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What is a Boiler?

What is a Boiler?

While the type of heat you have may be determined by your home already, if you are looking to change your heating mode or buy a new home, understanding the differences between a furnace and boiler, is important.

When it comes to heating your Western New York home, the two main options are a furnace or a boiler. While the type of heat you have may be determined by your home already, if you are looking to change your heating mode or buy a new home, understanding the differences between a furnace and boiler, is important. Before you can get a grasp on what option is right for you, you likely need to answer the question of, “What is a boiler?”

What is a boiler?

Most people are familiar with furnaces; however, boilers, another type of heating mechanism, are often less understood. A boiler is a type of heating unit for the home that heats up water, turns it into steam, and pushes it throughout the Western New York house to create warmth.

Boilers are similar to water heaters in that they heat water using gas or electricity. With a boiler, the water stays in a closed loop. The water is sent through lines to radiators throughout the home.

As the water moves through the radiator, its heat energy is released into that room’s air, heating the room. The cooled water is then circulated back to the boiler, where it’s reheated, and the cycle repeats itself until your home reaches the desired temperature and comfort level.

Differences in a boiler and furnace

Now that we have answered “What is a boiler?” it’s important for us to review the differences between boilers and furnaces. Let’s review:

Heat Creation:

Boiler: Boilers warm up your home by creating heat via water and steam. Boilers generate warm air through the heated water in a tank.
Furnace: A furnace uses air to blow warmer temperatures throughout the home. Furnaces can be gas or electric and are forced-air systems. They combust fuel or electrically generate heat to heat up air.

Heat Disbursement:

Boiler: With a boiler, heated water is circulated through pipes to different end points located inside the home. These end points are typically baseboard heaters or radiators. This is known as radiant heating. The heat is then moved through the end points into the home’s living space by increasing the surface temperature so that it warms the nearby area.
Furnace: A furnace circulates the heated hair through ductwork into the living spaces of your Western New York home. The heated air is circulated inside the house through the ducts by blower fans.

Energy Efficiency:

Boiler: Boilers tend to be more energy efficient than furnaces. This means they use less energy to perform the same task as a furnace.
Furnace: With a furnace, there can be heat energy that escapes through ductwork, and other parts of the HVAC system, making their energy efficiency lower than boilers.

Cost:

– Boiler: Boilers tend to produce cleaner heat and entail lower repair and operating costs than furnaces.
Furnace: While boilers may have lower operating costs than furnaces, if your home isn’t set up for a boiler and radiant heating, you may find the cost of installation to be expensive, especially if you already have ductwork. If you have ductwork throughout your home, a new furnace installation will likely cost you less than setting up your home for a boiler.

Western New York Boiler Professionals

If your home relies on a boiler and radiant heating system for its winter comfort, call Duffett Plumbing, Heating & AC for your service and repair needs.

Our team specializes in boiler repairs. We also maintain and install radiant heating in Hamburg, NY and Erie County. Whether you’re remodeling your current home or building a new one, you should consider the benefits of radiant floor heating. To learn more about radiant heating and its benefits, call us for a free in-home estimate.