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Furnaces vs. Boilers vs. Heaters: What Is the Difference?

When it comes to keeping your home warm and cozy during the colder months, you have several options to choose from. Furnaces, boilers, and heaters are some of the most common heating systems in use today. But what exactly are the differences between them, and how do they work? Our professional HVAC technicians at American Vintage Home have put together this guide to help you know more about these heating systems and the pros and cons associated with them so that you can make an informed decision for your heating needs.

What Is a Heater?

A heater is a broad term used to refer to any device or system designed to produce heat and increase the temperature of a space. Heaters encompass a wide range of appliances, from small portable electric heaters to larger central heating systems. Furnaces and boilers are both often referred to as heaters, as well as radiators and heat pumps.

What Is a Furnace?

HVAC technician working on a furnace

A furnace is one of the most common types of heating systems, and they are commonly used in both homes and businesses. Furnaces typically run on electricity, natural gas, propane, or oil and are designed to distribute warm air throughout a building by a system of ducts and vents. The basic principle behind a furnace is to generate heat by burning fuel or using electrical resistance, then blow this warm air through ducts to various rooms in the building.

Furnaces are known for their efficiency and ability to provide consistent and even heating. They can be equipped with advanced features like programmable thermostats, air filtration systems, and zoning capabilities.

What Is a Boiler?

2 residential boilers newly installed

In contrast to furnaces, boilers use water instead of air to provide heat. They can rely on various energy sources, including natural gas, oil, or electricity, to heat the water, which is then circulated through a system of pipes and radiators to provide heat. Boilers are often used in older homes and buildings and are known for their ability to provide comfortable, radiant heat.

Boilers are highly efficient and can be an excellent choice for homes with radiators or radiant floor heating systems.

Furnaces vs. Boilers: Which Is Better?

When it comes to heating systems, no one option is technically best. Each have their pros and cons, so the best option is the one that fits your home’s comfort needs. If you’re deciding between a furnace and a boiler, consider the following pros and cons to find out which one is ideal for your needs:

Pros of Furnaces

  • Quick & even heating
  • Improved air quality
  • Reliable performance

Cons of Furnaces

  • Installation cost
  • Dry air

Pros of Boilers

  • Energy efficiency
  • Long life span
  • Radiant heat

Cons of Boilers

  • Complex and costly installation
  • Slow heating

Ultimately, the choice between a furnace and a boiler largely depends on your specific heating needs, existing infrastructure, and budget. Our HVAC professionals at American Vintage Home can help walk you through your options and recommend the best system for your home.

Call American Vintage Home for Heating Services in the Chicago North Shore Area

At American Vintage Home, we’re known as the “Older Home Experts” because we specialize in providing advanced heating and cooling solutions to the vintage homes in the Chicago North Shore area. Our team can help add modern comfort and convenience to your home without compromising its vintage charms. So, if you are looking to install either a furnace or a boiler, turn to our team for an expert installation!

Call American Vintage Home today at (847) 999-4595 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation estimate for a heating installation today

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