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Before you decide what type of heating is best for your residency, it’s crucial to know exactly what you are heating and how much it will cost you in the long-term. It’s also extremely important to consider what heating appliances your home is already equipped with, and if your system is outdated then you might want to consider replacing it with something more efficient. Before deciding what system you would like to replace it with, you’ll want to know what heating appliances are used to heat your home.

There are two components to any heating system:

You have your distribution system and the two most common forms of distribution are forced-air and hydronic distribution systems.

The second component to a heating system is the heating appliance. These are the actual elements which heat the room. Radiators are the most common form of heating appliances.

Many mistake boilers for furnaces. A boiler boils water inside and uses the steam to heat the home while a furnace heats air and distributes hot air through the ventilation into the home. Some people complain that the heat produced by furnaces is too dry and that Hot Water Boilers systems produce a more luxurious heat. Some Hot Water Boilers systems can also double as a hot water heater. Some still prefer Forced-Air Furnaces and they can be very efficient for larger homes.

What is a Furnace?

While many think any heating system is a furnace, the term is actually reserved for a Forced-Air Furnace. A Forced-Air Furnace heats air and then blows the hot air through the ductwork and ventilation into the building. If a heating system heats water and uses the steam, then it is actually a Hot Water Boiler system.

What are the Pros of a Furnace?

Furnaces are common among normal residencies for a very specific reason. They are rather inexpensive to install. Another advantage to a furnace is that since the heat is distributed through ductwork, they pair well with central cooling units which distribute cool air through ductwork as well. Since they are found in many homes, they have a tendency to be very easy to fix.

What are the Cons of a Furnace?

Some claim that the air blown into rooms by furnaces is too dry and uncomfortable. Another common complaint about furnaces is that they tend to blow dust and pollen throughout the home. Some people might consider the fact that regular maintenance is necessary to keep a furnace running smoothly a disadvantage, but in actuality, regular upkeep should be practiced for all heating systems and not just furnaces.

What is a Hot Water Boiler?

Sometimes confused for a furnace, a Hot Water Boiler actually heats water instead of air making steam then distributing that heat through the building by means of radiators.

What are the Pros of a Hot Water Boiler?

Hot Water Boilers are commonly said to produce a more comfortable heat as it is not as dry as the heat distributed by a furnace. The Hot Water Boiler system is commonly associated with luxury in a home, especially with the innovation of less conspicuous radiators. Some Hot Water Boilers serve a dual function as not only a source for heating but also as a Hot Water Heater. This is commonly referred to as a COMBI boiler.

What are the Cons of a Hot Water Boiler?

One of the disadvantages to the Hot Water Boiler is that it is not often found in most residential areas which can make both replacement and maintenance slightly more costly than Forced-Air Furnaces. Another disadvantage to the Hot Water Boiler is that it transports the heat through different means than a normal Forced-Air Furnace which uses ductwork that can be shared with a cooling unit. This is not the case with a Hot Water Boiler.

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