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Boiler vs. Furnace – Do you know the difference?

What heating system do you use in your home? Is it a boiler? Or a furnace? Many of us may be able to answer those questions but do you know the difference between them? And how do they work?

Whether you’re talking about your existing heating system or in the market for purchasing a new one, we’ve put together this quick guide to help you understand more about a boiler and a furnace.

Hand adjusting boiler

What exactly is the difference between a boiler and a furnace?

  • Boilers use hot water or steam from hot water to heat your home. This is pumped through radiant flooring systems or radiators throughout your home to heat it.
  • Furnaces use warm air that is circulated via a system of ductwork throughout your home to heat it.

How are boilers and furnaces powered and maintained?

  • Boilers are powered with natural gas, oil electricity or sometimes wood pellets. They require little to no maintenance other than an annual tune-up by a certified technician
  • However, BOTH boilers and furnaces should be checked once a year by a certified technician to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or any natural gas leaks

What are the pros and cons of boilers and furnaces?

  • Boiler pros are that the heat is much more comfortable. They are less noisy than furnaces, are more energy-efficient, provide better home air quality, require no ductwork, and any water heated by boilers can be reused. Some cons to boilers are that they are more expensive and damage from any leaks can be extensive and costly to remedy.
  • Furnace pros are that they are lower in cost and take less time to install. They also have less of a chance to freeze during the winter. Some cons include that they can create a drafty environment, run the risk of valve leaks, and can be potentially problematic for homeowners with allergies. Checking HVAC filter

Now that you are aware of the differences between boilers and furnaces, you will be better prepared to understand any potential problems with your heating system when they arise, or if purchasing a new heating system, figure out which one is best for you and your home heating needs.

Have more questions? Our team of local heating and home service experts are on-hand to help. Give us a call today!  Long Island, NY 516.783.1000 Pennsylvania 215.943.3500.


Boiler versus Furnace infographic
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