When it comes to ensuring comfort, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness in your house, selecting the right heating system is essential. Furnaces and boilers are the two basic categories of heating systems that you can choose for your home. But what makes them different?

Read ahead as we explore all the important features of boilers and furnaces, including their advantages and disadvantages, maintenance needs, and variables affecting cost and energy efficiency.

Boiler vs furnace: How They Work

Boilers

Boilers heat water or generate steam, which is then distributed through pipes to radiators, baseboard radiators, or radiant floor systems in your home. The living spaces are heated consistently and comfortably by the hot water or steam radiating warmth. Natural gas, oil, electricity, or even wood pellets can all be used to power boilers.

Even distribution of heat is ensured by the network of pipes that carry the heated water or steam, which is released through different kinds of radiators or heating systems. Since it is dependable and comfortable, this heating system is frequently used in colder climates.

Furnaces

Using a system of ducts and vents, furnaces heat air and distribute it throughout your house. Fuel (natural gas, oil, propane) burning or electrical use to produce hot air. After the furnace heats air, it is next forced through the ducting and into different rooms by a blower. Since furnaces heat rooms quickly, they are a common option in areas where temperatures can decrease abruptly. A practical answer for year-round climate management, they are frequently paired with central air conditioning systems or heat pumps as needed.

Boiler vs Furnace: How efficient are they?

Generally speaking, boiler systems’ energy efficiency ratings are higher than those of furnaces. Boilers can have an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of anything from 80% to 98.5%. Condensing technology in high-efficiency models captures and recycles heat from exhaust gasses, therefore increasing efficiency even more. Boilers are more efficient in part because water is a superior heat transmission medium than air. Accordingly, boilers can heat a house efficiently even at lower temperatures.

Ranges for AFUE ratings of furnaces are 56% to 98.5%. Though they might be highly efficient, contemporary high-efficiency furnaces frequently lose heat through the ducting. Electric furnaces can be as efficient as 100% at the moment of use, but overall their cost of operation may be higher. The state and layout of the ductwork can also have an impact on a furnace’s performance since leaking or badly insulated ducts can lose a lot of heat.

Kenneth BKenneth B
22:25 10 Jun 24
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shameer khanshameer khan
03:54 06 Jun 24
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Patrick FishleyPatrick Fishley
03:24 05 Jun 24
They were very quick to respond, diagnose and fix what was necessary. Darryl and Asif were very professional, courteous and efficient! I recommend these guys A+.
Emily AuEmily Au
21:32 02 Jun 24
We had Comfort Union install our air conditioner in late April. I really enjoyed working with them - members of the team were really responsive through text and email, and quick to address all my questions. They were always keen to help and gave me helpful tips on how to monitor my furnace for leaks.They're a wonderful father and sons team - I'd highly recommend giving them a call if you require HVAC or plumbing services.
Braeden RigbyBraeden Rigby
19:47 25 May 24
Comfort Union should be your first choice for all your HVAC needs. Amazing family run business with a people first approach that is difficult to find. Highly recommended for anyone that values quality work !
premnath parthibanpremnath parthiban
14:52 23 May 24
I spent almost one year to find the best HVaC replacement company and finally landed with Comfort union .I initially thought it was a small job but then realized the magnitude of work and effort it goes into it ..Asif initially came to my house , explained to me everything in detail including what is code of guidelines expected by city of Calgary , that showed his knowledge on the whole process ..Then came his brother Moore for installation - you will never find such a wonderful person who knows in and out of the HVAC and moreover the most patient person I have ever seen .. he did the whole installation with absolute craftsmanship and love for the work he did .. the best part was his perfectness and every work he did was so perfect and tidy !Finally, came Khan ji - to do the final inspection to add perfectness over the perfectness carried by Moore .. He did inspection and made sure everything was 200% correct ..Overall , I would recommend comfort union over any other service provider …Replaced my furnace , water tank and my humidifier …
JJ YanJJ Yan
02:22 22 May 24
Muhamad and Darryl did an excellent job on installation of our new Bradford White 75 gallon water heater. Extremely professional and hard working. They not only just did the work, but also explained the procedure thoroughly and maintenance focus points. Kept the work place tidy and in order. Highly recommended to everyone. JJ
mr2008 2.0mr2008 2.0
04:08 12 May 24
excellent carrier furnace and air conditioner installation, highly recommend to others
ortizmm2002ortizmm2002
20:52 06 May 24
It was great to see a father and son team work so professionally in the delivery and installation of our new Bradford White water heater. Thanks team for a wonderful job.
Arman GillArman Gill
03:21 30 Apr 24
Friendly staff and did amazing work with carrier hvac
Inderpal SinghInderpal Singh
02:59 30 Apr 24
Amazing work. Good work on AC installation. Competive rates
Fast response due to the urgent occasions. The team is very experienced. Highly recommended!
Tushar AroraTushar Arora
23:04 06 Apr 24
Comfort union offers top notch furnace and hot water tank replacement services - contact the best furnace company in Calgary for all your needs. Highly recommended!!
Dipendra SitaulaDipendra Sitaula
18:28 02 Apr 24
Great and reliable service.
sunny Maharjansunny Maharjan
10:11 01 Apr 24
Best reasonable and quick in their response.
E TanE Tan
01:45 31 Mar 24
I recently hired Comfort Union to install a new hot water tank in my home, and I couldn't be more pleased with the results. They went above and beyond to ensure that the installation process was smooth and hassle-free from start to finish.Daryl's expertise and professionalism were evident from the moment he arrived at my home. He took the time to assess the layout of the space and discuss the best options for the installation, providing valuable insights and recommendations along the way. His attention to detail and commitment to quality craftsmanship were truly commendable.Throughout the installation process, Daryl and Mo worked efficiently and diligently, ensuring that everything was installed correctly and functioning optimally. They were respectful of my home, taking care to clean up any messes and leaving the work area spotless once the job was complete.I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to the entire team at Comfort Union for their outstanding service. Thanks to their expertise and dedication, I now have a reliable water heater that meets my needs perfectly. I would highly recommend Comfort Union to anyone in need of plumbing services – their professionalism and quality workmanship truly set them apart.
Ayaan DawoodAyaan Dawood
06:38 10 Mar 24
Imran Ahmed KhanImran Ahmed Khan
06:04 10 Mar 24
Maggie VaccaroMaggie Vaccaro
21:26 05 Mar 24
Quick response for appt. Came over and got all work done.Will call them again and will recommend them to others. Thanks!
Ashirul PatelAshirul Patel
22:57 26 Feb 24
We had great experience. They work out an efficient way to solve our furnace issues while maintaining the minimum cost.
Rakesh SachdevaRakesh Sachdeva
04:44 10 Feb 24
Muhammad is very professional and very cooperative. He has completed the work as explained. Everything was completed on same day we had issue. Very responsive.
Kly ClackKly Clack
22:28 08 Feb 24
Team at comfort union made me feel very comfortable about my purchases explained everything clearly and concisely so I could be confident in my decisions I would recommend them to anyone who asks.
Bhattarai AnuragBhattarai Anurag
02:33 07 Feb 24
Good service 👍🏽
Matt MelliesMatt Mellies
21:21 22 Jan 24
I had an issue with my furnace, went to reset my main breaker to power cycle trying to troubleshoot it... Breaker crapped out so I was sitting on an electrical, and furnace problem.Gave these guys a call and they were able to come out within 2 hours. Required a full main breaker replacement, and new gas valve on my furnace. They diagnosed it in only a couple hours, and fixed everything the same day.Had a great experience, the technicians that showed up were professional, and very knowledgeable. I'll definitely be using these guys when I eventually have replace my aging furnace.
Sharif ZayedSharif Zayed
00:15 22 Jan 24
Khan was so kind and considerate to help me during the -45 C calgary weather. We decided to replace our old furnace with newer and advance features choosing Carrier Furnace. We received the quote from Comfort Union which was competitively priced and the job was completed next day. Thanks.
Syed Zaigham RizviSyed Zaigham Rizvi
05:29 18 Jan 24
Had a bit of a crisis with rental property heating system in Calgary, our Goodman furnace gave out and had countless furnace repairs over the years. They got a new Carrier furnace installed quickly and very competitively priced compared to other carrier dealers. Wasn't expecting such quick service in the cold months. Definite recommend!
Mohammed SiddiqiMohammed Siddiqi
00:23 06 Jan 24
Absolutely stellar service from this HVAC company! The team was prompt, professional, and incredibly knowledgeable. They swiftly diagnosed and fixed our heating issue with precision. Their attention to detail and commitment to customer satisfaction truly set them apart. A 5-star experience – our go-to HVAC experts!
Agit KokuAgit Koku
21:40 13 Apr 23
I recently had Comfort Union come to my home to fix an issue with my hot water tank's pilot issue. Not only did the technician promptly fix the issue, but they also took the time to clean out my drain as a courtesy. I was impressed by their attention to detail and their commitment to providing excellent customer service.I would highly recommend Comfort Union for anyone in need of plumbing services.
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How easy are they to install and maintain?

The intricacy of the pipe infrastructure makes boiler installations often more expensive. To guarantee effective operation, they also need routine care, including yearly expert tune-ups. Typically, though, they have fewer moving components, which over time may translate into fewer repairs.

Checking the heat exchanger for its working condition, looking over the chimney and vent connection line, and making sure the water and pressure levels are within the advised ranges are all common parts of boiler maintenance.

On average, furnace installation is less expensive and takes less time, particularly in houses with air conditioning ducting already installed. Maintenance includes yearly inspections and monthly or quarterly filter changes.

More moving parts, such as blowers and electronic controls, in a furnace, could need more regular repairs. In addition to testing for carbon monoxide (CO) and adjusting the blower control and supply-air temperature, routine maintenance for furnaces includes inspecting the combustion chamber for cracks.

Comfort and Air Quality

Consistent, radiant heat from boilers is sometimes more comfortable than forced warm air from furnaces. Better quality indoor air results from their lack of air blowing, which prevents dust and allergens from being circulated. Furthermore, radiant heat can feel more uniform and less drafty with a boiler. Since a boiler heats without circulating forced air, they’re a great option for homes with people suffering from allergies or people who are sensitive to airborne particles.

Quick to heat a house, furnaces are frequently combined with central air conditioning systems to provide year-round climate management. They may, however, cause people with allergies problems because they can spread dust and allergens through the air. Additionally, in certain places, the forced air can produce drafts and inconsistent heating. Notwithstanding these disadvantages, furnaces have the benefit of integrating with air conditioning systems to provide a whole HVAC solution.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • More energy-efficient

  • Consistent and comfortable heat

  • Better indoor air quality

  • Quieter operation

  • Radiant heat can be used for both space heating and domestic hot water

Cons

  • Higher initial installation cost

  • Slower to heat up a space

  • Potential for water leaks, which can cause damage

  • A more complex installation process requiring a network of pipes

Pros:

  • Lower initial cost

  • Quick heating

  • Easier to install in homes with existing ductwork

  • They can be paired with central air conditioning

  • Wide availability and variety of models

Cons:

  • Less energy-efficient

  • Can circulate dust and allergens

  • Noisier operation

  • Potential for uneven heating and drafts

  • Regular maintenance is required to change air filters and ensure optimal performance

Cost Considerations

In general, boilers cost more upfront than furnace installation does. This is because the piping system is so complicated and extra parts like radiators or radiant floor heating systems are required. Contrarily, furnace installation is usually less expensive, particularly if the house already has air conditioning ducting.

Boiler Installation costs range from CAD 3,200 to CAD 9,000 and can easily go up to CAD 19,000 based on the location you live in. On the other hand, furnaces cost CAD 2,900 to CAD 6,400, which is much less than a boiler.

Fuel type, energy efficiency, and house size are just a few of the variables that affect boiler and furnace operating expenses. Since boilers are more efficient, over time they might provide reduced running expenses even though they are more expensive to install. On the other hand, since they depend on forced air systems and may lose heat through ducting, furnaces may be less expensive initially but can cost more to run.

Lifespan and Durability

Long lifespans and durability are well-known features of boilers. A traditional cast iron water boiler can last for twenty years or longer with the right care. Since a boiler system has fewer moving parts, there is less that may go wrong, which extends its lifespan.

Given proper maintenance, furnaces usually last between 15 and 20 years. Though a furnace’s reliance on moving components like blowers and computerized controls can result in more frequent failures and repairs than a boiler, regular maintenance, and prompt repairs can help extend its life.

How to make the right choice?

Budget: A furnace can be the wiser option if you’re trying to save money upfront. A boiler might be the best option, though, if you’re prepared to pay more upfront for comfort and long-term efficiency.

Setup of your Home: Installation of a furnace may be simpler and less expensive if your house already has air conditioning ducting. A boiler could be a more sensible option in houses without any ductwork already installed.

Energy Efficiency:Higher energy efficiency offered by boilers can eventually result in lower running expenses. Though the state of the ducting may have an impact on their efficiency, furnaces can also be quite efficient.

Maintenance: To run effectively and safely, both systems need routine maintenance. Because boilers typically have few moving components, over time there may be lesser maintenance needed. To run at their best, furnaces need routine maintenance and filter changes.

Conclusion

Ultimately, your particular requirements, budgetary limitations, and home layout will determine which of the two to choose—a boiler or a furnace. While furnaces heat quickly and can be more affordable upfront, boilers give comfort, energy efficiency, and improved air quality.

For the best heating option for your house, weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each system and speak with a qualified HVAC specialist, such as those at Comfort Union.

Contact us for additional information about expert boiler installation and furnace services and understanding high-efficiency heating systems. We can assist you in selecting and installing the best system to maintain year-round comfort in your house.

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