Boilers Vs. Furnaces: What’s The Difference?

boilers and furnaces new yorkIf you ask many people what kind of home heating equipment they have, they’ll say “a furnace,” not realizing that what they actually have is a boiler. The difference between the two systems is significant when it comes to troubleshooting a problem or shopping for a replacement.

So what are the key differences between these two styles of heating system? Let’s take a look.

Boiler 101

A boiler is the key heating component in a hydronic (hot water) system; if you have radiators or baseboard heating, you have a boiler.

In a hydronic system, water is distributed via a circulator through your boiler’s combustion chamber, then through a series of pipes to heat baseboards or radiators throughout your home. The water is eventually recycled back to the boiler to be used again. A boiler can also be used in a steam-based system, which works similarly to a hydronic system except that it forces steam rather than hot water through pipes (no circulators are needed). In both systems, an automatic cut-off shuts down the boiler if water levels drop too low to prevent damage.

Furnace 101

A furnace is the core of a forced air system. (If you have vents and ducts, you have a forced air system). Typically powered by heating oil or gas, the furnace first heats a volume of air; a blower then distributes the heated air through a duct system where it is released through vents or registers on floors, walls or ceilings.

Besides heat, the ductwork that connects your furnace to your living space can also provide a channel for cool air (via a central air conditioner). Ductwork can also distribute water vapor (with the help of a whole house humidifier) and can clean the air in your home if paired with a whole house air purifier or air cleaner.

Maintain your heating equipment – and replace it when it’s past its prime

Whether you have a oil furnace or a oil boiler, your heating system needs regular annual maintenance from a heating expert to keep it operating at its best. If you haven’t scheduled heating service yet, contact us today before the cold weather really hits us here in eastern Long Island!

If your heating system is more than 15 years old and starting to show its age, it could be time to upgrade: an older system could be running at 60 percent of its original capacity, potentially costing you hundreds of dollars a year in fuel (not to mention nights of sleep not knowing if your equipment will quit on you).

Now is a great time to replace your old oil-fired furnace or boiler, with specials that could save you $300 on a Peerless boiler or $200 on a Thermo Pride furnace!

Contact Burt’s Reliable today to learn more, or to sign up for annual heating service in the North Fork or East End of Long Island!