Furnaces and boilers are two popular ways of heating houses. Though furnaces and boilers perform the same function, they have some differences that you should be aware of. Below are some of the major areas in which furnaces and boilers differ.
Boilers heat water while furnaces heat air. For a boiler system, the water sits in a reservoir. The burners heat the water before the system circulates the water throughout the house. In a furnace, the air does not circulate in a closed system. This means the heated air can still interact with the environment.
Boilers and furnaces also differ in their methods of heat distribution. A boiler system distributes hot water (or steam) via a network of pipes throughout the house. The water pipes typically run under the floor or through the baseboard. The pipes heat air via radiation. For furnaces, the system distributes hot air via a system of air ducts. The air ducts typically run behind walls and ceilings.
Both boilers and furnaces require regular maintenance, but boilers tend to require less maintenance than furnaces. One of the most common maintenance services for boilers involves bleeding trapped air from the system. As for furnaces, you need to change the air filters regularly.
Time to Heat
Heating water requires more time than heating air. Thus, a boiler will take a longer time to heat a house than a furnace. For boilers, the rooms nearest to the heating system will heat up faster than rooms farther away. Furnaces, on the other hand, usually provide uniform heating.
Indoor Air Quality
Furnaces affect indoor air quality, but boilers don't. The effect comes because the furnace draws in air from the surrounding environment — the heated air is the same air you breathe. The furnace can suck in small air particles, germs, or even mold spores. For boilers, the heated air doesn't come into contact with the air you breathe. Thus, the boilers don't contaminate indoor air.
Lastly, the two systems also differ in their installation costs. Boilers usually have higher initial installation costs than furnaces. You need between $3,443 and $7,667 to install a boiler. For a furnace, expect to spend anything from $2,549 to $6,140.
Both of these heating systems can keep your house at comfortable temperatures. Depending on your area and set up, one may be more suited to your house than the other may.
To know more about furnaces and boilers, contact HVAC contracting services near you.