If you are looking to replace your heating system, there is a good chance you are either going to go with a boiler or a heat pump. But what is the difference between boilers and furnaces anyway? Keep reading for what you need to know, courtesy of our heating system experts at All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical.
The Difference Between Boilers & Furnaces
A furnace is a forced air heating system, which means it distributes warm air throughout your house via a system of ductwork and vents. Furnaces are powered by either gas or electricity to complete the heat transfer process, using thermal energy to move heat from one medium to another through coils in your system; essentially, your furnace’s heat exchangers utilize combustion to heat the air. A boiler, on the other hand, warms up water in its tank, and then use the steam generated by this process to transfer heat through your pipes and air ducts. Boilers can also be powered by gas or electricity, but the key difference is that boilers distribute steam heat, whereas furnaces generate heat using thermal energy.
The Advantages & Disadvantages of Boilers & Furnaces
Both furnaces and boilers are effective systems capable of providing enough heat to warm your whole house. Boilers are slightly more energy-efficient, as they use less fuel. They also offer quieter operation, and can sometimes produce more consistent heat than furnaces, since vapor is always a reliable heat source. And because boilers don’t distribute as much air as furnaces, that may offer better indoor air quality, as there will be less dust moving around in your ducts. One added bonus of boilers—because they run on water, they can essentially replace the role of your water heater.
On the other hand, boilers aren’t supported by the same type of ductwork that you use for your central AC system, making them less customizable than furnaces. It is also more costly and time-consuming to install a boiler, and it may be more difficult to convert from a boiler to another heating system, given their ductwork needs. Boilers also don’t respond as quickly to thermostat changes as furnaces, and can be a leak hazard because of the water they use.
Furnaces, conversely, are more easily customizable for any fuel type and any home, and tend to generate heat faster than boilers. They are also generally more affordable to install, do not pose as great a risk for leaks, and present no risk for frozen pipes (assuming you live in an extremely cold part of the country) because they are not reliant on water. The drawbacks of furnaces are that they can be noisy, do not provide as consistent a level of heat as boilers do, and can have a negative effect on your indoor air quality if their air filters are not regularly replaced.
Contact All Pro Today for All Your Furnace & Boiler Needs
Ultimately, boilers and furnaces are both great systems depending on what you are looking for, and at All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we offer quality furnace services and boiler services to suit your needs. Contact us today for repairs, replacements, and maintenance, and make sure to ask about available specials and discounts. And remember, All Pro is available 24/7 for all your emergency furnace and boiler needs.