Warm air heating.

Another 'house viewing related' question.
Hoping to get a few viewings of potential house purchases in next week,
One of the potential houses has a warm air heating system (by the looks of the photos the house may date from the 1970/80's but hard to tell.) Now I've no experience of these things - I assume there is a heater (gas I would guess) and the air is circulated around the house via ducting.
No, they don't seem that common, which maybe an indicator of something to avoid - then again some technologies can be perfectly good, but just don't succeed for fashion or whatever reason.
Anyone have experience of these sorts of systems - good, crap ok?
--
Chris French, Leeds

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My aunt's town house was heated this way - probably built in the '70s too. What I noticed was that there seemed to be very little thermal inertia so that the heater and circulating fan were cycling on and off most of the time. Seem to remember some rattles in the ductwork as well. Worth bearing in mind that if you are sitting in a (even a slight) breeze you will need higher temperatures than if the air is sensibly still. Look for dust on surfaces near the vents. How easy is it to get new filters, and to change them?
--
M Stewart
Milton Keynes, UK
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Malcolm Stewart wrote:

I can't answer for old systems apart from a rather inefficient gravity fed 'Agavector' that my inlaws had in the last house, but I installed modern stuff upstairs here under modern isulation, and its very very fast to warm up apart from one room with fairly low power for the volume and an awkward location (in a recess effectively) .
Modern thermos seem to cycle anyway - leastways with te CH off the thermos will cycle at or around teh room temp when the tem is not changing. They have some bimetal strips or summat, and anyway I don't notice any cycling hwn in use.
I got them after installing air blowers in an office premises we had once - they wer marvellous for space heating a large space lacking decent insulation with few cold spots.
I hate rads aesthetically, and the blowers are less obtrusive watt for watt.
The noise is something you get use to - its no worse than the boiler fan, or a bathroom fan, in a next door room.
After UFH, its about my favorite form of heating really. The very slight breeze seems to get a btter air mix with fewer cold spots, and it's - like UFH - not so much 'cosy' as 'comfortable and unobtrusive'. That is you don't walk in to a room and say 'thats nice and ciosy' you walk in and don't notice its being heated at all, unless you just came from outside.
If we want 'cosy' we use the aga, or the open fires.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Chris
I've lived with gas warm-air heating since the house was built in 1971. Advantages are almost instaneous heat, cheap to run and very reliable if serviced regularly. Downside is that, depending on heating unit, thay can be quite noisy - a large fan drives the air around. Also room temperature is not as stable as with a wet system. Gets warm when fan is running then temperature drops gradually until thermostat kicks in. In addition, not all rooms tend to be heated. You may find that bathroom is not on the system - we use an electric heated towel-rail.
Quite a few people around us have converted to radiators, but we're quite happy with our system. Guy who services ours (the very common Johnson & Starley) reckons newer systems are much better but we'll have to wait until original heating unit gives up before we can find out!
John Miller
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Crap, had mine replaced with a modern combi system, took months of spare time to remove all the ducting, flue, asbestos! etc, then repair celings, floors blah, blah, then redecorate.... End result was worth it though.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

[ re subject line ] <snip>

So you condemn the whole idea because your system was either installed by a cowboy, very old, or you didn't know how to use it or maintain it ?....
Perhaps you just like great big sheets of metal attached to your walls whilst taking up space that could be used for furniture, not to mention the problems of running pipe work in a 'conversion'.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<snip> System was originaly installed in 1969 when the house was built. I had the original WAU replaced when I moved-in in 1993. The replacement unit cost a bloody fortune to run and maintain, only one company in this area had qualified service engineers; I take it you know there are additional exams required to service/repair WAU's?. The all too few who are qualified (in this area) charge a bloody fortune to cover the additional exam costs. Unless a WAU is fited with dust filters, your ceilings will require redecoration every few years; ballancing the air flow so one part of the house is not baking hot while another isn't freezing is a pain in the A.
WAU's are bloody good if they are designed, installed and maintained by professionals who care, if not, they're crap!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

<snip>
Exactly, just the same as any CH system, you gat what you pay for - either in terms of what is installed a=or what you pay to have it maintained.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

of
to
don't
That is sad, you missed a great opportunity to have a heating/fresh air/cooling all in one.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My mum's house still uses this as the main heating. It was built in 1967. She also has supplemental heating via gas fires in the upstairs bedrooms, which are not on the ducted system. In her house, the gas heater and fan are centrally located and blow at floor level into the hall, lounge and dining room. From a cold house, turning on the heating seems to warm up much quicker than our house with rads. The upstairs, of course, relies on the downstairs warm air rising. One of my childhood memories is defrosting my feet sitting by the vent in the hall after a good snowball battle.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Forced air was the first mass heating system in the UK in the 1950s. Today well over a million systems are in use. They are now gaining ground again after a bad image as some systems were just plain bad.
You have no rads on walls to leak water. Johnson & Starley make replacement units that are state of the art with electrostatic air filters, variable speed fans, modulating gas burners, sophisticated electronic controls, electrostatic air filters (recommended for asthmatics) , precise electronic temp control etc. etc. The modern units are much quieter and do not cause draughts. You can always add a heat recovery fresh air vent unit too. Fresh air all the time in the house.
http://www.johnsonandstarley.co.uk /
Improved registers and grills are also available to totally revamp the whole thing. It is usually cheaper to run than boilers systems. J&S have an add on condensing unit that is inserted into a conventional flue in the loft to improve efficiency. Some USA units by Lennox and Trane have built in condensing in forced flues.
It may be worth looking into heat recovery and vent units that integrate with the system. More expense, but far superior comfort conditions and a great selling point. Make sure the unit has a summer switch, so the fan circulates air on hot days. They really do drop the internal house temperature quite a bit.
So heating, fresh air and cooling.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

[ re subject line ] <snip>

Wrong, piped CH was, and well before 1950 ! Or perhaps you didn't mean what you said IMM ?...
Today

replacement
electronic
<snip 19 more lines of simular text>
Why does the above sound more like a J&S press hand out than personal comment ?....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Prolly because it's taken almost verbatim from the J & S website
--
geoff

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

<snip>
again
variable
I did have a *quick* look before posting the comment but couldn't find the proof !..
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
writes> >> Forced air was the first mass heating

Warm air was the first in "mass" take up. In the 1950s small bore hearting systems were introduced by the coal board. Wet systems in homes have been around for a long time, but they costed a fortune being mainly piped in iron and many being gravity.
Whole estates were fitted with warm air.

variable
Prolly becaue IMM has worked with these systems.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
writes

hearting
iron
So you were wrong, the first mass heating system was wet, warm air only came after the war, mass means that many people have it - perhaps you really mean popular or affordable ?
<large snip>

IMO the only warm systems you have worked with are one bellow your nose and the one you sit on !
I have my own thoughts as to just what you know, needless to say, you are not old enough to have done the above by yourself - you might have helped 'daddy' though....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

QED ... look it up
--
geoff

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
writes

hearting
been
iron
controls,
No need to Maxie as I know what it means...and because IMM has worked with these systems.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

'Nuff said
The information contained in this post may not be published in, or used by http://www.diyprojects.info
--
geoff

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Wonder what he used to cut the trunking...
--
*If you lived in your car, you'd be home by now *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.