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The Differences between a Furnace and a Boiler

You might not think too often about the heating system within your own home and how it works. We understand that the terminology is more difficult if you are not an HVAC technician. But when you understand the basic differences between these two systems, you are better able to describe a problem to a repair company over the phone.

That’s why we want to spend some time clearing up the differences between a boiler and a furnace today. If you need service or if you are looking into new furnace or boiler installation in Saddle River, NJ or throughout the area, call our friendly team and we’ll be happy to help.

A Furnace Uses the Ducts

Here’s the major difference between a furnace and a boiler: a furnace is a forced-air heating system, meaning it uses the home’s ductwork (ventilation system) and a blower fan to move air throughout the home. A boiler does not, using hot water to heat a home instead.

A furnace uses natural gas or another type of heating oil to start a flame (or electric resistance heating), which sends heat through a metal heat exchanger. Air is sucked into the furnace via a blower fan through a vent in your home. As it passes over the heat exchanger, the air heats up as the fan moves it toward the various air vents around the house.

A Boiler Heats Water

Boilers work a little bit differently. Your home’s boiler is a large tank that heats up water to send throughout the home. Heat radiates into your home via a radiator, in some cases. In other homes, a series of pipes are installed to supply radiant floor heating, so your feet are warm as soon as they hit the floor.

There are some similarities. For example, both systems require proper ventilation to send dangerous byproducts of the heating process (like carbon monoxide) to the outdoors. Both systems require annual maintenance to perform properly and efficiently.

Some people prefer boilers for their efficiency and performance, as radiant heat is often seen to be more effective than forced-air heating. Then again, a furnace is much less expensive to set up initially, and today’s units are more efficient than ever. For more information about both systems, give us a call!

Mark Lindsay and Son Plumbing & Heating Inc provides heating services and helpful information to homeowners in the Saddle River, NJ area. Call us today!

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