Central Heating Basics – What Is The Difference Between A Boiler And A Furnace

Boiler and furnace may sound pretty similar to each other, but they are two completely different things and they are used for two completely different purposes. It is good to know the difference between central heating boilers and furnaces. One heats up water, while the other one heats up air. To get you acquainted with the main functions of a boiler and a furnace, and to explain the difference between the two, we will first define them individually, while contrasting their different functions at the same time. Curious? Let’s get started.

What Is A Boiler?

A boiler is a large tank, which boils water. Boilers are an old concept now, but back in the day, large boilers were installed in bathrooms, mainly, to heat up water in the colder months. They used to be large tanks, which would be filled up with water. Afterwards, the heated water would get circulated through a pipeline network to supply hot water to any tap in the house, whether it be for the bathroom or the kitchen, etc. Boilers are now less, as mentioned previously, and now electric water heaters have taken over. Both have the same concept, but the difference is that modern electric water heaters are compact and easy to operate, whereas, boilers were large tanks, which required a lot of room to be installed.

Also, boilers would only heat the amount of water present in the tank, whereas, modern electric water heaters heat up all of the water coming from the taps. Boilers are more expensive to install, and they take a bit longer to heat up the house. Boilers, because they have water, can freeze up during winter and clog the pipes.

What Is A Furnace?


A furnace is also an old heating machine. A furnace consists of a heating source. In the old days, it would be wood or coal. The wood or coal would be burnt in a chamber, which produced a lot of heat energy. This heat, then travels to the vents of the house via a blower powered by a motor, and warms up the house. So, a furnace essentially heats up a house.

The modern version of a furnace is a gas central heating system. It does the same thing as a furnace, but the main difference is the source of heat. Modern central heating systems use gas or electricity to produce heat and warm up the house. This is much more sustainable than burning wood or coal. Furnaces have come a long way and now, they are not used as much anymore, since their place has been taken by the central heating systems.

A furnace is very to install, it is very inexpensive and it doesn’t clog the pipelines in winter, but it has its own fair share of downsides as well. It is bad for the environment and a lot of wood or coal is burnt, which can add up over time.

Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of each, it’s time to check furnace and combi boiler prices to decide upon the best central heating system you want.