Do I Have a Furnace or a Boiler?

Differentiating between a furnace and a boiler can help homeowners identify problems, schedule preventative maintenance, and keep their home’s water heated over the long-term. In Duluth, MN, it is important, especially as we head into the winter months, to keep your home’s heat running smoothly to prevent outages in the most severe of weather.
Furnaces and boilers operate very differently to heat your home. Understanding the two different systems and their requirements is essential for every homeowner.

Furnaces heat your home through forced air

A furnace is a forced air mechanism that first heats air and then distributes it throughout your home through a series of ducts. If you are unsure whether you have a furnace, check for ductwork, insulation and a rectangular box hub. These are all telltale signs you have a furnace.

Furnaces rely on air to heat your home, which can result in uneven hot or cool spots. Besides an uneven distribution of hot air, furnaces circulate dust particles and can be tough for those with allergies, especially in the springtime.

Boilers utilize water for even heating

A boiler heats water rather than air to heat your home. It travels through pipes or heavy-duty tubing to reach radiators or other heating apparatuses like baseboard heaters in your house.
Depending on your boiler, it can run on different sources of energy, including oil, propane or gas. If your boiler funnels through to a radiator, chances are it runs on high-pressure steam, which can add humidity to your home. If, on the other hand, your boiler funnels through to a baseboard, it likely runs on forced hydronics.

Boilers vary widely in terms of functionality and aesthetic. Navien NCB-E and NFC boilers are notable choices in the boiler space because they are highly efficient, environmentally friendly and able to heat large homes. They are also smaller, taking up less space while also providing for state-of-the-art control panels to fit into any contemporary home.

Furnace vs. boiler: Which is better for my home?

Furnaces and boilers in Duluth, MN have very different requirements for maintenance. The best way to understand these requirements is to read the equipment manual or seek professional assistance during a consultation.

At a high level, furnaces run on open flames and should be serviced regularly to check for fire hazards. They also have a filter that should be replaced once enough dust or debris has built up inside.

Boilers may require radiator repair to resolve trapped air issues. Steam radiators can release water into your home, which not only creates humidity but can also result in water damage. Worse than this, steam radiators have been known to pressurize to a point where they can explode.

Choose expert installers

Before your furnace or boiler system fails, have it looked at by a professional. The experts at ASP in Duluth, MN will work with you to identify your equipment, repair it and replace it with a new system altogether as needed. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.