Boilers VS Furnaces – What to Know

Do you know what kind of heating system your home has? Is it a boiler (also known as a radiant heater) or a furnace? Believe it or not, some people don’t know what type of heating system they have in their home. Fortunately, Albuquerque Plumbing Heating & Cooling can help explain the differences between the two. Additionally, we also provide professional service, repair, and replacement services for both boilers and furnaces!

What’s the Difference Between Boilers and Furnaces?

What is a boiler? It’s a type of heating system that circulates hot water under the floors in your home. In fact, you can even feel the heat come up from your floors. The water is circulated through coils under the floor in loops, which are generally made of a material called PEX (Cross-Linked Polyethylene plastic). Boilers also heat by passing hot water through baseboard registers and radiators.

Due to the area-specific nature of boiler-based heating systems, you may hear someone say that one or more of the “zones” aren’t heating properly. Heating “zones” refer to the number of areas (often broken into different rooms) in a given home that are heated by the boiler.

Furnaces, however, are more common. They can be either gas or electric, and they push heated air through the ducts in your home. They’re designed to warm the air to heat the house.

Perks & Disadvantages of Boilers

Many people like boilers because they can walk around their homes with bare feet and their toes don’t get cold. In addition to warmer feet in the morning, boilers are energy-efficient. The water used in boiler systems recirculates, and they provide much more even heat than their forced-air counterparts. If you’re someone who has super dry skin in the winter months, then a boiler might be the best choice for you. Some customers claim that boilers don’t make their skin as dry as a furnace does. The reason? Furnaces use burners to heat air and then force said heated air throughout your home. That process sucks the moisture from the air, and consequently from your skin as well. Since boilers don’t heat the air as a furnace does, your skin stays a little softer and moisturized.

The downside to boilers? Just like any plumbing fixture in your house that has running water, the coils to a boiler can leak under the floors in your home, and there’s a chance that a leak location could be necessary. This could lead to the technicians having to break up the concrete floor to perform the repairs.

Boilers are expensive to install, and they’re also more costly to repair. If a technician must purge the entire system, this can be costly and can take a substantial amount of time. The labor on a boiler can be expensive, and not many people know how to work on them. Furthermore, you will want to stay away from a programmable thermostat for a boiler. Thermostats are great for adjusting the temperature to fit your needs with forced-air heating systems. However, they’re not an excellent fit for a boiler due to the steady heat that they emit.

Perks & Disadvantages of Furnaces

Most people are familiar with furnaces. When they kick on, the warm air comes out right away, and you can start to feel the warmth shortly after. If you need furnace services, repairs and labor are cheaper and take less time than boiler-based systems. If you’re interested in adding a humidifier, air cleaners, or even UV light purifiers to your furnace, it can be done. Another plus? It’s cheaper to install a furnace than a boiler.

Now that you’ve heard the financial perks to a furnace, you’re probably wondering what could be so bad about them? Furnaces not only put warm air through the ducts, but they also push spores, bacteria, viruses, and dust into the air. Pretty gross, right? Additionally, they tend to have poor air quality distribution through the home and require ductwork throughout the house.

On top of that, furnaces require more maintenance. They’re more likely to have a carbon monoxide leak than a boiler, they use more energy than a boiler, and they have more moving parts than a boiler.

For Boilers or Furnaces, Albuquerque Plumbing Heating & Cooling is Always the Company to Call

Here at Albuquerque Plumbing Heating & Cooling, we pride ourselves on being the go-to company for all things furnaces and boilers. Whether you need maintenance or service, the professionals at ABQ Plumbing can help you and your family stay warm from your head to your toes this season. So, what are you waiting for? Contact us for help with your boilers and furnaces today!

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