Furnaces Vs. Boilers: Do You Know The Difference?

Posted: October 19, 2020

difference between furnace and boiler rhode island

In discussing home heating, most people refer to their furnace as the system that gets the job done. But the reality is that they might actually have a boiler. And while many people use “furnace” and “boiler” interchangeably, they are actually quite different.

When you’re thinking about replacing your system for your oil heated home, it’s important to understand the differences. Are you going from one type of system to the other? Or are you just getting a new model of the type of home heating system you already have?

Here’s a look at the key differences between furnaces and boilers.

About Furnaces

Rather than using heating oil to heat water or steam, a furnace heats the air itself. The foundation of a forced-air system, a furnace burns heating oil, which heats air that is then blown through your ductwork and out through your vents—or registers—to heat your home.

Air circulates into the furnace whenever it’s running, so it’s very important to keep up with your air filter. Check it monthly and change or clean it (depending on what kind you have) as needed. If curtains, furniture or other debris get in the way of your vents, the air will not circulate properly, so always be on the lookout for these issues, which can cause your furnace to work inefficiently and ultimately reduce its lifespan.

About Boilers

The two basic boiler types are steam and hydronic (hot water). A steam boiler converts water into steam. From there the steam travels through your home’s pipes to reach your radiators. With a hydronic boiler, a circulator distributes the hot water around the combustion chamber of the boiler to heat it. It then travels through a series of pipes from which it heats the baseboards in your home.

It’s important to know that your boiler is working properly, regardless of which type it is. Here are a few basic steps you can take.

In both types of systems, the boiler will automatically turn off if water levels drop too low. This will prevent unnecessary damage.

If these tips don’t work and problems persist, contact us.

Upkeep And Maintenance Are Key

Whether you heat your home with a boiler or a furnace, annual maintenance is critical. If you haven’t done so yet, schedule a tune-up today, before the cold is really here.
With a service plan, you’re entitled to an annual tune-up and 24/7 priority service. Find out more about Vaughn’s heating oil service plans for Rhode Island homes. If you’re thinking about an upgrade, learn about the heating systems we service and sell.

Contact us today to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members for more information!