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Boiler vs. Furnace: What’s the Best Heating System for Your Home?

When temperatures drop during the winter, homeowners want their homes to be warm and cozy. Of course, small space heaters and blankets aren’t usually enough to keep an entire household comfortable—instead, a heating system is needed.

But, what is the best heating system for your home? Boilers and furnaces are two of the most popular heating systems, yet one might be more suitable for your needs than the other. We’ll discuss the differences between a boiler vs. furnace to help you decide which one is right for you.

How a Furnace Works

Before diving into the pros and cons of a boiler vs. furnace, it’s essential to understand how these heating systems work. Furnaces can run on natural gas, oil, or electricity and function by warming up the air and sending it out into your home via ductwork. Since a furnace heats the air with ductwork, your AC system can also conveniently use these ducts.

How a Boiler Works

Boilers heat hot water to effectively warm your home. These systems work by creating steam or hot water, which is sent out to pipes and dispersed through radiators. There are various types of radiators today, such as baseboard radiators or radiant floor heating systems. Most boilers run on oil or natural gas.


If you want to find the best heating system for your home, it’s crucial to consider the installation process. Overall, furnaces tend to be easier to install than boilers. Since the installation process for boilers is more difficult, these heating systems are often more expensive to install than furnaces.

It’s worth mentioning that the cost of a furnace installation can differ depending on the fuel type. For instance, gas furnaces tend to cost more to install than oil and electric models since you’ll need to have a gas meter and gas line installed. If you want to learn more about gas furnaces, reach out to gas furnace service companies.


Along with the installation process, don’t forget about maintenance needs. There’s no contest when it comes to the maintenance needs of a boiler vs. furnace: boilers come in at the top.

Boilers require little to no maintenance, although they should still be inspected at least once a year by a professional technician to ensure proper function. On the other hand, furnaces require regular maintenance services because they have parts that need to be adjusted and cleaned routinely and air filters that must be replaced.

Energy Efficiency

To find the best heating system for your home, you need to consider your priorities. For instance, you might want a heating system with high energy efficiency. The more energy efficient your heating system is, the less energy you’ll waste—and the less your utility bills will cost.

So, when it comes to boiler vs. furnace, which has higher energy efficiency? All in all, boilers are equally as energy-efficient as their furnace counterparts. Furnaces can be less energy efficient because some of the warmed air can escape through faulty ductwork.

Other heating systems with high-efficiency ratings are geothermal heat pumps and air source heat pumps. However, air-source heat pumps require outdoor units, and geothermal systems rely on pipes that are buried several feet in the ground.


When discussing the advantages and disadvantages of a boiler vs. furnace, it’s vital to mention performance. If you want a heating system that will provide steady heat, consider a boiler. Boiler heat is known for its consistent temperature and even distribution throughout a home.

However, if you want to prioritize quick heat, furnaces may be the best heating system for your home. Furnaces are speedier at heating your home than boilers since boilers take longer to react to thermostat changes.

Upgrade Your Heating System Today

Furnaces and boilers are top choices for homeowners all across the country. However, these types of heating systems come with their pros and cons. If you need assistance choosing the right heater for you, Magnolia Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is here to help.

Our heating contractors in Washington, D.C. will help find a suitable heating system for you based on your energy efficiency, fuel, and air quality needs. Contact us today!