The P. Gagnon & Son Blog

How Do Boilers and Furnaces Work?

Boiler and furnace

Posted: November 29, 2016

If you know how your home heating system works, it can help you understand how to keep it running well – and to know what kind of maintenance and repairs each is likely to need during its lifetime.

Here’s a quick primer about the difference between a boiler and a furnace.

How a boiler works

A hydronic (hot water) system uses a circulator to distribute water through your boiler’s combustion chamber, then through pipes to heat baseboards or radiators throughout your home. The water is then recycled back to the boiler for re-use.

Steam systems work similarly except they generate steam rather than hot water, which rises up to radiators without the help of a circulator. The system automatically shuts off if the boiler’s water level drop low enough to cause damage to the system.

How a furnace works

A furnace is the heating component in a forced air system.

Powered by propane or heating oil, the furnace heats air, then uses a blower to distribute the warmed air through a duct system to “registers” (vents) located throughout the house (this duct system also provides a channel for central air conditioner, air filtration systems, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, and more.

Just like your car, your boilers or furnace requires regular maintenance to keep it operating at its best.

Contact PGagnon & Son today to sign up for a high-value Service Plan for your heating oil or propane system — or to get a FREE estimate on a new, high efficiency model for your Southern Maine or New Hampshire home!