furnace vs. boiler

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Old 01-22-08, 03:52 PM
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Question furnace vs. boiler

I am in the planning stages of replacing an older furnace in my 3 story home. Right now it is an oil-fired furnace heating cast iron radiators.
Is there any advantage to using a boiler over a furnace? And how about whether to switch to gas vs. oil?
 
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Old 01-22-08, 04:05 PM
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A boiler is what you have. A boiler heats water. A furnace heats air. It is all in the terminology.

About oil vs. gas, it depends on the local price. In my area, oil is much more expensive than gas.
 
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Old 01-22-08, 07:39 PM
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Is there any advantage to using a boiler over a furnace?
Boiler Advantages
- can heat people without moving air (which cools people)
- more energy efficient to transport hot water than hot air
- easier to control and zone water
- can use the boiler to heat domestic water as well

Furnace Advantages
- if it leaks, it only leaks air
- no water inside to freeze if the power fails


And how about whether to switch to gas vs. oil?
Natural Gas Advantages
- can be cheaper
- allows use of modulating condensing boilers
- no tank (which can create insurance issues)
- easier for annual cleaning
- can use for BBQ, stove, dryer...

Fuel Oil Advantages
- can also be cheaper depending on market
- no gas line interruption risk
- can have more warning before CO posioning due to smoke
- natural gas reserves will run out before oil goes dry
 
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