Comparing Boilers & Furnaces

Most modern homes are heated using central furnaces. While they certainly are the most common method of heating for residential properties, they are not the only option. To many, boilers might seem like an old-fashioned choice, but they can still be very energy efficient and effective. This article explains the main differences between furnaces and boilers, and why you might want to opt for a boiler.

How Boilers and Furnaces Work

To put it simply, a furnace heats a home by heating the actual air, and then blowing that air into the rooms. This forced air can very effectively heat a home, but it necessitates a large duct system. A duct system obvious looks best when it is hidden within the walls. This lends itself well to most modern homes that are built with drywall and 2x4s. That is, the gaps within the walls can contain the duct system.

However, boilers used to be a more popular choice, partly because there was less room within the walls to house the such wide ducts. A boiler system heats water that has been circulated throughout pipes set with in the floorboard, walls, and ceiling. These heated pipes then radiate heat into the rooms. The pipes are much skinnier than air ducts. Many people also love the fact the boilers don't blow air or create any sort of draft.

There will also be radiators mounted on the walls that you can adjust. So, where a furnace system blows hot air into your rooms, a boiler radiates it through your walls. A boiler system works great, especially in homes without cavities in the wall. So, if your walls are made out of solid brick, boilers can be a great heating option.

Boilers are Still Energy Efficient

While many people see boilers as an old-fashioned heating choice, this is not necessarily true. Modern boilers can heat large and small homes very efficiently, using the most sustainable natural gases, and minimizing electricity consumption. Boilers are usually smaller than furnaces. For instance, boilers are common in large buildings that are divided into small apartments. Each apartment has its own small boiler.

Boilers, just like furnaces, are rated according to the percentage at which they convert fuel to electricity. This rating, annualized fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), should be over 90% on modern furnaces. Obviously, the bigger your boiler is, the greater its heating potential will be and the more expensive it will be to heat your home.

To learn more about boilers and furnaces, contact companies such as Comfort Solutions Inc.