It is understandable when people are not experts of the furnishing they have at home. However, knowing basic descriptions and difference can definitely make life easier for you when you need a hand when something goes awry, after all, maintaining a functioning comfortable home is more than just keeping it spotless clean.
One of the few things that people have limited knowledge about the most important part of the house is noting the difference of a furnace and a boiler. Both keep your house warm during those chilly seasons but the technology and mechanics are entirely different.
The first difference to keep in mind is that when one says furnace, it means warm air, while boiler means warm water—obviously since you can only boil water. If your heating system is not working, knowing this difference would save you time and save you from misunderstandings with your technician. Different systems require different ways of troubleshooting.
The furnace heats the air and then it blows this warm air through ducts, passing through the vents, into your home. Most of the time, the maintenance for the furnace involves changing filter screens so you don’t get dusty air into your home, and checking for the ducts if air flow is not blocked. Being able to tell simple features of a furnace will make it quicker for you to identify the problem. Also, it would also help you be knowledgeable on how to do simple maintenance to ensure longevity and good performance of your heating system.
Just from the name itself, you get the idea that it uses water to function. A boiler, or in other words, a hydronic system, uses water to circulate in the combustion center. The hot water is pumped through pipes to heat baseboards or radiators, then the water goes back to the starting line and do the cycle again. Some boilers turn water into steam that goes through the pipes and to the radiators. Since a boiler uses water, you should be on your toes in its maintenance such as checking water levels and monitoring for rusting.
Both are effective heating systems and in spite of the few differences they have, it is important that the simple cautionary measures are observed. One, keep the surrounding area of the system clean and without clutter. The heat may damage your things such as the ones made in plastic. And of course, keep flammable materials away from your system. Two, keep your baseboards clean and unobstructed to have maximum heat flow. This applies to your screens and ducts as well. Three, schedule professional maintenance at least twice a year to ensure that your system will work efficiently for the cold seasons.