Boilers and furnaces are often used interchangeably, but they are different methods of heating your home. If your home has radiators, then you have a boiler. If warm air comes from registers and vents, then you probably have a furnace. You may be wondering about the differences between boilers and furnaces if you’re looking to upgrade the heating system in your home, or maybe you’re building a new home and are wondering which heating system would be best for your home. 

Poston Brothers is Burlington, KY’s leading heating and cooling team. We’re here to help you with all your heating and cooling needs. Call us today for a free consultation. 

Comparing Boilers and Furnaces: Understanding the Key Differences

The biggest difference between a boiler and a furnace is that a boiler distributes heat generated from boiled water or steam through your home’s hot water pipes to warm baseboards and iron radiators. There are a wide variety of radiators on the market today, including baseboard radiators, cast iron radiators, or radiant heated flooring.  Furnaces, on the other hand, heat up the air and distribute it through your home’s ductwork, and the hot air comes out of the vents. Both boilers and furnaces can be fueled by oil, electricity, or natural gas. 

Is one better than the other? Both furnaces and boilers have their own pros and cons, and what works better for you depends on your home and your needs. It’s best to weigh your options side by side to see which works best for your personal preferences and budget.

The Pros and Cons of Boilers

Since boilers don’t use vents, they don’t require ductwork. Instead, the hot water or steam generated through a boiler is distributed through a series of pipes. Having a boiler in your home is a great idea if you have severe allergies because debris, allergens, and other irritants can’t hide and travel through ducts. 

Boilers burn fuel slower than a furnace, making them more energy efficient. The lifespan of a boiler is usually 20 years, similar to a furnace. Many customers like their boiler because it’s much quieter than a furnace, but the pipes run the risk of freezing and breaking. Also, boilers tend to be more expensive than furnaces and are more difficult to install. Whichever heating system you choose, be sure to trust a professional and experienced heating and cooling team to install your system properly. 

The Pros and Cons of Furnaces

Most homes have a furnace installed. Furnaces over the years have become more efficient. Furnaces are cheaper and easier to install than boilers and tend to have a lifespan of 15-20 years, depending on usage and maintenance. Both furnaces and boilers should be maintained annually to keep up with efficiency and performance, but furnaces are more likely to need frequent maintenance or can break down if they are not kept in a clean environment.

Both furnaces and boilers will only produce heat. If you have air conditioning installed to cool your home in the summer, both your air conditioner and furnace can use the ductwork to make your home comfortable, whereas a boiler relies on pipes. Since both furnaces and air conditioners rely on ductwork, if you’re planning on having an air conditioner, you might want to stick with a furnace. If you’re considering a ductless mini split air conditioner to cool your home in the summer, it will probably pair better with another ductless system like a boiler. 

How Can I Decide Between a New Boiler or Furnace for My Home?

After learning the differences between boilers and furnaces, you can now decide for yourself which would fit best in your home. If you’re willing to pay more in upfront costs, but save on heating bills, a boiler is a good solution. However, a furnace could be the way to go if you want to pay less in upfront costs and have a duct system already installed. 

If you’re still trying to decide, have the heating and cooling experts at Poston Brothers help you out. Call us today to schedule a free consultation, and we can help you decide what system will be best for your home.