Heating Services In Richmond, B.C.

Boiler Vs. Furnace – What’s The Difference?


Knowing what kind of heater is essential for comfortable living in your homes. However, there are two kinds of heaters that almost all house owners are already aware of.

If you are new to these kinds of things, fear not since this article between a boiler and a furnace is for you.

Boiler And Furnace: Its Functions

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All homeowners will eventually come to a point where they would need to decide on whether they will get a boiler or a furnace for their house heater. Both of them have the same function; to warm the house. However, there are certain little things that you should know about a boiler and a furnace since they differ in generating heat for your house.


The two types of furnaces (Electric and Gas) are forced – air systems. They either combust fuel (gas) or generate heat (electricity) to warm the air which will then circulate into the house through air ducts. Forced – air systems would require a heat exchanger – a device used to heat the air. Electric furnaces differ from gas furnaces as elements needed to warm air are present, while gas-powered furnaces have burners that heat a surface that the air blows across.


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As the name suggests, boilers require heating of water in order to generate heat. They do not need air ducts to circulate heat however, they use pipes that lead to different endpoints in your house which are generally baseboard heaters or some type of radiator. This process of heating is commonly known as “Radiant Heating” or “Hyrdonic Heating”.


A furnace will have an immediate effect on heating your house compared to a boiler. This is because a boiler will take more time in generating heat since water needs to be heated and then circulated. However, boilers are more versatile and can be used to heat a hot water tank, your floors, walls, or ceilings or a number of other surfaces. You can even use a boiler to heat your driveway in a snow melt system. Boilers usually consume less fuel, therefore you will see lower energy bills.

Although furnaces are cheaper to install and maintain, they usually come with higher energy costs and you are limited to one thermostat per furnace which can make it difficult if you prefer one room at a different temperature than another.

Boilers are not limited to any amount of thermostats so you can place one in every room of your house and control the temperature of each room independently. But because of the complexity of a hydronic heating system there is higher costs of install and maintenance. 

At the end of the day each kind of heater has its own pros and cons but the key difference between a furnace and a boiler is that furnaces heat air for forced-air heating while boilers heat water for radiant heating.

If you’re having trouble deciding on what to use, you may call Shaul’s at 778-397-4850 or schedule an appointment with us through our website.