The Difference Between Furnaces and Boilers

Across the Front Range, natural gas central furnaces are a fairly standard heating source in most family homes. But it isn’t the only way to bring heat into your rooms. For some homeowners, boilers are the only way to go. What’s the difference between a furnace and a boiler? Which is the right choice for your home?

Using a boiler to heat your home

The Difference Between Furnaces and BoilersThe word “boiler” instantly brings to mind a pot on the stove, heating to the point of boiling. And that, in short, is what a boiler is. A boiler heating system has a holding tank of water. It heats it and circulates it around your home by means of baseboard heaters, radiators, or underfoot heating tubes. You’ll typically find a boiler located in a central location inside your home, with a series of pipes carrying it throughout your home.

Depending on the boiler dispersal system used, it heats the water and generates either steam or hot water. As it moves throughout the system, it increases room temperature.

Thanks to today’s technology, there are many different types of boiler systems on the market. If your home currently uses a boiler system, or you’re considering adding it to new construction, there are a variety of systems to consider:

  • Condensing – they operate with a closed condensation system, making them one of the most efficient boilers you can buy.
  • Non-Condensing – older, more established models that provide reliable heat.
  • Gas – a common addition to more urban areas.
  • Oil – a great option if you don’t have access to natural gas.
  • Propane – a great option if you’re off the grid.
  • Electric – they are one of the cleanest boilers on the market. However, they are weaker at supplying a lot of heat for larger homes.
  • Biomass – it burns wood chips or pellets to heat the holding tank, making it a cleaner resource.

In general, boilers are quieter, provide a more balanced heat source, and reduce dust and allergens found in other heating systems.

Using a furnace to heat your home

Furnaces use combustion to generate heat inside the home, which it then pumps throughout using ductwork and registers. As the hot air is produced, a blower fan moves the air through the system and out into each room. They are less efficient than boilers because water retains heat better than air.

But that doesn’t mean furnaces aren’t still a great resource, That’s why you find them in homes throughout the city. While Colorado homes predominantly use natural gas, it isn’t the only type of furnace on the market. Other choices include:

  • Oil – they are a great choice if you live in a remote location.
  • Propane – another great choice if you live in remote locations.
  • Electric – these are some of the highest efficiency furnaces on the market. Yet they aren’t as powerful as other choices, so they aren’t always great choices for larger homes.

Furnaces are a dry heating system, not as risky for potential water and flooding problems. Ductwork is less costly than pipes, and it’s easier to repair and service. It does require more maintenance over time, and uses more energy to operate. But it’s considered a top choice here in Colorado.

Which is the right choice for you? Contact one of our technicians and find out your options today.

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