Boiler Vs. Furnace

Furnaces and boilers have both been used to heat homes across the nation for generations.

Heating Methods

Newer furances and boilers can heat a home efficiently.Newer furances and boilers can heat a home efficiently.
While older furnaces and boilers can be costly and inefficient, newer models and upgraded older versions of both types of heaters can provide significant energy cost savings.

Furnaces heat air and push the heated air through a duct system in a building. Boilers heat water and provide warmth to a home either through steam or through water traveling in pipes, as in a radiant floor system.

Energy Efficiency

New boilers and furnaces are comparable in terms of energy efficiency. All heating systems are rated by annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). This rating is determined by the percentage of heat created by the system in relation to the amount of energy used. Today's furnaces are between 78 and 96 percent AFUE. Boilers made after 1992 have at least 80 percent AFUE.

Size

Boilers usually take up less space, as the piping is smaller than furnace duct work. However, boiler pipes are constantly filled with water, which could freeze in extreme weather conditions.

About the Author

Emily Potter has written professionally since 1998. She has edited local magazines, such as "Family Living in Southeast Idaho," and worked as a reporter for the "Idaho State Journal." Potter has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Montana.