Boilers Vs. Furnaces: What’s the Difference?

There are many important decisions that you will have to make when it comes to heating your home, and one of the most important is deciding whether to install a boiler or furnace. Both of these appliances have their own unique benefits, so it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. In this blog post, we will discuss the difference between boilers and furnaces and help you decide which one is best for your home!

Boilers and Furnaces: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Here’s a look at the differences between boilers and furnaces to help you decide which one is right for you.


In a home, a boiler is responsible for providing hot water and heat. This system uses either natural gas or oil to heat water, which is then distributed throughout the house in pipes. The boiler also provides hot water for household appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines.

In most cases, the residential boiler is connected to the ductwork, which allows it to provide forced air heating as well. While boilers are typically more expensive to install than other types of heating systems, they are generally more efficient and require less maintenance.

As a result, boilers are often the preferred choice for homeowners who are looking for a reliable and low-maintenance heating solution.

Advantages of Boilers:

  • Boilers can provide more even and consistent heating than furnaces.
  • Boilers make little to no noise, unlike a forced air system which you can hear kicking on from another room.
  • Boilers can heat your home using radiant heat, which can be more comfortable than forced air from a furnace.
  • Boilers can heat your home using hot water, which is more efficient than heating air with a furnace.
  • Because boilers don’t force air through ducts, they don’t spread or distribute dust or allergies that may build up inside ducts.

Disadvantages of Boilers:

  • Boilers can be more expensive to install than furnaces.
  • Boilers require regular maintenance to keep them running efficiently.
  • Boilers store water, and a leaky tank or burst pipe could result in quite a mess with extensive damage.
  • Although it’s not common, water can freeze, and pipes can burst if the temperature drops too low when there is a prolonged power outage.


In a home, the furnace is the central unit that produces heat. The furnace heats up air and then uses a blower to circulate the warmed air through ductwork around the house. A furnace usually runs on either natural gas or oil.

The cooled air is returned back to the furnace through return ducts and then is reheated and circulated again.

Some furnaces also have a built-in humidifier, which adds moisture to the air during the winter when indoor air can get very dry.

Furnaces typically last about 15-20 years before they need to be replaced. Homeowners should have their furnaces serviced annually by a professional to ensure that it is running efficiently and to catch any potential problems before they become serious.

Advantages of Furnaces:

  • Furnaces are less expensive to install than boilers.
  • Furnaces heat evenly and quickly, while boilers heat unevenly and slowly.
  • Furnaces are easier to repair than boilers.
  • Furnaces require less maintenance than boilers.

Disadvantages of Furnaces:

  • Furnaces can be loud when they turn on, especially if they’re located in a living area of your home.
  • Furnaces can spread dust and other allergens through your home if the ducts and vents in your home are not properly cleaned.
  • Furnaces can be less efficient than boilers, especially if they’re not properly maintained.

Comparing Boilers and Furnaces

Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of boilers and furnaces, you can decide which is right for your home. Here’s a quick comparison:

Comparison Boiler Furnaces
Comfort Radiant heating, requires a separate cooling system Forced air heating, often combined with central air
Cost Usually more expensive up front Usually less expensive upfront
Energy Efficiency Up to 95% AFUE Up to 98.5% AFUE
Fuel Source Natural gas, fuel oil, propane, electricity, wood pellets Natural gas, propane, oil, electricity
Radiators Anywhere heat is desired No heat is desired
Water or Steam Piping Yes No
Air Quality Doesn’t circulate airborne pollutants Circulates airborne pollutants through an air filter

differences between boilers and furnaces

Which One Is the Right Choice for Your Home: Boiler or Furnace?

There are several things that can affect the answer to this question, such as where you live and what kind of fuel is available nearby. Additionally, it also depends on your individual preferences.

If you live in a cold climate and have natural gas access, a furnace is probably the best option. Furnaces are less expensive to install than boilers, and they heat up quickly.

A boiler is probably the best option if you live in a warm climate or have access to propane or oil. Boilers are more expensive to install than furnaces, but they provide more even and consistent heating. Boilers can also provide hot water for your home.

Ultimately, deciding whether to install a boiler or a furnace in your home is up to you. You can always consult an expert from MDM Mechanical for help making the decision.

Also Read: Boilers Vs Water Heaters: How Do They Differ?

Contact MDM Mechanical for Boiler and Furnace Installation Services

Whether you need furnace or boiler installation services, the experts at MDM Mechanical are here to help. We provide comprehensive installation services for all types of boiler and furnace systems. We’ll work with you to choose the right system for your home and budget, and we’ll install it properly so you can enjoy years of efficient, reliable heating. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation.

About Michael Mead

Michael Mead was born and raised in London, Ontario. He spent 5 years in Calgary, Alberta – and furthered his education in Natural Gas. If Michael isn’t working, he is at home with his son and wife or cooking for a large group of family and friends. Michael is extremely passionate about his business, and is constantly looking for ways to better himself as an employer.

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