Do I have a furnace or a boiler?

There are two main types of heating systems that could be installed in your home. Chances are, you have either a furnace (gas or electric) or a boiler, which utilizes heated water. Which do you have, how do they work, and what are the benefits of each? Let’s find out.

What is a furnace?

A furnace is a central heating system that is powered either by natural gas or electricity. In Northern Illinois and Chicagoland, gas furnaces are the most common. Both gas and electric furnaces are forced-air systems. Forced-air HVAC systems first heat the air through a device known as a heat exchanger. Then, the heated air is circulated inside your home through the main ducts by a blower motor. Finally, the heated air exits the ducts through the vents located in most rooms of your house, keeping you warm and comfortable.

Gas furnaces have many benefits when it comes to heating your home:

  • Easier to upgrade and install than a boiler system
  • Cost-efficient and simple to maintain
  • Since furnaces use a forced-air system, there is no danger of frozen pipes.
  • Similarly, there is no danger of leaking or burst pipes.

What is a boiler?

In comparison, a boiler heats your home utilizing a water tank. This is unlike a furnace, which utilizes forced air. instead, the heated water is circulated through pipes to different locations in your home. This heated water then makes its way to baseboard heaters or radiators, which in turn heats the inside of the house.

Boilers are more common in older homes that do not have or cannot support a forced-air system. Like furnace-based heating systems, they do have some unique benefits:

  • Less impact on air quality (no moving air or blower) and may not require regular duct cleaning
  • Can be very cost-efficient, with no issues of leaked heat or air from vents
  • Potentially quieter, as a boiler is not a forced-air system (no noise from moving air or vents)
  • Won’t dry out the air as much as a furnace would

Do I have a furnace or a boiler?

If you’re wondering which type of system you have — it’s generally quite simple to determine. If you have heating panels or radiators throughout your home, then you likely have a boiler system. If you have vents or dampers that blow heated air when your heating system turns on, you likely have a furnace system. However, if you’re unsure, our technicians will be happy to help.

I need service on my furnace or boiler, help!

No worries, the pro technicians at Absolute Comfort are here. Call us at 815-893-9276, 24 hours a day, to schedule your heating repair. We also have maintenance plans that can help you save money and keep your heating equipment running smoothly for years to come.

We service Crystal Lake and the surrounding area and we look forward to meeting you.