Seven Differences Between Boiler and Furnace Heating Systems

Winter will arrive in Duluth, MN before you know it! If you are considering an upgrade to your heating system, now is the time to make that a priority. For big changes, like a complete HVAC replacement, you will need to decide between boiler heating and furnace heating. To make an informed decision, here are seven differences between the two types of systems:

  • Operation: Boiler and furnace heating produce heat differently. Furnaces use air to distribute heat throughout your home, whereas boiler systems use water. A furnace has a blower motor that distributes heat through a duct system. Boilers heat water and distribute heat through a series of pipes that heat homes through baseboards, cast iron radiators or radiant flooring systems. If you have a steam boiler, it works in a similar fashion, but it distributes steam rather than water to radiators around your home.
  • Power sources: Boilers are the most flexible when it comes to power sources. You can operate boilers on natural gas, electric, oil or even wood pellets. Furnaces work best on oil, electric or natural gas, and are not as well equipped for alternative sources. So, if you wish to wean yourself away from fossil fuels, you likely want to invest in a boiler heating system in Duluth, MN.
  • Drafts: Furnaces have a disadvantage when it comes to drafts. Since they blow air around, you will notice constant drafts. This works well with a heat pump system that also runs central air conditioning, but heat is less even. Radiant or convection heat through baseboards and radiators tends to offer better heat distribution.
  • Dust and allergens: If you do not regularly clean your furnace filters and ductwork, you will likely blow dust and allergens through your home. This can be an issue when you have a household member who is sensitive to allergens. Boilers do not spread allergens and dust around your home.
  • Compatibility with air conditioning: If you have a boiler system, you need to install central AC separately as an independent system. This leads to complications when installing thermostats, and if you do not have ductwork for a central AC system, that also needs installation. When you already have a furnace and ductwork, it is easy to add central AC and even make it part of your heat pump system.
  • Humidity: Increasing the humidity in your home makes it easier to breathe and helps control sinus symptoms. Furnaces create a dryer environment that leads to frequent sniffles and dry skin. Boilers create a wet heat that increases humidity and reduces these symptoms.
  • Maintenance: Furnaces require new air filters to run properly. Otherwise, you will likely wear out your furnace and face a night without heat. Boilers require annual service, but if you invest in a cast iron gas boiler, you can likely go years with only minimal maintenance.

ASP offers heating services for boiler heating and furnace heating in Duluth, MN. Contact us today if you need to maintain, repair or install heating before winter hits this year.