Boiler vs. Furnace

The terms “boiler” and “furnace” are often used interchangeably.  They both heat homes and both are large pieces of equipment usually found in a basement. Both boilers & furnaces can be powered by gas or oil. Both can be expensive to maintain and each stands an equal chance of malfunctioning in their lifetimes.

Tomato – tomahto, right? Not quite.

Differences between a boiler and a furnace

The main difference between these two types of heating equipment is simple. The answer is in the name. A boiler boils water to create heat. The steam heat cycles throughout the home through baseboard units or radiators. Other sources include radiant floors or radiant ceilings. A furnace heats air to create heat. The warm air is then forced throughout the home through a series of duct work and vents. Many homes that have furnaces also have central air conditioning that use the same duct work.

Advantages of a boiler heating system


Multi-zone boiler piping for Willimantic CT apartment building

In Eastern Connecticut, we experience some brutal winters. The air is extremely cold for months on end. The cold air is void of any moisture. Our skin is dried out and flaky; our hair suffers the same fate.  Our hands crack from the exposure of leaving our warm homes to the frigid outdoors. We also suffer from headaches and sinus infections from the dry air. Static electricity can fry our electronics. A boiler heating system can decrease the affects of these winter woes. Since the boiler uses water to create heat, the steam provides welcome relief to aching sinuses. Your cats and dogs will no longer suffer the surprising nose zaps either!

A boiler can also product better air quality than a furnace, in terms of dust creation. If you suffer from allergies, this will be a major advantage for you. Boiler heating systems last much longer than furnace heating systems. The typical lifespan of a boiler is 25-30 years, compared to the typical 10-15 year lifespan of a furnace.

Maintaining your boiler

We recommend having your boiler serviced every heating season. When we perform a system check on the equipment, we check safety features such as the relief valve, backflow preventer, tempering valve, etc. We don’t offer cleaning services or oil burner work. We suggest you form a relationship with your local oil delivery company for those services. If you haven’t scheduled your boiler service yet, don’t wait too much longer! The schedule is filling up faster, and the closer we get to the brutal cold temperatures, the chances of a service delay are higher. To schedule your boiler service, please call 860-228-1036.