Furnaces and boilers present an interesting contrast in features, comfort and value. When considering the purchase of a central heating appliance, it is worthwhile to explore the competitive advantages of each system.
Boiler vs. Furnace – Two Very Different Technologies
The furnace heating process begins with the ignition of either fuel oil or gas. The burning fuel heats a stainless steel gas-to-air heat exchanger, and a blower draws air across the surface. The resulting warm air is pushed through the ductwork into the building.
Boilers also use a heat exchanger to transfer warmth, but water is the medium used for distribution. Pre-installed piping carries heated water to the various indoor sub-domains, and its energy is released through radiators, convectors or baseboard grilles. Complete radiant systems use piping embedded in the floors or ceilings for even better heat diffusion.
Boiler vs. Furnace – Advantages and Disadvantages of Each
Heat generated by a hydronic system is preferred by most consumers. Radiant heat disperses evenly throughout the building, which eliminates drafts and cold spots. Since there is no blower in the system, allergens are not repeatedly dispersed throughout the living area. Boilers are also virtually silent, which eliminates the noise typically associated with mechanical operation and air movement.
Furnaces are considerably less expensive to purchase and install when compared to radiant systems. Existing ductwork can be used for central air conditioning or humidification, which can lower the cost of a complete heating and cooling system. Maintenance and repair expenses are also usually less expensive, especially if there is a leak in the piping of a radiant heating grid.
For customers in Baltimore, MD who are interested in learning more about forced-air and hydronic heat, Griffith Energy Services offers a complete line of furnaces, boilers and other heating appliances.
Written by Kevin Spain