Do I have a Boiler or a Furnace?
What’s the difference between a furnace and a boiler?
Homeowners typically refer to their heating unit as a “furnace” – but not all homes have a furnace. So, what’s the difference between a boiler and furnace and why does it matter? A boiler uses hot water to heat the living space, while a furnace uses warm air. The heat and the way it’s circulated throughout your home are different.
What is a boiler?
- Boilers heat water. The water is then turned into steam or hot water.
- The steam moves through pipes and is dispersed into the home through radiators. Hot water versions move water through baseboard radiators or radiant floor systems, or they heat air via a coil.
- Boilers run on various energy sources including natural gas, oil, electricity, and wood.
- These systems are collectively called “hydronic heat.” Hydronic heat is often considered to be one of the most efficient, comfortable and quiet options available to homeowners.
What is a furnace?
- Furnaces heat air and are connected to ductwork.
- The heat is distributed by a blower through your home’s duct system. The hot air is released into the rooms through registers or vents in the floors, walls or ceilings.
- Also known as hot air heating systems, furnaces can run on electricity, natural gas, propane, or oil.
- Furnaces are more common in newer homes because they generally cost less to install than boilers. There are, however, pros and cons to each.
Boilers vs Furnaces: The Pros of each type of equipment
- Generally, more energy-efficient: Boilers usually use less fuel to heat your home, which means potentially lower energy costs.
- Less operational noise: Boilers are generally quieter than furnaces because you don’t hear the sound of hot air blowing.
- Easier to maintain – there are no ducts, vents or air filters to clean.
- Safer to operate: The air is more humid with is healthier to breathe and since they don’t blow air, they are less likely to spread dust and allergens that can affect family members with allergies.
- Considered the best for cold/northern climates like Fairfield County, CT.
- Easier to install often resulting in fewer labor costs.
- Less costly to repair.
- Less of a leak hazard: Furnaces that leak usually only leak air, which is clearly less able to do damage to your home than a boiler filled with water.
- Less potential for frozen pipes: Since furnaces do not contain water, the system is not in jeopardy of freezing if the power goes out. In contrast, heating pipes can freeze and potentially burst if the temperatures go too low in a prolonged power outage.
Whichever type of equipment you have in your home, Levco technicians are among the elite in the industry and are ready to help you service or maintain your system for optimum performance. Don’t forget to stay up to date with Levco by liking our page on Facebook.