Furnaces vs. Boilers: What’s the Difference?

Winter is just around the corner, which means now is the perfect time to think about installing a new heating system. With multiple options on the market, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you. For many people, the conventional and correct choice remains either a furnace or a boiler. But what’s the difference between these systems, exactly? And how do they work? Keep reading to learn more, and remember, for all your heating and AC needs, you can trust our expert technicians at EnviroSafe.


A furnace is a forced-air system (i.e. any piece of equipment that used air as the medium for heat transfer) that can be powered by natural gas, propane, oil, or electricity. Furnaces use devices called heat exchangers to generate heat through the combustion process via electricity. They then circulate warm air through your ducts using components called blower fans to warm up various rooms throughout your house. In electric furnaces, there are heating elements used to create warm air, while furnaces powered by other fuel sources typically use gas jets.

Modern furnaces continue to be extremely popular because this type of system is extremely energy-efficient. For the most part, furnaces don’t cost a lot to operate, and with proper maintenance, they can last for 15-30 years. Furnaces are also compatible with most existing ductwork, so it is extremely easy to install one as part of your central HVAC system.


Like furnaces, boilers can run on oil, gas, or electricity. They can also be classified as forced-air heating systems, depending on which kind of boiler you have. However, while furnaces are powered by heat exchangers, boilers work by heating water in a tank. That heated water, or steam, is then sent throughout your home through ductwork, radiators, or radiant floor heating. Radiant heating systems are different than forced-air systems, as they heat your floors or walls directly, while radiators heat your air through a process called convection. Electric boilers use heating elements to warm the water in the tank, while gas/oil boilers use jets located under the system’s tank.

One of the advantages boilers have over furnaces is that they heat your water in addition to your larger home, so a boiler can essentially replace your water heater. They are also very energy-efficient, can be installed without ductwork, and generally require fewer tune-ups than furnaces. In terms of lifespan, they last roughly the same amount of time, depending on maintenance. On the other hand, they are often more expensive and time-consuming to install than furnaces, and may not be as compatible with some central HVAC systems.

Call EnviroSafe for All Your Heating Needs Today

When all is said and done, our licensed and experienced HVAC techs at EnviroSafe will make sure you get the perfect heating system for your home. With options for boilers and furnaces, we can offer you a range of choices for many of the industry-leading brands on the market. In addition to installations and replacements, we also provide full-service heating repairs and maintenance, and can even perform natural gas conversions. Plus with membership plans, financing options, and available specials, it’s hard not to get a great deal when you hire our professionals at EnviroSafe!

Are you interested in upgrading to a new heater or boiler? Then call EnviroSafe now at (856) 878-2806, or fill out our contact form online. And remember, we are also available 24/7 for emergency requests!