The P. Gagnon & Son Blog

Furnaces And Boilers: What’s The Difference?

Find Out More About Your Home’s Heating System!

heating systems maineOften, when you hear people talking about their home’s heating system, they usually call it “the furnace.” It’s a catch-all phrase commonly applied to all heating systems.

They may not have a furnace at all. They may have a boiler.

Knowing which one you have is important, so you can learn how to properly use it so you maximize its efficiency and thus minimize your heating costs.

Remember, whether you have a furnace or a boiler, an annual maintenance tune-up by a professional service technician like those at P. Gagnon & Son are needed to keep it running properly and efficiently.

How Does A Boiler Work?

Boilers use heated water to heat your home and work two ways.

Steam boilers distribute steam through pipes to radiators. Hot water boilers sent hot water through baseboard radiators, under-floor radiant floor systems, or a coil that heats air.

Boilers provide several advantages.

  • Boilers give off even, strong, comfortable, long-lasting heating that isn’t drying.
  • Boilers last longer than furnaces, on average between 15 and 20 years.
  • Because boilers are closed systems, they can have outstanding energy efficiency.

However, boilers are a more complex heating system than furnaces, so they are more expensive to install.

How Does A Furnace Work?

A furnace heats air and circulates it around your home to keep it warm.

The return brings air into the furnace, where it is heated. The blower sends the heated air into the ductwork, which circulates it around your home through vents.

Furnaces are the most popular kind of heating system for several reasons.

  • Furnaces have a lower overall cost of ownership compared with boilers because they are less expensive to purchase, install, repair, and maintain.
  • Furnaces are a simple, straightforward system and can be installed in less than a day.
  • Furnaces get your home warm fast, and to higher temperatures than a boiler.
  • Because furnaces come with ductwork, it is easy to install central air conditioning.

On the flip side, because the heat from a furnace is only coming into rooms through the vents, the heat may not be distributed evenly, leading to there being cold spots in spaces.

There are ways to help your furnace work more efficiently.

A clean air filter is essential to protecting your furnace and keeping it running at its best possible efficiency. Check your air filter every month and change as needed.

Furniture, curtains, and other objects close to vents can impede the heated air from circulating around a room, making your furnace work harder and driving up energy costs. Go around your home and move those obstructions so the heated air from the vents can circulate freely.

Trust P. Gagnon & Son for quality installation, maintenance, and repair of your furnace or boiler. Contact us today to schedule a service!