Which Heating Option is Right for You: Furnace or Boiler?The most common kind of home heating system is a natural gas furnace, but there are other heating options as well. You can choose from electric or oil heaters or go with a radiant heating system whose core is a boiler that produces steam or hot water that heats a home. Both furnaces and boilers keep homes warm, but the similarities end there.

Difference in Heating Options

Boilers supply radiant heat. They heat water that’s pumped through a network of pipes that run through floors or into radiators. As the water travels through them, the heat dissipates into your home’s air, surfaces and furniture. If you don’t want a room you don’t use heated, simply turning off the heat for that space.

A forced-air furnace contains a burner that creates a lot of heat when the fuel burns. When air blows over the heat exchanger inside the furnace, it heats quickly. The air passes through the ductwork and warms your home. Unlike the radiant-style heating, forced-air doesn’t penetrate surfaces quickly, which means the furnace will turn on and off frequently.

Choosing the Best Heating Option for Your Home

Which of these heating options makes sense for your home depends on how much you would benefit from the key features of each type of system. For example, it makes sense to install a boiler when you’re:

  • Remodeling.
  • Installing new flooring.
  • Building a new home.
  • Fighting persistent allergies or asthma.
  • Don’t deal well with dry indoor air.
  • Bothered by noise.

It makes sense to install a forced-air furnace when you:

  • Need a heating system quickly.
  • Have a tight budget.
  • Have insulated and airtight ductwork for air conditioning.

Boilers tend to last longer than furnaces with proper maintenance. A furnace lasts from 16 to 20 years, while boilers last 30 years and longer. They don’t use air filters and have fewer parts. They tend to be more energy efficient than forced-air furnaces because they don’t have the thermal or air losses from ductwork.

The best approach to assessing your heating options is to talk with a pro from Detmer and Sons, providing HVAC services for Dayton-area homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Dayton, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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