What are the differences between furnaces and boilers?

Twin Cities Heating and Air HVAC Minneapolis MN commercial photographer July202C2016 007 - Twin City Heating, Air & Electric

Both systems are used for heating your home but they do so in different ways. The biggest difference is that furnaces heat your home using air and boilers do so using water. After heating the air in your home, the blower fan in the furnace will push the air throughout your house through a series of vents and ducts. Return ducts on the floor cycle the cooler air out of the rooms back to the furnace to be heated once again. Because it uses air, having a furnace to heat your home can cause drafts in the air. Air movement blowing around is great in the Minneapolis summer for cooling things down, but not as effective in the winter with heating, though they still get the job done.



For more consistent heating providing steady warmth a boiler can be more effective. Hot water boilers distribute heat to your home through a series of pipes and tubes. The pipes can be under floors or lead to radiators. The heated water warms the pipes and then disperses into the air and a consistent rate. Boilers, also known as hydronic heat systems, will not spread dust particles, other allergens , or create drafts in your home. Boilers can run on gas, oil, electricity and even some alternative fuels sources.


When it comes to maintenance of furnaces and boiler, there are some differences as well. With a furnace, you want to make sure that the air going into it is as clean as possible. To ensure that, you want to make sure that you are changing the air filter in your furnace roughly every three months. You should be checking the filter monthly and changing as necessary, as sometimes it can be required earlier on or sometimes later. You also want to make sure the return ducts leading back to the furnace are clean and clear of debris. Make sure to get your annual inspection/tune up as well. That way the technicians can catch any problems before they become expensive replacements. Boilers don’t have air flow that needs to be clean but they do require yearly check ups and usually maintenance. Making sure they are working well before any problems arise. Many boilers can run for multiple years before they need serious service if they are checked and properly maintained.

When it comes to whether a boiler or a furnace is right for you, it all depends on your individual home and your budget. It also depends on the kind of comfort you are looking for and the environment around your home. The best thing to do when considering is to get a recommendation for a heating and ventilation professional. Schedule your free estimate or get a free second opinion from Twin City Heating Air and Electric.