Differences Between Furnaces and Boilers

August 17, 2023

A furnace and a boiler are both heating systems used to provide warmth to a building, but they operate differently and are designed for different purposes.


A furnace is a heating system that generates and circulates warm air throughout a building. It works by burning fuel (such as natural gas, oil, or propane) in a combustion chamber. The heat generated from the burning fuel warms up the air, which is then blown through a system of ducts and vents using a blower fan. This heated air is distributed to different rooms in the building through registers or vents.

Furnaces are commonly used for central heating in homes and commercial buildings. They can also be used for forced-air cooling when equipped with an air conditioning unit. Furnaces are generally more suitable for areas with milder climates.


A boiler, on the other hand, is a heating system that uses water (or other fluids) to transfer heat. Boilers heat water or another fluid to a high temperature, creating steam or hot water, which is then circulated through a system of pipes and radiators or baseboard heaters. The heat is transferred from the hot water or steam to the surrounding air, warming the space.

Boilers are often used for heating larger buildings, such as multi-story homes, apartment buildings, and commercial spaces. They can also be used for radiant floor heating systems. Boilers are generally more efficient in colder climates, as they can maintain a consistent and comfortable heat output.