Pros and Cons of Boilers and Furnaces

The two most popular ways to heat a home these days are by using either a furnace or a boiler. If you are unfamiliar with the difference between these two forms of heat, then you have come to the right place! Joseph Frederick & Sons, one of the top HVAC companies in Delaware, is here to break down the main differences, pros, and cons of boilers and furnaces.

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A boiler works by heating up water that is then distributed by a circulator pump or zone valves through a system of pipes into radiators which are located throughout the home. As the water passes, it gives off heat. Once the water cools down, it circulates back to the boiler to be reheated. Boilers typically use gas, propane, or oil for fuel. 


  • Uses less fuel to heat your home. This leads to greater savings on energy costs as well as improved efficiency.
  • More pleasant, evenly distributed heat.
  • Very quiet operation. You cannot hear when the boiler is working.
  • The warm air from radiators is not dry like that from ducts and does not contain dust, allergens, bacteria, etc., that collects in ducts, in your basement, and on furnace air filters.


  • Costs are high, especially if switching from an existing forced-air system to hydronic. 
  • No air conditioner available, so a separate central air system would need to be installed, which can be expensive. 
  • Takes longer than a furnace to adjust to thermostat changes, meaning it will take you longer to feel a temperature change in the room after you have turned the heat up or down.


Forced air heating consists of a furnace and a system of ducts to circulate the warm air. The cool air in the room is drawn into the ductwork, which delivers it to the furnace. Here, the air is filtered, heated, and then circulates back into the room via a different duct system. A furnace uses electricity, natural gas, or heating oil for fuel. Gas furnaces are most common, especially in areas with very cold winters. 


  • Relatively low cost for installation compared to a boiler system, and installation is much quicker and easier.
  • There is no risk of having a hot water leak, as is the case with a boiler. These leaks can cause thousands of dollars in damages and can be difficult to repair. With a furnace, you will not have to worry about this at all.
  • If you live in a cold climate, you don’t run the risk of having a furnace freeze if the power goes out. This problem exists with a boiler.


  • Less energy efficient.
  • Poor air quality and potential allergic reactions.
  • Noisier than a boiler.
  • Inconsistent heat. Some rooms in your home will be warmer than others.

Joseph Frederick & Sons

When it comes to longevity, both a boiler and a furnace last about 15-20 years. Joseph Frederick & Sons, one of the top HVAC companies in Delaware, suggests that with regular maintenance, both devices can work well for even longer. And when it comes to energy efficiency, it turns out that both systems are about the same. Many new models of furnaces and boilers boast over 95% energy efficiency! If you have any further questions about boilers or furnaces, feel free to contact Joseph Frederick & Sons, one of the top HVAC companies in Delaware. We look forward to serving you!