What Is the Difference Between a Boiler and a Furnace

Furnace Fire

When searching for a heating solution for a home, you’ll probably have questions. One of the most common questions people ask is what is the difference between a boiler and a furnace? Simply put, they’re as different as air and water. A furnace heats air that flows through your house via the ductwork, while a boiler heats up water that travels through your home in pipes.

Both can be great options for heating a home, but they each have their own benefits and drawbacks. In this article, we will explore both options to help you make the right choice for your home.

Benefits and Drawbacks of a Furnace

A furnace can be an incredibly effective way to heat a home. It works by forcing air through a heat exchanger that is then distributed with electric fans throughout the house. This method can heat a home very quickly and can achieve high temperatures, which is ideal for colder climates.

However, the type of furnace that’s best for your home may depend on how much it’s used and what type of utility lines you have. The most common types of furnaces are gas, oil, or electric powered. An electric furnace uses electric heating elements to generate the hot air. A gas or oil furnace uses combustible fuel to generate heat and force it through the ductwork of the home.

One of the main drawbacks of using a furnace to heat a home the lack of efficiency. Forced air tends to let more heat escape throughout the house. The less efficient your heating system, the more hot air it must generated to warm the home. This can lead to higher energy bills and increased wear-and-tear on the furnace.

Benefits and Drawbacks of a Boiler

If your home is well insulated or you live in a mild climate, a boiler is one of the most energy efficient ways to heat a home. The boiler heats the water, which is then used to heat the fan coils for your home heating system. Once the heat is created, it’s distributed through ducts, as with a standard furnace, through heaters in the baseboards, or via induction in the flooring. Some older homes still use steam heat from radiators, but this is much less common in newer homes. This method allows for an even distribution of heat that will not leave any cold spots in the home.

Another great benefit of boilers is they are dependable and require very little regular maintenance. The mechanism is relatively simple and can be used for many years without costly repairs. As a result, boilers save money on both energy bills and annual upkeep.

The downside of using a boiler system is the length of time it takes to heat up a house. It may require several cycles of the hot water to distribute the heat. Unless your area has mild winters, a boilers won’t heat your home as quickly as a furnace can.

Is a Boiler the Same Thing as a Water Heater?

A boiler is not the same thing as a water heater. While a boiler uses hot water to heat the home, a water heater heats and stores water to be used in appliances or plumbing. When you use hot water for things like showers, laundry, and cooking, it comes from the water heater.

After the water heater brings the water up to a specific temperature, it’s stored until needed. Then, more water is pumped into the heater to be warmed up and stored for the next time it’s needed. Water heaters can only store a certain amount of hot water, so long showers and washing machines can deplete your hot water supply.

By comparison, a boiler is specifically designed for creating hot water for the sole purpose of heating the air inside your home. The water itself is not rerouted or used for any other purpose except for radiating heat. For this reason, the same water can be used repeatedly.

Which Should I Choose?

Making the choice between a furnace and a boiler can be a tough decision. You’ll want to pick the one that can best serve your family’s unique needs, home, and budget.

The experts at Aire Serv can help you sort through your options and find the heating system that works best for you. They take all your individual factors into consideration to make a recommendation that will keep your home efficient and comfortable for years to come. Contact Aire Serv today to find the perfect heating solution for your home.