If your only concern is whether your home is being heated or not—and whether the monthly energy bill is staying at a reasonable rate—you may not have given much thought to how your heating system works. But even if you’re already satisfied with the system inside your home, it won’t hurt to know how furnaces and boilers work. And when it comes time to replace your current heating system in Salt Lake City, UT, you might find that one is more suited for your needs than the other. In this post, we’ll break down some differences between the two to help you decide.
Furnaces generate hot air through electricity, natural gas, propane, or oil. A fan—known as a blower—blows that hot air through your home via a system of vents, known as the ducts. Since these heaters are generally less expensive, they’re more commonly found in areas with only moderate cold in the winter.
Boilers use natural gas, oil, electricity, or wood to heat water. That warm water is then dispersed through baseboard radiators or radiant floor systems. The resultant heat rises from the floor to fill your rooms with heat. There are also versions that generate steam and send it through classic radiators (like the kind pictured above), but these can be less efficient.
Ducts vs No Ducts
Furnaces play nicely with central air conditioners. They’ll use the same set of ducts to operate, so they won’t need to go unused during the colder season. If you already have a central air conditioning system, then installing a furnace can be the natural next best decision.
Boilers won’t use any kind of ducts, but this can be a good thing. Ducts need to be cleaned and repaired after several years of use, otherwise, they can lead to serious energy loss. Boilers can heat your home evenly without any kind of duct system. Plus, the hot air blown around from a furnace can be dry and contribute to lower indoor air quality.
Furnaces are definitely the winner of this category. In a price comparison of furnaces and boilers, prices for new furnaces range from $660 to $3,500. As for boilers? The prices can start at $3,500 and go as high as $10,000. However, also consider that the type of fuel source used for either heater will also change the installation price.
Maybe one reason for the price difference is that furnaces are quick and easy to install, taking as long as a few hours. Boiler installation can take a couple days.
Efficiency and Operating Costs
Where the furnace can give you a quick and easy heating solution, the overall efficiency and operating costs might have you reconsidering the boiler’s price tag.
The radiant systems used by a boiler will ensure that your home is heated much more efficiently than with a duct system. This, for one, will help reduce unnecessary energy costs. On top of that, boilers operate by heating water, which is much more efficient. Overall, the annual costs to operate a boiler are going to be cheaper.