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Serving Chesapeake and The Greater Hampton Roads Area

Serving Chesapeake and The Greater Hampton Roads Area

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Replacing My Heater: Boiler or Furnace?

couple-warm-and-cozyDon’t let the arrival of March in just a few short days fool you. There is still plenty of use for your home heating system in the weeks ahead. It can take a while to heat up substantially around here, and it is not uncommon for a warm stretch to come and go, only to let the chill right back in. With that in mind, you should definitely start thinking seriously about your heater in Chesapeake, VA, and its performance quality over the past few months. Once the weather warms up a bit, you may benefit from a heating replacement.

Back in October, we talked about a few of the reasons why you may want to schedule a heating replacement. These included the age of the system, its overall performance quality, and energy efficiency levels. Today, we’ll assume that you’ve decided to replace your heater already, and that you are on to the next big question: which system to choose. Let’s consider two of the most popular: the furnace and the boiler. 

What’s the Difference?

The main difference between furnaces and boilers is the method of heat distribution. Furnaces of any kind (gas/electric/LP) are forced air heating systems. This means that they heat air via the combustion of fuel or use of electrical resistance, and then distribute that heat throughout the house via a system of air ducts. The air is forced through these ducts with the use of the system’s fan.

A boiler, on the other hand, heats water instead of the air. Typically, a boiler will burn oil or natural gas in order to generate the heat for doing so. Natural gas has become something of a preferred fuel over the years, with oil-to-gas conversions growing in regularity. Regardless of the fuel used, the boiler will either heat a house via radiant heat, using a hydronic distribution system, or will deliver hot water or steam to terminal points such as baseboards or radiators.

Pros and Cons of Boilers and Furnaces

Like any other heating system, both boilers and furnaces have their pros and cons. We cannot tell you with certainty which system is best for you and your home—certainly not here without any background information to work with. We can tell you, however, that there is a system that is the perfect fit. You just have to weigh your options carefully, and consider your own personal user habits and preferences.

  • Furnaces are a very popular choice for a many reasons. They are cheaper to install than boilers, particularly in existing homes and certainly in those with existing ductwork. The furnace can share existing ductwork with an AC system, and the forced air method of heat distribution allows for the prompt heating of a space. You’ll also have to consider such potential problems as leaky ductwork and indoor air quality issues associated with forced air, though.
  • Boilers, on the other hand, are renowned for their efficiency, as there is no risk of air leaks in ductwork. They also won’t stir up pollutants in the house. In-floor hydronic heating in particular allows for the even and long-lasting heating of a home, and water is simply a better heat transfer medium than air. However, boilers are more expensive and more difficult to install in existing properties. If you have ductwork in place already, you may want to stick with a furnace.

Whatever you choose, be sure to schedule your heating replacement with House Call Company. Contact us and see how we can make you smile.

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