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Furnace vs Boiler: What’s the Difference?

Plumber installing electric heating boiler. Young handyman in uniform setting up electric heating boiler at home

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As the temperature drops, choosing the right heating system becomes increasingly important. Two popular options are furnaces and boilers. Both are effective at heating a home, but their differences may impact your decision. So before you buy an HVAC for your home, explore the pros and cons of each system to help you make an informed decision.

What Is a Furnace?

Furnaces are one of the most common heating systems that use air to distribute heat throughout a home. They typically use gas, oil, or electricity as a fuel source to heat a heat exchanger, which then warms the air blown through the ductwork and into each room. 

Furnaces are known for their efficiency and ability to quickly heat a home, making them popular in colder climates. Aside from that, the installation costs for furnaces are relatively cheaper than boilers since they do not require as much equipment and piping. 

However, one downside to this HVAC system is that it can be noisy, as the air blowing through the ductwork can create a humming or rattling sound. They can also create dry air, leading to discomfort and health issues such as dry skin, sore throats, and respiratory problems.

What Is a Boiler?

Boilers are heating systems that employ water or steam to administer heat throughout a home. They are typically fueled by gas, oil, electricity, and heat water in a tank or a series of pipes circulating through radiators or baseboard heaters to warm each room.

Boilers benefit many homeowners as they are more efficient than furnaces and maintain a consistent temperature throughout a home. This means you don’t have to turn it on and off to preserve heat. They also provide a more comfortable heat, as the radiators or baseboard heaters do not create dry air.

However, boilers are more complex than furnaces, which may make repairs and maintenance more expensive. Additionally, boilers can be more difficult to install, especially in homes without piping. Lastly, boilers require regular maintenance.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing Between a Furnace and Boiler

Size and Layout of Your Home

Furnaces are typically better suited for larger homes with existing ductwork, while boilers may be a better option for smaller homes or homes without existing ducts. On the other hand, a boiler may be a better option if you live in a cold climate, as it can provide more consistent heat throughout the home.


While the initial cost of a furnace may be less expensive, a boiler may offer long-term savings on energy bills. Additionally, the cost of installation and maintenance should be dealt with. It is important to get quotes from multiple HVAC technicians to compare costs and ensure you get the best value.

Environmental Impact

While both furnaces and boilers can be powered by natural gas or propane, boilers may be more environmentally friendly as they are generally more efficient and produce fewer emissions. However, you must examine your energy source to determine your heating system’s environmental impact.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right heating system for your home is a crucial decision that should be made based on several factors. While furnaces and boilers have advantages and disadvantages, it’s important to consult a professional to determine which option suits your needs and preferences.

Climate Experts provides various HVAC systems that meet your home heating needs, including furnaces and boilers. Our team of experts can help you determine which system is right for you and provide professional installation and maintenance services. Request a free estimate from us today!

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