What Are the Differences Between a Boiler and a Furnace?

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The two most common types of heaters in homes for over a hundred years are the furnace and the boiler. Neither seems likely to go away soon, since HVAC technology continues to update them to increase their safety, reliability, options, and efficiency. If you are in the market for a heating system, no doubt your short list contains both “furnace” and “boiler.” In this post, we’ll illuminate the differences—which are significant—between the two. No one option is inherently a better choice for your home than the other; it will depend on your specific home requirements and your budget plan. When you need help with the choice between a furnace and a boiler in Blaine, MN—or any other system—contact Air Mechanical Inc. We’ll help you narrow your choices and install the best system for your heating needs. Before we get into the differences, let’s spotlight one thing boilers and furnaces have in common: they can run off a variety of fuel sources, which makes them flexible. Furnaces usually run off natural gas, electricity, or propane. Boilers use gas, electricity, or oil. There are advantages and disadvantages to the different sources, so ask an HVAC technician which will work best for you. Furnaces are forced-air systems that raise the temperature of air through heat exchange, and then use blower fans to send the heated air through ductwork and into your home. Electric heating elements (in electrical powered furnaces) or gas jets (in gas- and propane-powered furnaces) create the heat that is then transferred to the air. Boilers don’t use forced air to provide heat and don’t require ducts. Instead, they use heated water in a tank, which a pump then sends through pipes to various end points inside your home. These end points—radiators or baseboard heaters—move heat into your living space through “radiant” heat: raising the temperature of an object so it warms the area around it. Gas-powered boilers use jets under the tank to heat the water, while electric boilers have heating elements inside the tank to do the job. Each system has its pros and cons. Furnaces have low initial installation costs and won’t freeze up in winter, but suffer from more frequent repair needs and usually have shorter lifespans. Boilers produce cleaner heat and have low operation and repair costs, but they can freeze during heavy cold and take longer to warm up. Take the decision process for getting a new heater seriously. Seek out quality professional advice to make certain you end up with the ideal system for your needs. The experts at Air Mechanical Inc. can handle your heating service needs in Blaine, making sure you’ll be on your way toward a cozy season in your home.

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