Boiler vs. Furnace vs. Hot Water Heater – What’s the Difference

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Many homeowners don’t know much about the boiler, furnace or hot water heater in their homes. Some homeowners even use the term “boiler” or “furnace” interchangeably. Inability to understand how these three systems work at home is a lost opportunity. Understanding how these three systems work at home can help you better decide which one is appropriate for your home energy needs. This can help you better plan your home's energy budget. Let’s start with the difference between boiler and water heater.

Boilers vs. water heater vs. furnace

Water heaters at home are not part of the HVAC system, but rather the plumbing system. This is because their role starts and ends with the water’s temperature that supplies your showers, washing machine, dishwasher and faucets.

The debate surrounding “hot water heater vs. boiler” tends to confuse lots of people. So what do boilers actually do? Boilers also do heat water, but apart from providing hot water, they warm your home by spreading the hot water throughout your home via a number of pipes and baseboard radiators. Boilers are categorized as HVAC systems since they are built to not only provide hot water, but also heat homes during cold days.

Furnaces, just like boilers, are also categorized as HVAC systems. Furnaces also aid in heating your home, but rather than using water like boilers do, they heat the air then they circulate the warmed air around your home via ducts. Lots of people use the terms “boiler” and “furnace” interchangeably – and this could land you in trouble when contacting a HVAC specialist for repair. It’s worth mentioning that if your HVAC system has radiators, it’s a boiler. If your HVAC system has duct work, then it’s a furnace.

So what’s the difference between furnace vs heater? The main difference between furnace and hot water heater is: A furnace is a HVAC system whereas a hot water heater is a plumbing system. A furnace heats your home whereas a hot water heater heats your water, and then pumps it via pipes for showering, dishwashing etc.

HVAC company near me

Are you looking for an HVAC professional near you to help with HVAC installation or repairs? Or do you need some advice choosing the right HVAC system for your home? If you’re in Atlanta, GA, contact Moncrief Heating & Air Conditioning to replace your HVAC Unit in Atlanta or if you’re looking for HVAC Contractors Atlanta. If you’re in Buckhead, GA, they provide HVAC in Buckhead, too!