You'll notice that some homes (usually older ones) have a boiler instead of a furnace. And you may wonder, what's the difference?

What Is The Difference Between A Boiler And A Furnace?

It's really very simple. The furnace heats air and the boiler heats water. Both make your home warmer during those cold winter days - they just do it in different ways.

Differences Between How Furnaces and Boilers Work

Now you know the basic difference between boilers and furnaces. So, how do these two different home heating systems work?


A boiler has a tank of water that it heats up to create the steam needed to heat the house. That water comes from two sources, from a pipe connected to your home's plumbing system and from some of the steam that the boiler generates.

A boiler is powered by either electricity, gas or oil. It is programmed to monitor the temperature of the water in the boiler and once it hits a specific temperature - it will turn on.

The water inside the boiler then begins to heat up. That hot water creates steam which then flows out of radiators or baseboard radiators to heat the home.


Most furnaces are powered by natural gas, but not all. There are furnaces that are powered by propane, electricity or heating oil.

The furnace gets it's signal to "turn on" from the thermostat in the home which is set to detect the temperature. When the temperature hits a specific degree (which the homeowner sets up) it sends a signal to the furnace that it's time to get to work.

The flame inside the furnace begin heating a heat exchanger within the furnace. A blower motor then begins moving the heat through the ductwork in the house and eventually the heated air comes out through vents in each room of the house.

Which Is Better - A Boiler Or A Furnace?

Years ago when boilers were more popular than they are now - they were an amazing technology used to provide heat to indoor living spaces. But today, with the technology of furnaces and solar power - we all have more choices in how to heat our homes.

So, then it's always good to have the list of pros and cons when making a decision as to which heating system to use in your home.

Pros and Cons of Boilers vs. Furnaces

Boiler Pros and Cons

Usually more efficientTakes longer to heat the house
Provides consistent heatHarder to install than a furnace
Less noisyHarder to switch TO a furnace system
Requires less maintenancePossible problems with water leaks
Better air quailityMore expensive than a furnace
Provides normal humidity levels 

Furnace Pros and Cons

Less expensive than a boilerLess efficient than a boiler
No freezing hazardNoisier than a boiler
Easier to install than a boilerProvides inconsistent heat
Less likely to leakInferior air quality
 May need to use a humidifier due to the dry air

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Boiler With A Furnace?

Costs to replace a boiler with a furnace vary according to the type of furnace that you purchase but also how much work is needed to prepare the house with air ducts, vents, etc.

Furnaces range in price from $5,500 to $7.000 -

Should You Replace Your Boiler With A Furnace?

The real question is should you even consider replacing the boiler in your home with a furnace?

  • If your boiler is 15 years or older or if it's been giving you alot of trouble latelty with maintenance issues - and you plan to stay in your home for years to come then we would recommend to replace that with a furnace. You'll end up saving money in the long run.
  • If your boiler needs replacing - it's generally less expensive to install a furnace than a boiler

All in all, replacing a boiler with a furnace will save you in the long run so if you plan to stay in your home for years to come, it may be worth the price.

If you have any questions about your boiler or furnace, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-505-8570. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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