Furnace vs. Boiler (they are NOT the same)

Very often I hear people say: “my furnace is broken” or “the furnace is new”,  but it’s not a furnace they are talking about at all.  Most of the time they are talking about a Boiler.  Some people just call everything that creates heat in the home a furnace and this is not true.  Let’s do a comparison and see the differences and how to spot them…

BOILER: AKA Forced Hot Water.  Pushes hot water through the home inside pipes and radiates heat through the home using baseboards or radiators.

Above is a boiler in the basement.  It pushes hot water through copper pipes like these below…

The heat gets into the rooms above through baseboards or radiators like these below…

 

 

FURNACE:  AKA Forced Hot Air.  Forces hot air through the home using a fan and ducts.

The air gets pushed up through ductwork like this…

It comes through the floor, wall or ceiling through duct covers like this…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fastest way to tell what which kind of system you have is by walking in the front door and looking around the outside of the room.  Heat supplies are always on the exterior of the home and if you see air duct covers you know it is a furnace, if you see baseboards or radiators you know it is a boiler.

There are many more differences and pros and cons to each kind of heating system but that is for another blog.  When purchasing a home make sure that you know which system you have and how to maintain it.  In case you are having problems you want to know what to tell the HVAC person you are on the phone with so they know what they need to fix it.

If you have any questions about your heating system feel free to reach out to us and ask.

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