Why do I Need a Boiler or Furnace?
A boiler and furnace (which by the way are two different types of systems) are responsible for heating homes. In fact, boilers and furnaces are the most popular systems Americans choose to heat their homes. The initial installation costs and maintenance costs vary depending on the system, so it is important to do some research before committing to a system.
Differences Between a Boiler and Furnace?
The primary difference between a furnace and a boiler is how they operate. A furnace heats air; and then a built-in blower pushes that air through the duct system of the home. A boiler, however, heats water, which then circulates through the home’s pipe system. The flowing water generates heat, which flows through a home’s baseboard heaters or radiators. An easy way to remember this is that water boils, hence the name, boiler.
Another difference between the two systems is that each requires a different type of maintenance. A furnace has air filters that must be changed and/or cleaned on a monthly or quarterly schedule, depending on the type of furnace. A boiler system, on the other hand, requires “bleeding” of the excess air. If a room appears to be improperly heated, it is usually a sign that maintenance is required.
Furnaces run on propane, natural gas or electricity. The most common type of fuel to run a boiler system is oil and natural gas.
There are pros and cons to each type of system. A benefit to having a boiler system in your home is that you have the option of heating various sections of the house while not having to heat an entire floor or the entire house. This allows you to save on utility bills. One downside to boiler systems is that they tend to raise the home’s humidity levels. One way to deal with the excess humidity is to run dehumidifiers in certain areas of the home. Another option is to have a specific, separate dehumidifier attached directly to the system.
Which System to Choose?
If you are building a new home or installing a new system in an existing home, there are certain things to consider – and you should start by talking to your designer and/or architect. Depending on their recommendations, you should next speak with a qualified, licensed HVAC technician. Oversizing your system may be unnecessary and cost you extra expense.
Choosing the Right Company to Install or Service your Heating System
The general rule of thumb is that a heating system is not one area of home ownership to cheap out on. Quality is better. Experience is better. Even local is better. So, word of mouth, online reviews, and recommendations from your designers are the best places to start.