Boiler vs Furnace – How do I Choose?

Choosing the right heating equipment for your home in Fairfax, VA is important. Our winters can be extremely cold, and your family’s wellbeing depends on proper equipment for temperature moderation. If you are designing a new home, the options are varied. If you are thinking about upgrading your existing heating system, you may be a bit more limited. In either case, you will definitely be faced with the consideration of a boiler vs furnace in Fairfax, VA.

Affordability and Fuel Resources

Both equipment choices can be found in either gas or oil-fired models. Some residents of our region prefer the reliability of a utility-controlled fuel supply. The gas-powered models rarely leave residents with lack of heat because of shortages or supply interruptions. Oil-powered equipment requires that you have your fuel delivered. Pricing can fluctuate, and the oil market can be quite volatile. If you forget to have fuel delivered, you may be inconvenienced by a lack of heat. However, many companies provide monthly delivery services. Some of these sources also provide stable pricing through monthly contracts.

AFUE ratings for both equipment choices can vary. Condensing versions of both are available, meaning that some of the emissions that would normally release into the atmosphere are recycled and used to power the system. Condensing models are excellent choices in our region because they enable you to make the best use of your fuel. These can be more expensive upfront, but over time, you can recover your equipment cost through optimal energy use.

Equipment Differences

While a furnace heats by moving air through a system of ducts, a boiler operates by moving hot water or steam through pipes. Designing a new home for a specific system will entail fitting the home with the proper circuit for the heating medium to move through the house. One of the advantages of a ducted system in the Fairfax, VA region is the fact that air conditioning relies on the same circuit. Our sticky summers do involve some uncomfortable months, and you don’t want to forget your need for cooling equipment in your selection process. You can have both ducts and pipes, and some homeowners like having both options available. 

A conversion from a furnace to a boiler may be a challenge in that you will need to retrofit your home to include the pipes needed in a radiant heat system. It’s possible, but it will involve more than just a change of your unit. Some residents love the stability of radiant heat that is provided through pipes. Others prefer the speed with which a forced air system heats a home. 

One of the best steps you can take as you decide on a boiler vs furnace in Fairfax, VA is to contact one of our technicians at Commonwealth Cooling & Heating. We can assess your home’s existing system and needs to determine what options are viable. If you are in the design phase of a new home, we will be happy to consult with you and your architect to provide relevant insights. Contact us to discuss your interests.

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