What's the Difference between a Furnace, Water Heater, and Boiler? and Other Frequently Asked Questions about Boiler Installatio

2 November 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


Many homeowners are unaware of the differences between furnaces, hot water heaters, and boilers and are therefore unaware of the ways in which their home can benefit from a boiler installation. Knowing what a boiler installation is and how it can make a difference in your home can help you decide whether or not a boiler installation is right for you.

What's the difference between a furnace, water heater, and boiler?

Furnaces heat air and then force the warm air to all parts of the home through the air ducts. Homes that are heated by furnaces must also have hot water heaters to ensure that they have hot water for bathing and cooking.

A water heater is a tank that holds water, heats it up, and then sends it to other parts of the house when needed. Water heaters supply hot water to plumbing fixtures like the shower, bath tub, and sinks of the house. Though effective, water heaters are limited in their abilities.

A boiler heats water into steam, and the steam is sent through all parts of the house for various purposes. Boilers provide hot water to the plumbing fixtures in the home while also heating the various rooms of the home.

Is a boiler better than a water heater and furnace combination?

Boilers have many advantages that water heater and furnace combinations do not, including these:

  • Boilers perform more than one function in a household. Having a boiler means that a homeowner need only maintain one heating appliance in their home instead of multiple heating appliances (like a combination of a furnace and water heater). This is financially more efficient because it means that the homeowner need only maintain one appliance rather than two.
  • Boilers are low maintenance. Unlike furnaces, they have no filters to replace every few months.
  • Unlike forced air heating systems, which can produce a noisy whooshing noise when the furnace is functioning, boilers provide quiet radiant heat.
  • Furnaces are known to blow dust and pollen from the home's air ducts through the home. Boilers spread less dust and allergens around the home than furnaces.

Are there any disadvantages to owning a boiler?

While boilers do help you consolidate the systems in your home by combining your furnace and water heater into one appliance, you're still likely to need a separate appliance to cool the air in your home. In addition, boilers react less quickly to temperature changes than a furnace when you adjust the temperature on the thermostat.

If you're thinking about converting to a boiler from a furnace and water heater combination, contact a certified boiler installer and repair person, such as one from Boiler Services, Inc. He or she can talk to you about whether or not a boiler installation makes sense for your home.