the two bathrooms.Was I shaken up a bit that
    she yank out all the rads,you bet.But when I realize she was
    going for it all it make sense that with out force air there was no chance for good IAQ.

    But what truly made it all worth while was dealing with a home owner who had the knowledge that she can have force air
    and hydronic.

    And what she say to me that really hit home was,Don it great to see you and Rob working together to achieve my goals without hearing two guys that are in the same trade
    degrade one another.

    And people wonder why the hvac trade is frown upon and why
    so little or willin to pay for a job well done.
    Until we as professional can treat one another as professional then we will never get the customer to see us in any other light.

    I log on this website several years ago and went around with some of my fellow brother on this same issue.And I can
    also remember this site being real hard on airheads.

    Time have change and I had seen this website become more
    freindly towards airhead..So let me say thanks to all of
    you that have mellow with age.

    Again thanks Bud for your post.

  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997

    I have installed 15 to 20 systems' using hydronic's and air handler's...Mainly in larger home's who also want the comfort of a/c. I have also installed this type of system in alot of commercial applications and had excellent luck with them...
    The only thing I have run into with any type of system is the history of the customer. In most cases I have not been able to swap someone from hot air to hydronic's due to the "feel" of the heat.
  • jerry scharf_2
    jerry scharf_2 Member Posts: 414
    our favorite refrain

    It depends.

    With the higher velocity of forced air, you have the opportunity to stir more things into the air and move it around. On the other hand, you can do excellent filtration with forced air.

    As with so many other things, it depends on the design of the builing and the heating system and it's maintenance. A forced air system with 100% hepa filtering will produce the cleanest house and the lightest wallet.

  • Ted_9
    Ted_9 Member Posts: 1,718

    I installed a forced air and a/c system in my old home(there was just a gas space heater existing) and I absolutly hate it. Right now I'm in the process of installing panel rad with non electrics and future radiant when the kitchen and baths get done. But all is not lost. At least I have the ducts for my a/c.

  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997

    Ted what kind of heating system's have you had in the past? Is this your first warm air system? Just curious to get an entire point of view..
  • f.h.a. ducts

    gives the dust mites a place to hide and blows them all around into the air so you can breath them. I notice a lot more airborn dust in a hot air house than a radiant house, each time you vacuum your floor it is like cleaning your heater. Bob Gagnon

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  • Bud_14
    Bud_14 Member Posts: 200
    Show us

    the rest of the system, including the home? It's important because the baseboard heat may be just as bad and dirty if the living conditions were the same. Another thing to point out is this is the return where there is no volocity behind the one said duct work is maintenance free? I'm sure you offered them the top of the line filtration system as corrective maintenance, right Bob:) Again, this is not the system thats the problem, it is the ones taking care of the system that is the problem. Good try though:)


    Besides that is a real hack job you can see just the way they cut in the darned return branch. If the basement is that dusty of like mine of feildstone, the seams should be do solder the pipes you use in a boiler to keep the water in, why wouldn't you seal the pipes in the duct to keep the air in and the basement dust and dirt out?

    A system cannot create dust, it's that simple. It can help spread it around if a good filter is not in use, but it does not create it. If they have that much dust in the house, the dust mites don't have to get that far to survive, they're in the house ;)

    Bud again
  • nbrooks
    nbrooks Member Posts: 2

    Dirt and debris in a duct system is normal, especially if it is set up for heating with registers on floor. As long as the ducts stay dry shouldn't be a problem. A good pleated filter works well at removing most airborne particles, and it is only dirt that becomes airborne that is an annoyance or health issue. Duct cleaning is not needed unless there is a mold problem, then you got problems. Also, duct cleaning can damage the ducts, then you got problems too.
  • jim lockard
    jim lockard Member Posts: 1,059
    Filter grills

    Do you fellows not use filter grills with fiberglass panel prefilters and then at the furnace or air handler install a proper filter frame with a 5" box filter or electronic??
    Best Wishes J.Lockard
This discussion has been closed.