Ask any Canadian how they heat their home and they will likely tell you they use either a boiler or a furnace . Your own home is likely heated by one of these systems as well.  But what’s the difference between the two, and why choose one over the other?

While furnaces and boilers are both excellent heating systems for your home, there are some key differences between the two.

If you are planning on building a new home, or replacing your existing heating system, there are some considerations to make when choosing between a furnace or a boiler system.

Heat Distribution

Furnaces and boilers distribute heat in vastly different ways.

Referred to as forced-air heating, furnaces utilize air to heat a home. After being warmed via a burner, the hot air is pushed through a home’s ducts and is circulated throughout the various rooms to provide heat.

Boilers utilize water by heating it and distributing the hot fluid through pipes around the home. The heat radiates from the pipes, warming the space inside your house. The process is known as hydronic radiant heating, as it relies on convection and radiation to transfer heat.  Because boilers do not use ducts as furnaces do, the air is cleaner and less dust and germs are circulated through the air.


Furnaces work by transferring heat to the air through a heat exchanger before being distributed through the home. Although furnaces cannot provide heat to other applications – such as heated floors and hot water heatersthe system is 92%-98% efficient.

Boilers warm a heat source (usually water) and pump it through either a radiator or baseboard heaters to provide heat to the home. These systems are 95% efficient and can be used to operate other applications such as a hot water heater – which can result in increased efficiency. In fact, in-floor or radiant heating, such as a heated floor in your bathroom, may reduce your overall utility bill. Areas in a home can be zoned for more or less heating.

Heating Characteristics

Boilers produce thermal energy, resulting in a clean, dry heat. Because boilers provide heat through radiators and baseboard heaters, it is easier to heat your home room by room. Heating sources can be turned off and on as needed, but a boiler’s overall effectiveness depends on the number of pipes installed around the house.

Although furnaces create more dust, they are more effective at evenly heating your entire home. However, this same even heat distribution makes it more difficult to control heat room-by-room., In order to reduce heat to specific rooms, vent covers would need to be purchased.

Maintenance and Installation

Furnaces are fairly inexpensive to install but require frequent maintenance. These maintenance tasks are generally easy, such as replacing furnace filters.

Boilers can be pricey to install but only require yearly maintenance. Once a year, it is recommended that you inspect for leaks, check for blockages, and monitoring the temperature readings and  burner flame.

How to Choose Between a Furnace and a Boiler

Both furnace and boilers systems are effective ways in which to heat your home. Choosing between the two depends entirely on which system is more appropriate for your home and what your preferences are.

No matter how you choose to heat your property, Peak Hydronics has the solution for you. We use cutting-edge technology and industry-leading standards to coax the most out of your new furnace or boiler.

Contact us today for more information!