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Boilers vs. Furnaces: Which Is Better?

When you are considering the new heating system options for a home, you have many different choices available. One of the big divides is between a furnace, which is a forced-air system, and a boiler, which is a radiant heating system. The type you choose will have a major effect on the house itself, since a furnace uses a ventilation network to distribute heat, and a boiler uses water pipes.

Which type should you choose? Many factors go into making this decision. For example, a home that already has ducts should go with a furnace. Below are some general guidelines on the pros and cons of the two heaters.

Boilers

  • Pro: Boilers have long service lives and can outlast most other types of heaters. They have minor maintenance needs and run into few repair issues. The radiant heat from boilers spreads evenly through rooms, and it doesn’t blow around dust from vents.
  • Con: Boilers can sometimes freeze during the winter. There’s a possibility of water damage if a boiler starts to leak. Boilers require extensive retro-fitting for homes that have only relied on forced-air systems before.

Furnaces

  • Pro: Extremely flexible heating systems, furnaces can fit almost any home. Gas furnaces can produce a high level of heat that is capable of overcoming the coldest day, or even a drafty old house. They are easy to install for homes with existing ductwork for an air conditioner.
  • Con: Less energy efficient than boilers, and therefore more costly to run than boilers—even natural gas units. They have shorter lifespans and may need more repairs. They require space-consuming vents.

The way to make the best decision when it comes to new home heating is to contact professionals. You can rely on our heating experts to determine what type of heater is the best match for your new home—and then we’ll install it, whether it’s a furnace, boiler, or some other kind of heating system.

Bob Mims Heating & Air Conditioning: Serving the heating and cooling needs of Staten Island, NY since 1955.

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