Do you know if your house has a boiler or a furnace? Don’t be too concerned if you don’t, we find most people tend to use the word “furnace” to describe the mechanical unit that heats their home and they really have no idea whether it’s a furnace or a boiler. But wouldn’t it be nice to know the difference? And then you could use the right term the next time you’re talking to your trusty heating contractor.
A boiler heating system uses fire to heat water which then distributes heat to the home via a series of pipes leading to radiators, either baseboard or the older cast iron versions.
A furnace heating system heats air which is distributed through the home via duct work, powered by a blower motor.
If you see vent grates in your floor, baseboard or ceiling, you have a furnace. If you have baseboard or cast iron radiators, you have a boiler.
Both boilers and furnaces can be powered by oil or gas.
The more you know…
*A special thanks to reader Brooks for the picture of an ornate heating grate in his home.