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The Difference Between Boilers, Heat Pumps, and Furnaces

heating contractor

These days, there are many different ways to heat your home. The three most popular are by heat pump, by boiler, and by furnace – but what’s the difference between these methods? And which one is right for you? Our heating contractors share:

How They Work

Boilers do exactly what their name suggests – they boil water. Using a fuel (usually natural gas), a boiler heats water until it is hot. The hot water then flows through pipes to the various radiators you have in your home, which produce the heat that warms the room.

Furnaces produce heat via coils instead of water. They use a fuel (usually natural gas) to heat a set of coils, then use a motorized blower to blow air across the coils. The air becomes warmed and then travels through your duct work to your vents.

Heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool area to a warm one, which makes the warm space warmer in the winter and the cool space cooler in the summer. Because heat is simply moved (instead of generated), this method of heat can provide up to 4 times the amount of energy it consumes.

Room Temperatures

Heat pumps and furnaces are very similar in that they are used to heat your whole home at one time, so each room is around the same temperature. Boilers, however, work with the radiators you have placed in each room, so each room can have its own temperature.

Efficiency

The efficiency of each heating method depends on factors like the type of fuel you use, your climate, and the model of equipment. Every heater is given an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating that indicates how much fuel is converted to heat. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the unit is. For example, a furnace with an AFUE of 80 converts 80% of the fuel to heat and loses 20% in the combustion process, where a furnace with an AFUE of 90 converts 90% and only loses 10%.

Give our heating contractors a call. We can help you find the best option for your lifestyle and your budget.