“Do I have a Furnace or a Boiler?”

A funny thing frequently happens when we arrive at a customer’s home during the heating season. It starts with being called to come to take a look at their furnace. Nothing funny about that, right? But when we arrive, we discover that the heating system isn’t anchored by a furnace at all, but a boiler instead.

Okay, so maybe that’s not all that funny, but it does help prove one point, i.e., that the vast majority not only of our customers but people around the country call their heating system a furnace, even when it isn’t.

Are you 100% sure which type you have (unless, of course, your home is heated by a ductless air system or heat pump)?

Here’s the basic difference. A furnace heats air and distributes it through your home’s ductwork. A boiler (which can be gas or oil-fired) heats water and distributes the heated water through a network of pipes to your baseboard units, radiators, and in-floor radiant heating system.

Furnaces and boilers are actually profoundly different, so if you’re at or getting to the point of purchasing a replacement heating system, here are a few of those differences worth keeping in mind:

  • A furnace, also known as a forced-air heating system, blows more than warm air through your ductwork and into your living spaces. It also blows around dust, dirt, and other airborne particles. So if you have issues with allergies, asthma, or simply want to minimize the amount of dust that accumulates, a boiler might be your better choice.
  • Furnaces also have filters that have to be cleaned at least quarterly. Boilers often need less maintenance, especially cast iron boilers.
  • The upfront cost of a boiler is typically higher than that of a furnace, and that’s a big reason why furnaces are the more popular choice, and that includes electric furnaces, as well.
  • On the other hand, boilers tend to be more energy-efficient than furnaces, which means reduced utility costs to help compensate for the higher initial purchase price.

As you can see, it’s anything but a “no brainer” when trying to choose between a new furnace or boiler. That’s where we come in: DiBiase Heating & Cooling Company. If you’re in the market for a new heating system, we’ll sit down with you, explain your options, and answer all your questions. Once we’ve determined your individual and family priorities, we’ll recommend what we believe to be your top two or three options, and then help you make your final selection. Contact DiBiase for a free and no-obligation in-home consultation.

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