What's the Difference Between a Boiler and a Furnace?

What’s the Difference Between a Boiler and a Furnace?

November 14, 2019

It’s good for homeowners to understand the large appliances and systems operating in their homes. When you’re in the know, maintenance is easier, and problems are noticed earlier so you can save money on preventable repairs. Your heating system is one such large appliance that needs regular attention. When it comes to residential heating elements, some homes have a furnace, while others have a boiler. They both heat homes, but the systems that enable them to operate are quite different.

Many homes in the United States have a central heating and cooling system. The two most common types of heating systems are furnaces and boilers—they both keep you warm, but they generate air differently. Let’s take a look at some key boiler and furnace differences in Taylor, MI.

Boiler and furnace differences

Looking at boilers, these units generate warm air through heated water in a tank. Boiler tanks don’t require ducts to circulate warm air throughout the rooms in your house. What happens here is that the heated water gets circulated through pipes that stretch out to end points stationed inside the house. These end points are typically radiators or baseboard heaters.

There is also a difference between types of boilers. Electric boilers are constructed with heating elements to heat the water in the tank. Gas boilers, on the other hand, use jets under the tank to accomplish the same thing. The heat generated by electric boilers moves through the end points and into your living spaces through a process called radiant heat transfer. Heat is delivered by increasing the surface temperature, which is how nearby areas are warmed.

A furnace is another type of heat delivery system used in homes and commercial buildings. Furnaces use forced-air systems to generate the right amount of warm air to warm up the inside of your house. A forced-air system heats the air through a device called a heat exchanger. Once the air is heated, it’s circulated inside the house through the ductwork by the system’s blower fans. Like boilers, furnaces can run on electricity or gas. Electric-powered furnaces need heating elements to create warm air. In gas-powered furnaces, the warm air is created by gas jets.

The better option

Whether a boiler or furnace is the better option for you depends on a few factors. They each have their own advantages and disadvantages, and your home may only be able to accommodate one or the other.

Boilers tend to produce cleaner heat, need less repairs and cost less to operate. They’re considered energy efficient because they heat only the areas you want heated, which saves you money on energy bills. However, boilers also take longer to warm up a room, raise humidity levels inside and can freeze in the winter. As for furnaces, installation costs are low and they won’t freeze in cold weather. But they need their filters replaced regularly, and they have shorter lifespans and require more repairs than boilers.

Contact Kaltec Heating & Cooling today to learn more about boiler and furnace differences in Taylor, MI!

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