How Central Heating Works

Modern homes often benefit from the installation of central heating but how does it work?

Basic principles:

Central Heat Source

As the name implies, home central heating uses a single source of heat and then distributes that heat throughout the parts of the house that need it.

The Furnace or Boiler

The heart of a central heating system is the furnace or boiler. The furnace contains the heat source and applies it to the heat distributor (air or water).

Air Pump - An Open Air System

Once the heat distributor is in use it is circulated by a pump. The circulation of air is achieved by a system of ducts that carry the hot air through all the ducts that are available. Ducts can be closed where heat is not required. The air is not a closed system so new air is being drawn into the system all the time it is operating


The circulation of water is also driven by a pump but the water is driven through pipes that connect strategically placed radiators. In areas where heat is not required the radiators can be closed. Radiator central heating systems use a closed system so the same water is circulating all the time. The system is connected to a supply of water so that losses through evaporation are replaced automatically.

Home central heating can seem quite complicated but the basic idea is quite simple really.