To many people, these words are interchangeable. Homeowners believe one is the same as the next and all serve the same purpose. However, these are in fact three very different items. While each do have certain things in common, what they do and how they do it varies greatly. Let’s take a look at each one individually to give you a better idea about all of them. The more homeowners understand about all their homes appliances the better. General knowledge can help identify potential problems, communicate with technicians, and take better care of their homes.
With the exact purpose of the appliance in the name, water heaters do simply that. Unlike a furnace, water heaters do not provide heat to the home. They simply heat an amount of potable water for use in the home. When you take a hot shower, your water heater provides the hot water. When your dishwasher runs, a water heater helps to clean those dishes. There are two different types of water heaters. There are tank systems and tankless water heaters.
A water heater with a tank heats and maintains that container of water at a set temperature and can use either gas or electricity to do so. It is dispensed for use via pipes that run throughout your home. When you turn on your faucet, the water heater releases a certain amount of heated water. The more you turn your faucet on, the less cold water is mixed in. One brand we are proud to carry and service water heaters from A.O. Smith, a leading manufacturer of commercial and residential water heaters. We carry other products as well, so give us a call today to determine which one is best for you.
A tankless water heater, on the other hand, only heats water on-demand. When you turn on your tap, the tankless water heater heats up the water. It will continue to heat and supply hot water until the tap is shut off. We carry a range of tankless water heaters by Rinnai, the #1 selling tankless water heater brand in North America.
Regardless of which type of water heater you have, this system will not heat your home in the winter. They simply serve to provide you with hot water.
A boiler also heats water. However, this heated water is not intended for your personal use. This water is heated to the point that it becomes steam. This steam then essentially pushes heat throughout your home with the objective of raising the temperature in each room. A boiler is what is known as radiant heating. It does not use ductwork, but rather pipes instead. These pipes lead to another item such as base board heaters or radiators located in each room.
Boilers can be powered with gas or electricity. Natural gas boilers are supplied with their fuel from either a set of pipes connected to a main gas pipeline or occasionally from a large propane tank installed on the property when pipelines are unavailable. Electric boilers are very efficient and are popular due to the fact that they do not require the use of fossil fuels to run. Not only is this more environmentally friendly, but it also opens up many rural users who do not have access to a gas pipeline. The biggest downside to this type of boiler is that if you have no electricity, you have no heat. Electricity can also be more expensive than gas or oil as well.
A furnace is a forced hot air system. In order to raise the temperature of a room, the furnace uses a fuel source to heat up the air and then distributes that hot air through a system of ducts throughout your home. Your furnace is powered on by your thermostat. As the air inside your home cools, the thermostat detects the drop in temperature. When it hits a set degree, the furnace clicks on and begins heating the air. The motor and fans then begin to force that hot air through your ductwork and all through your home.
Which is Best for Your Home
A lot of this decision is based on cost. Homeowners need to take into account the up-front installation costs as well as the cost to run each of these systems. The function of each is important too. The style of home, monthly budget, and personal preferences, all influence the decision between a forced hot air system with a furnace or a radiant heating system with a boiler. Some people find a forced hot air system uncomfortable due to the fact that there is a certain amount of a breeze associated with this type of home heating system. Even though the air is warm, the movement of the air can create a draft which some find annoying. However, during the summer months, the slight breeze can help your home feel more comfortable.
This ability to effectively heat and cool is one major difference between a furnace and a boiler. A boiler cannot cool your home. So, even if you choose to use a boiler system for heating your home, you will still need to install ductwork for a cooling system if necessary.
The best way to decide on what is best for your home is contact us. We can answer any questions you have on the function, cost, and repair of both furnaces and boilers. Our Sea Girt furnace repair and Toms River boiler repair technicians are factory trained and certified. If you need HVAC repair in Ocean County, give TRHAC a call!