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Boilers vs. Heat Pumps

boiler vs heat pump - Twin Cities

Boiler vs. Heat Pump

With the growing popularity of renewable energy sources, the use of non-traditional heating systems has also shown an increasing interest for homeowners. The reasoning behind the current increase in popularity of heat pumps, solar panels, and boilers depends on cost-effectiveness. Even some would like to assume that some heating systems are better than others. So, what’s the better choice? In the article below, McQuillan Bros, a St. Paul plumbing and heating company, shares the differences between boilers vs. heat pumps in your Twin City home.



Boilers are commonly found in older homes. You can think of a boiler as a sealed chamber that is heated to a particular temperature. Combined, this is used to produce heat and provide hot water. If you are searching for a boiler, you may want to consider the following technical criteria that will help the customer compare the boilers easily and pick the one that best suits his/her needs and budget.

boiler vs heat pump - Twin Cities

Boiler Pump Features to Consider:

  • The performance of the power (rated power)
  • The rate of efficiency (COP)
  • Form of coolant to be used
  • The working temperature of the coolant
  • The operating pressure of the coolant
  • Hydraulic Power
  • We will not avoid explaining each of the technical criteria as it does not serve the intent of this blog post, but we invite you to take a close look at the sections on boilers and other renewable energy technologies on our website.

Types of Boilers

  • Boilers for Biomass
  • Wood Pellet Boiler
  • Boiler condensation
  • Combi Boiler
  • Electrical boilers
  • Carbon (Conventional) Boiler
  • Thermal pumps

The heat pump is a more complicated system compared to the boiler, but the main purpose behind the operation of the pump is more or less the same. The function of the heat pump is based on the absorption and transfer of thermal energy (high to low).

Most heat pumps use a liquid refrigerant as a coolant, which is pumped through underground pipes or through an external ventilator cover tube. This absorbs air or underground heat, which is later passed through a compressor, then further heated.

Heat Pump Features to Consider: 

  • Initial installation cost
  • The refrigerant pump
  • The size of the pump (BTU-British Thermal Unit)
  • Functional characteristics of the pump-SEER Rating (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) and HSPF Rating (heating seasonal performance factor)
  • The warranty terms of the pump

Types of Heat Pumps

  • Air Source Heat Pump
  • Ground Source Heat Pump
  • Water Source Heat Pump
  • Air to Water Heat Pump
“McQuillan installed a boiler and water heater in my new home. They also charged my mini Split system. They did a great job. Everything looks very nice. The guys are kind, professional, experienced.” – Michael B. 

Which is better: Heat pump vs. boiler?

So, which is better for your home? As has already been demonstrated, the heat pump is an absolute champion when it comes to CO2 emissions and can produce a higher efficiency rate compared to the boiler. It should be noted, however, that while the ground or air source heat pump has a COP (Coefficient of Performance) of around 3, which surpasses the electric boiler and the oil boiler. If you’re wanting to reduce costs and emissions, know that the heat pump does not outperform the gas boiler. 

Additionally, the high initial costs and the limited heating output of the heat pump, having a gas boiler could prove cheaper. Our friends at Gilmore Heating, Air, and Plumbing, a heating company in Placerville, agree that to a certain extent, a heat pump is more effective, particularly during the cold days of winter, when you may need a higher heat output. 

Considering the continuous development of heat pumps, we would expect them to increase their output rate in the near future and thus set higher efficiency requirements that will be difficult to achieve with other heating devices available on the market. 

Countries worldwide are making the transition to low-carbon solutions for residential and commercial use. With the rise of hybrid systems, you might want to consider a boiler over a heat pump. Everyone’s home is different, and most of us don’t have the initial choice of having a heat pump or a boiler. Heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular, but just like anything else, there are pros and cons. 

Ask a Professional Plumber 

If you can’t decide whether or not you need a heat pump or boiler installationcontact McQuillan Bros. Our plumbing contractors in Twin Cities, MN, have been proudly serving the community since 1883. We’re happy to weigh the pros and cons with you and help you decide which heating system is best for your home. Give us a call today for a free estimate on HVAC services.

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