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The Differences Between Boilers and Furnaces – Hudson Valley HVAC

Although they both achieve the same objective – keeping your home warm in the winter – there are significant differences between boilers and furnaces that many homeowners might not be aware of. Believe it or not, many people don’t even know which type of heating system they have in their basement. Below are some of the differences between boilers and furnaces from Westchester HVAC.

What is a Boiler?

It’s easy to remember what a boiler is if you think about what their name implies: boiling water. In systems that are steam- or hot water-based, a boiler heats water up to a high temperature by burning heating oil or natural gas. This hot water or steam is then forced through a series of pipes and into baseboards or radiators located throughout your home. The radiators then begin to give off heat, warming up the air.

What is a Furnace?

Though they burn the same fuels as boilers, usually heating oil or natural gas, furnaces heat your home in a much different way than boilers. Instead of heating up water, furnaces heat up air, powering what is known as a “forced hot air system.” The air is heated inside the furnace, and then a blower or fan moves the heated air into ducts. These ducts, usually located in ceilings or walls, release the warm air into your home via openings along ceilings, baseboards and in walls, warming up the air in the separate rooms of your home.

Boiler or a Furnace?

When you’ve learned the differences between boilers and furnaces, it’s easy to figure out what type of heating system is in your home. Radiators or baseboards with hot water or steam running through them signify that you have a boiler. Ducts and vents that release warm air into your home indicate that you have a furnace. It’s that easy.

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