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Key Differences Between Furnaces & Boilers

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

There are a few key differences between a furnace and a boiler. In short, a furnace heats the air, distributes hot air through your ducts and runs on natural gas, propane, oil or electricity; whereas a boiler heats a fluid, distributes hot fluid through pipes and runs on natural gas, propane, oil or wood.

Deciding which option is best for your home will depend on a few things, like the existing architecture of your home and knowing the functionality of each heating system is important because it will allow you to make an informed decision that’s right for you.

A furnace uses fuel like gas, oil or electricity so that it can create heat, which is transferred to the air by a heat exchanger, after which it is distributed throughout the home by a series of ducts. A boiler uses a fuel source to heat a fluid, which is normally water or glycol, that is then pumped through the hydronic heating system to reach different devices like radiators and in-floor heating loops, so they can provide your home with heat. Boilers can also be used as your home’s hot water heater, which will provide your kitchen, bathrooms and washing machines with hot water. Boilers are often found in older homes and do not require ductwork.

Boilers have certain features it offers homeowners, like warm floors, radiant heating and even the possibility of melting your driveway after a heavy snowfall. Newer heating systems have high-efficiency options that are ideal because it will help you save on energy consumption, which will result in monthly savings on your energy bills that will make a big difference in the long run. Both boilers and furnaces will help keep a home warm and toasty, so it really comes down to the features you’re after to help you make your decision. Once you know the type of heating system you prefer, you will then have to decide whether you should rent or buy your new furnace or boiler.

You need to look at both options to see which one makes more sense financially as this will also play a role in your decision. Renting a heating system means you don’t have to come up with any big costs upfront, although buying one will add value to your home and you will see the benefits should you ever choose to sell. Consider the pros and cons of each option to see if buying or renting is the better choice for you.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.


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