Furnaces vs. Boilers: What to Know When Picking a System


Furnaces vs. Boilers: What to Know When Picking a System

Furnaces and boilers are the two most common systems used to heat homes—and understanding their key features, including the pros and cons that set them apart, is especially helpful when purchasing a new system for your home or assessing your energy costs. Here’s what the pros at Tom’s Heating want you to know when considering your options.

How is efficiency measured?

Both systems are highly efficient options, with energy use measured by annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). This measures how effectively the system converts fuel into heat energy. A 90 percent AFUE rating means it successfully converts 90 percent into heat and only wastes 10 percent. Some unit ratings can reach 100 percent efficiency.

What are the main benefits of each system?

Furnaces are less expensive than boilers; are very responsive to temperature changes; have little chance of freezing up; are typically installed within just a few hours; and share the same ductwork as central air conditioning for year-round comfort.

Boilers deliver consistent heat; are virtually silent when operating; are lower in homeowner maintenance since there are no filters to replace; and can reduce the spread of contaminants in the home’s air because there is little to no air movement. Boilers may also be utilized to heat domestic water very efficiently and can be used to allow the addition of floor warming.

Can I switch from a furnace to a boiler or vice versa?

Some homeowners may want to stick with the system type that’s currently in their home because of the expense and complications of conversion, but the change could do you good.

It’s worth noting that the conversion process is very involved. Switching from a boiler to a furnace requires ductwork to be installed within the walls and ceiling. Similarly, switching from a furnace to a boiler requires installation of piping within walls, and sometimes in ceilings or under flooring.

Our pros can help you decide if a forced-air furnace or hydronic heat system with a boiler is best suited to your comfort needs. Carrier® offers some of the most efficient and reliable units on the market—and as a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer and 11-time winner of the Carrier President’s Award, we stand behind these systems.

Give us a call or contact us online to start discussing your heating system options.

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