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Boilers vs. Furnaces: The Great Debate

boiler-residentialThe fall is the most popular period for replacing old heating systems or arranging for a new heating installation. People are usually thinking hard about the coming winter, and the weather is still warm enough that they can go without heat for the short period necessary to have the new heating system installation done.

There are many types of residential heaters, but there tend to be two major ones that people find themselves deciding between: the furnace and the boiler. These are the most common types of residential (and commercial) heating systems. They work in different fashions, and both have their own advantages. Let’s take a look at these advantages to help you get a better sense of the continual debate: “Install a furnace or a boiler?”

Why Install a Furnace?

Furnaces are found in more homes than any other type of heater. There are a number of reasons for this, but probably the biggest one is that furnaces—particularly gas furnaces—have tremendous heating output. Furnaces are also flexible: there’s a furnace for pretty much any type of home (provided it has space for ducts) and they are easy to combine with a central AC for a complete heating and cooling system. Furnaces come in many sizes and can work with a variety of energy sources. They also are less expensive to install than boilers.

Why Install a Boiler?

A boiler is a good option for homes that don’t use a ventilation system. These homes usually lack a central AC and instead rely on window units. Boilers don’t require a ventilation system because they don’t heat up air and move it around via ducts. Instead, they heat up water and then send the water through pipes to various terminal points, such as baseboard heaters and radiators. These points turn hot, and heat radiates into the space from them.

Boilers use less energy than furnaces because water is a better heat transference medium than air. Less energy is lost when the boiler is running and spaces are heated up faster. Boilers also help to lower the amount of dust and debris moving around a house because they don’t use ducts—and ducts collect large amounts of airborne contaminants.

So what’s the right choice?

If you already have a ventilation system and previously used a furnace, it’s probably best to stay with a furnace and continue to use the ductwork. For a new house, you may wish to consider going with a boiler to enjoy energy savings and improved air quality. However, the best choice is something that needs a professional to help you with. There’s no simple answer, and every home has different needs.

If you are looking for services for HVAC in Highland, MI, including installation of a new furnace or boiler, you only need to contact us. We work with natural gas and electric furnaces as well as hot water boilers and steam boilers. Along with installation and replacement for both types of systems, we also offer repairs and maintenance. (Remember, if you haven’t arranged for heating maintenance yet, now is the time!)

If Your Home Had a Voice, It Would Call First Choice! First Choice Heating & Cooling serves Fenton, Linden, Holly, and the surrounding areas.

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