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Furnaces vs. Boilers

What's the Best Heater for Utah Winters?

Utah’s claim to fame as having the “best snow on earth” exists for a reason: Winters in the Wasatch Mountains can be brutal, with an average annual snowfall of 121 inches. With all that accumulation and chilly weather, it’s important for homeowners to have a heating system that can keep them warm all winter.

But which heating system is the best for Utah homeowners — a furnace or a boiler? In this blog post, the experts at Mountain Home Services discuss the pros and cons of each of these common heating systems, helping you make the most informed decision for your home’s heating needs.

Furnaces: Pros & Cons

Furnaces are common heating systems installed in Utah homes that generate heat and distribute warm air throughout the indoor environment.

They operate by burning fuel — either natural gas or oil — or using electricity to create heat, which is then transferred to the air and distributed throughout a series of ductwork. Choosing to install a furnace in your home comes with unique advantages and disadvantages, including:

Benefits of Furnaces

  • Efficiency: Furnaces are renowned for their heating efficiency, bringing your home up to the desired temperature quicker and providing reliable, even heating throughout the house.
  • Versatility: With a broad range of fuel types available, furnaces offer greater versatility, allowing homeowners to select the most cost-effective and convenient option that meets their needs.
  • Air quality: Many modern furnaces come with a built-in air filtration system that eliminates airborne contaminants to provide improved indoor air quality for your home, which is particularly important during the seasonal inversion that takes place during Utah winters.

Furnace Disadvantages

  • Investment: High-efficiency furnaces can be expensive to install initially and may involve modifications to your home’s existing heating system to ensure proper setup.
  • Fuel source: As energy supply fluctuations and rising costs continue to be a top concern across the country, homeowners will need to consider how these disruptions may impact their home comfort.
  • Maintenance: Furnaces are complex systems that require ongoing maintenance to ensure enhanced efficiency and reduced safety risks, such as carbon monoxide leaks.

Boilers: Pros & Cons

In addition to furnaces, homeowners can rely on a boiler as their heat source. Like furnaces, boilers generate and distribute heat throughout your home; however, a boiler achieves this by heating water and circulating this through a series of pipes or radiators rather than ductwork.

Boilers rely on fuel — such as natural gas or oil — to heat the water that’s used to heat your space. These systems offer several different benefits and potential drawbacks that should be carefully considered:

Benefits of Boilers

  • Efficiency: Boilers are known for their energy efficiency, evenly distributing heat throughout your space while minimizing heat loss for lower energy consumption and reduced expenses.
  • Zoning: By integrating your boiler with your zoned comfort system, you can easily control the temperature in different areas of your house, offering personalized comfort to your household members.
  • Durability: Compared to other heating systems, boilers boast impressive durability and longevity with proper system maintenance, lasting 30 years or longer depending on the condition and upkeep.

Boiler Disadvantages

  • Investment: Since a boiler requires piping and either a radiator or in-floor heating system to operate, the initial investment can be more expensive than some other heating options.
  • Space: Boilers typically take up more space than furnaces, requiring a network of pipes or radiators throughout your home, which may not be feasible for smaller homes.
  • Slow heating: Compared to forced-air systems like furnaces, boilers take much longer to bring your home to the desired temperature, which can be inconvenient if you want quick heating adjustments.

Choosing the Right Heater for Your Home

Ultimately, the decision to choose a boiler or furnace depends on your individual needs and preferences. When selecting your next heating system, consider:

  • Fuel source: Consider the availability of different fuel sources in your area and determine which energy source is most cost-effective and reliable.
  • Energy efficiency: Look for systems with an ENERGY STAR® rating to help reduce ongoing utility expenses and environmental impact.
  • Installation costs: Determine your budget for installation, including any necessary modifications your home may need to support the new unit.
  • Maintenance requirements: Evaluate the maintenance needs of the system as some heating units may require more upkeep than others.
  • Heating needs: Take the size of your home and comfort preferences into account to determine the best option for your needs.

Need help deciding which heating system is right for your Utah home? Trust the experts at Mountain Home Services to help you make the right decision. Our team will carefully assess your home’s size and individual comfort preferences to determine which of our top-quality heating systems is the right fit for your home.

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