Furnace, Boiler or Heat Pump? Time for Heating Systems 101

Feb 14, 2019

Written By Offer Hut

How Do Boilers, Furnaces, and Heat Pumps Work?

Nowadays, you have many different options available to you for heating your home. The most popular 3 choices are a heat pump, boiler, and a furnace. Which one is right for you, is up to the details. Below we have done our best to outline what we know about them, as to help you decide. We have asked our Heating Contractors to add their opinions based off of their experience.

How Do Boilers, Furnaces, and Heat Pumps Work?

Boilers boil water, hence the name. Using natural gas in most cases, a boiler heats water until it is hot. The hot water then flows to various radiators in your house.

A Furnace produces heat via coils. They use natural gas in most cases to heat a set of coils, then a fan blows the air across the coils. The air becomes warmed and then travels through your duct work to your vents.

Heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool area to a warm one. This makes the warm space warmer in the winter and the cool space cooler in the summer. Because heat is simply moved instead of generated. This method of heat can provide many mores time the heat than the energy it uses.

What is the temperature difference in Heat Pumps, Furnaces, and a Boiler?

Heat pumps and furnaces are very similar in that they are used to heat your whole home at one time, so each room is around the same temperature. Boilers, however, work with the radiators you have placed in each room, so each room can have its own temperature.

Is a Heat Pump, Furnace, or Boiler more efficient?

The efficiency of each heating depends on type of fuel you use and the climate in which you live in. Every heater is given an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating that indicates how much fuel is converted to heat. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the unit is. For example, a furnace with an AFUE of 80 converts 80% of the fuel to heat and loses 20% in the combustion process, where a furnace with an AFUE of 90 converts 90% and only loses 10%.


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