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Boilers vs. Furnaces

Which heating system is best for you and your family? To make the right decision, you must first consider the distinction between a boiler and a furnace. In this article, our Twin Cities HVAC technicians share the difference between a boilers vs. furnaces.

What’s the Difference?

The simplest way to note the distinction is that a furnace uses air to disperse heat in your house, while a boiler uses water. Both heating systems work in very different ways. A furnace heats the air, which is then circulated in the home by a blower motor and the duct system. The boiler heats your home with hot water. Hot water boilers use a pump to distribute heat through small hot water pipes to heat baseboard, cast iron radiators, or radiant flooring systems. A steam boiler heats the radiators in the home by distributing steam through a network of pipes. Boilers, also known as hydronic heat systems, can be powered by coal, oil, electricity, or renewable fuels like wood pellets.

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Benefits of Boilers & Furnaces

Weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each heating system will help you decide how to heat your house. Furnaces use warm air, which causes a drafty atmosphere because air is constantly blowing around. Air movement is beneficial for cooling in the summer but is inconvenient for heating. Radiant or convection heating, such as baseboard or cast iron radiators, can provide consistent heat and temperature stability. Hydronic heating systems, unlike forced air systems, do not scatter dust and allergens in your home and do not dry out the air. Although a boiler system for heat and central air for cooling is slightly more costly than using the air conditioning ductwork to heat by adding a furnace, hot water heating is worth the extra expense when it comes to comfort. 

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Type of Heating Maintenance Needed

Maintenance is extremely important. You need maintenance on just about everything. Our friends at LMS Garage Doors, a company for garage door repair Sacramento, agree that maintenance is critical to the longevity of anything. It doesn’t matter if it’s your car, garage door, or HVAC system. The type of maintenance needed is another distinction between these systems. Since air is blown in the building, some contractors recommend adjusting the air filter of a furnace once a month or once a quarter for optimum air quality. Boiler cleaning is completely different. High-performance boilers and oil boilers (such as a warm air furnace) typically require an annual heating inspection, while a cast iron gas boiler will operate for years with little maintenance.

So, boilers vs. furnaces – which is better for you? It’s determined by your needs and your budget. McQuillan Bros is the leading heating and cooling company in Minnesota and beyond. We have so many HVAC options for you to choose from! Contact McQuillan Bros today to schedule a free estimate. 

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