Difference Between Boiler & Furnace

Slant/Fin Presents: The Boiler vs. The Furnace

Which heating system is better for you and your home? In order to make the best choice, it is important to for you to understand the difference between a boiler and a furnace.

The easiest way to remember the difference is to understand that a furnace uses air and a boiler uses water to distribute heat throughout your home.

They both operate in markedly different ways. A furnace heats air that is distributed throughout the house via a blower motor and the home’s duct system. The boiler uses hot water to heat your home. Hot water boilers distribute heat through small hot water pipes using a pump to heat baseboard, cast iron radiators, or radiant flooring systems. A steam boiler distributes steam through a network of pipes to heat the radiators in the home. Boilers, also known as hydronic heat systems, can run on gas, oil, electricity or alternative fuels such as wood pellets.

Weighing the pros and cons of each system can influence your decision on how to heat your home. Furnaces use warm air, which creates a drafty environment because there is air blowing all around. Air movement is great in the summer with cooling, but is uncomfortable for heating. Radiant or convection heat such as baseboard or cast iron radiators will provide steady heat with good temperature consistency. Hydronic heating systems will not spread dust and allergens through your home or dry out the air like forced air systems. While a boiler system for heat and central air for cooling is a little more expensive than using the air conditioning ductwork to heat by adding a furnace, when weighing the comfort, hot water heating is worth the additional cost. Do you want gentle and comfortable heat or drafty and dusty heat?

Another difference between these systems is the type of maintenance required. Because the air is blown through the house, some contractors suggest changing the air filter of a furnace anywhere from once a month to once a quarter for optimal air quality. The maintenance for boilers is entirely different. High efficiency boilers and oil boilers (like a warm air furnace) usually require annual service, but a cast iron gas boiler can run for years with minimal maintenance.

When it comes to boiler vs. furnace, which one makes more sense for you depends on your needs and your budget. Slant/Fin is America’s prime manufacturer of baseboard heating systems and one of the top manufacturers of gas and oil boilers. Whether it’s high efficiency boilers, residential boilers, commercial boilers, gas, oil or electric boilers, Slant/Fin has the right option for you!

Slant/Fin builds trust and comfort daily therefore it is the only name you want heating your home.