What Is The Difference Between A Furnace And A Boiler?

TDI Air Conditioning | HVAC Repair

People mistake furnace and burner to be different words referring to the same object. Yes, true, they’re both used for heating, but the heating processes are completely different. It’s important to know which of the two you have or which to choose. This information would help determine the maintenance, repairs, replacement and other concerns.


Furnace works by warming the air then the heated air is distributed through the ducts by a blower and goes to the vents, finally warming your place. It uses warm air causing a drafty environment.

Part of regular furnace care is replacing your filter regularly. The filter is in charge of keeping particles in the air from being distributed around your home. It makes sure you and your family get to breathe in a clean and healthy atmosphere. Their MERV rating states how efficient it is. The more efficient it is, the less maintenance it needs.

Always know what kind of filter your furnace has so you know how often you should change it. Be sure it’s switched off before replacing it. The lowest-priced filters should be changed every month.


A boiler, on the other hand, works by warming water in a hydronic system. The boiled water is then circulated to the pipes then heating baseboards or radiators. A steam system boils the water and turns it to water vapor which is then circulated to pipes then to radiators. Since heat from water is transferred via convection process no dust or other particles are introduced to our homes.

When there’s not enough heat, it could be caused by several things. The heat could be prevented by a closed damper or heavy carpeting. Also regularly keep an eye on the water level. When it gets too low, it could be a cause for a shutdown. Check if the water is rusty. If it is, flush it.

One more tip: the valve either turns it on or off. Moving it in between won’t affect the temperature but cause further damage to the pipes. If you hear a hammering sound, call a technician to have a look at them.

A simple way to differentiate the two though is to ask this question, “Are you heating water or air?” If it’s water then it is a boiler; it if is air then it is a furnace. It is always better to know what heating system you are using at home.

If you don’t know what you should get for your home or what you currently have, you can give your manufacturer a call or ask your HVAC specialist. A trained and licensed professional would be able to explain how each would affect your home and your overall HVAC system. You’d get a comprehensive understanding of the pros and cons of each.

Remember to only hire someone you trust. Ask your friends or go online and see the reviews. You can also call TDI Air at (903) 597-8381 and get a free in-house consultation for a more accurate evaluation and estimation of maintenance costs.