Boilers vs. Furnaces

boilers vs. furnaces - Twin Cities MN contractor

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.

boilers vs. furnaces - Twin Cities MN contractor

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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How to Determine the Right Furnace Size

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How Do I Decide the Right Size of the Furnace For My Home?

Winters in Minnesota can be extremely cold, which is why it’s critical that you have a well-working furnace in your home. A furnace can’t fully operate if it’s not sized accordingly. In the article below, our St. Paul heating contractors help you determine the right size furnace for your home. 

Why is the Right Size Furnace Important?

Too small a furnace can lead to high energy bills, inconsistent heating, and shorter heating system lifespans. Not to mention the wrong size furnace won’t keep your Twin Cities home warm during the cold winters. A large furnace, on the other hand, may make parts of your home uncomfortably hot. It’s going to cycle on and off too much, which could cause your furnace to age. If you want to prevent these issues, you need to make sure you choose the right size furnace for your home. 

right size furnace - Twin Cities MN

How Do I Decide the Right Size of the Furnace For My Home?

Their BTU capability distinguishes gas furnaces. BTU stands for the British Thermal Units. One BTU reflects the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water by one degree of Fahrenheit. You’re going to have to do a little math to calculate the right BTU you’re going to need for your home heating.

Calculate Your Furnace Size Using Square Footage

Your home’s square footage is a good way to determine the right size furnace. If you’re not sure exactly what your home’s size is, look up your home on Zillow or Redfin. Our friends at Gilmore Heating, Air and Plumbing, a heating contractor in Sacramento, say that most of the furnace size charts are based on eight-foot ceilings. If your ceilings are higher or lower, make adjustments to your calculations accordingly. To calculate furnace size by square footage, you take the square footage and multiply it by the furnace output. Continue reading to learn more about calculating furnace size.

[Square footage x (BTUs per square foot)]

Furnace Size

There are plenty of furnace size charts to choose from. Most of them will compare the home’s square footage, and BTU needed to heat the home. The following is a general guideline: 

  • 1,200 square foot home would take between 35,000 and 75,000 BTUs.
  • 1,500-square-foot home would take between 45,000 and 90,000 BTUs.
  • 1,800-square-foot home would take between 55,000 and 110,000 BTUs.
  • 2,100-square-foot home would take between 65,000 and 125,000 BTUs.
  • 2,400-square-foot homes would take between 75,000 and 145,000 BTUs.

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Consider the Climate 

Another consideration before new furnace installation is climate. Being that Twin Cities, MN gets extremely cold in the winter suggests that you get a powerful furnace. Selecting a furnace that is going to last in colder climates is key.  

Hire a Heating and Cooling Company

If you’re searching for a heating and cooling company near me, look no further. McQuillan Bros is happy to help you with all of your furnace needs. Whether it’s furnace installation, replacement, repair, or maintenance, we can help you select the best furnace size, brand, and model. Contact us today to schedule a free estimate.   

Contact an expert

We Can't Wait To Serve You!

Complete the form below and one of our team members will give you a call to help get you scheduled. If you have an urgent need please call us at
(651) 243-4002