The majority of American homes include one of two types of seasonal heating system: furnace, or boiler. Although both produce heat efficiently, reliably and affordably, they function on two different principles.

  • A furnace heats air and distributes it throughout the home via ducts. The heated air exits through the vents.
  • A boiler heats water and distributes it throughout the home via pipes. The heated water transfers most of its energy to the home’s interior when it reaches the radiators.

While other solutions to home heating do exist, the widespread popularity of furnaces and boilers indicates that either could work well for your particular hacienda. But which one is best? To answer that question, let’s briefly outline their relative advantages.


Furnace Advantages

  • Lower upfront cost. Furnace installation usually costs less than boiler installation (especially if the home already contains the ducts the furnace needs in order to function).
  • Versatile fuel source. Furnaces can utilize a wide variety of fuel sources to heat air, including natural gas, oil, propane and electricity. (In fairness to boilers, they can also utilize the same fuel sources).
  • Higher efficiency. Furnaces boast the higher annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), often reaching as high as 98.5%.
  • Improved air quality. So long as it receives proper maintenance (which includes regular filter replacement), a furnace can significantly reduce circulation of airborne pollutants.


Boiler Advantages

  • Lower maintenance needs. We wouldn’t go so far as to call a furnace “high-maintenance,” but a boiler boasts lower maintenance needs all the same. It typically requires no more than annual tune-ups by a professional.
  • Comfortable heat. Instead of blowing air around a home, a boiler produces radiant heat. Many people prefer the way it feels, especially while it is rising up through the floor.
  • Quieter. A boiler isn’t completely silent. Even so, its lack of a blower motor does translate to quieter operation while it’s producing heat.
  • Improved air quality. Although it doesn’t actively filter out pollutants, a boiler doesn’t blow them around the home, either. In that sense it improves indoor air quality in a whole different fashion.
  • Adequate efficiency. Boilers aren’t as efficient as furnaces, but they are hardly wasteful. A well designed and installed system can achieve up to 95% AFUE. That’s still considered high efficiency.


Residential Boilers Are Falling Out of Fashion

Although boilers are still widespread throughout the United States, they’re falling out of favor largely due to modern furnaces’ indisputably higher energy efficiency.

Maintaining an existing boiler is still practical in many circumstances, and O’Connor Heating & Cooling is ready and willing to keep any existing boiler in its best possible working condition. That said, if you’re in the market for a new heating system, then choosing a furnace is nearly certain to make your life more convenient – and your heating bills more palatable.


We Make Winter Preparation Easy

O’Connor Heating & Cooling offers the full-service solution to all of Sioux City’s heating needs. We install and service gas, oil and electric furnaces, and specialize in highly efficient and reliable heating systems by Rheem. If you live or own commercial property in Sioux City or the surrounding tri-state area, then we welcome you to contact us today to schedule service!