By: Patricia Cermignano

You often hear people use the terms boiler and furnace interchangeably when it comes to speaking about what type of heating system people have in their homes. However, it is important to understand the differences between the two terms as the type of heat produced and the way that heat circulates your house are starkly different.


A boiler is a heating system that generates heat by using water. There are two types of boilers- a Hot Water (Hydronic) System and a Steam System. A Hot Water System circulates water in the combustion chamber of your boiler. That water is then pushed through pipes to heat baseboards or radiators before returning to the unit to start the cycle all over again. It is important to make sure that the dampers on the baseboards are open and not blocked so that the heat can flow through. On the other hand, a Steam System turns water into steam that then travels through pipes to the radiators. It is critical that you check your boiler's water gauge every so often to ensure that the water levels are not too low or that the system does not need to be flushed.

          **Easy way to remember this: Boilers boil water to produce heat.**


A furnace is a heating system that generates heat by warming air. A blower motor then distributes the warm air throughout a home's duct system. The heat is then released from the duct system through the vents and registers in your home. All warm air systems require filters to help keep dust and other dirt particles out of the unit. Depending on the type of unit your home may have, it is recommended that you change your unit's filter anywhere from once a month to once every few months to ensure that your system is working efficiently and effectively.

          **Easy way to remember this: Furnaces force warm air through ducts to produce heat.**

If you are in the market to get a new heating system, ask one of the qualified HVAC technicians at Bob Cermignano Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc. to help you decide whether a boiler or furnace is best for your house. Please give our office a call at 610-642-6323 or visit our website at for more details.