Furnaces Vs Boilers: What’s the Best Heating System Option?

High-Efficiency Heating System in Illinois

A modern, high-efficiency heating system in Illinois will do wonders for your property, from potentially reducing your heating costs, to improving the comfort of your rooms, but which system is the best to go for: a boiler or a furnace?

The heating system that you choose for your house will determine the comfort and efficiency of your home for many years, so it’s a decision that needs very careful consideration. Yet, choosing between a boiler and a furnace is no simple task. Both systems may be designed to heat your home, but they couldn’t be more different in terms of design, function, and capability.

It’s time to get to the bottom of which system is the best option for your home…

What Is a Furnace?

Put simply, a furnace is designed to heat air. The heated air is then blown throughout a property via a blower motor. By using a system of ducts installed around the property, the hot air is then released into each room, where it’ll heat the space. This same duct system can also be used for air conditioning in warmer months of the year.

Now that you know how a furnace operates, here are some of the main pros and cons of opting for a furnace to heat your home:

  • Less expensive than a boiler
  • Leaks are unlikely to cause much damage
  • No risk of frozen pipes
  • Easy and often inexpensive to maintain
  • Furnace duct-work can be used for air conditioning
  • Not as energy efficient
  • Can cost more to run
  • Heat is not always consistent
  • Can be loud
  • Poor quality ducts can lead to drafts
  • Air quality is reduced due to blown air

What Is a Boiler?

Unlike a furnace, a boiler doesn’t heat air, but instead heats water. Depending on the boiler, either hot water or steam will be circulated via pipes around a property. There’s a lot of variance between boiler applications; some boilers can be used to circulate heat via a fan coil, whilst other systems can be used disperse heat into rooms via radiators or underfloor heating systems.

It’s also possible to have a combi boiler installed which can heat radiators and other systems, as well as being used to heat the main water supply for a property.

Boilers are very different to furnaces in the way that they provide heat to the home, but are the pros of this system worth the cons? Here are some of the main pros and cons to consider:

  • The heat that a boiler produces is more consistent
  • Easy to maintain
  • Air quality is improved as dust isn’t blown around the room
  • Can be very energy efficient to operate
  • Very quiet operation
  • Easy to control
  • Higher initial costs
  • Leaking water can cause damage
  • Not always responsive to thermostat changes
  • Freezing pipes are a potential hazard

Furnace Vs Boiler: Which Is Best?

There’s a substantial difference between boilers and furnaces, but despite the main differences, there’s no clear ‘best’ option. A lot depends on the existing system that’s installed inside a property, as altering the system, particularly from a boiler to a furnace, can be very difficult and expensive.

However, for new constructions or properties that are undergoing serious renovations, where a choice has to be made between a boiler and a furnace, it’s certainly worth comparing the pros and cons.

Financially, the installation of a furnace is a more appealing choice initially, as the system is considerably more cost-effective. However, in the long-run, the efficiency of a boiler can seem like a better investment; boilers are more energy efficient, and the heat is generally more consistent.

A major downside to boilers is the risk of damage if a leak should occur. Boilers pose a risk of water damage, and burst pipes, which can occur during freezing temperatures. A furnace is not prone to these problems, as it heats air instead of water. A great advantage of furnaces is also the ease of installing air conditioning.

For properties in warmer climates, furnaces can be a much more beneficial choice, as the inconsistent heat won’t be such a problem and the air conditioning will be greatly depended on. For properties in colder climates, the applications and efficiency of boiler can be very rewarding.

Get Advice from the Professionals

The last thing you want is to regret the system that you choose, as it’s certainly not easy to alter the system down the line! One of the best ways to determine which system will be right for your home is to get advice from heating and cooling specialists, as while there’s no single ‘best’ system, there may be a best system for your home.


Comments are closed.