Owning a home comes with having to learn about things such as roofing, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems. Most new homeowners have limited knowledge about these important home features or the benefits of choosing certain types over others. 

For instance, when it comes to heating systems, do you know the primary differences between a boiler and a furnace? If you’re buying a new home, or need to replace the heating system in your current one, do you know the pros and cons of choosing one over the other? 

At To the T Plumbing and Heating of Northern Colorado, we get a lot of questions regarding which is better, so here are a few tips that we’d like to pass along. 

How Furnaces and Boilers Function

First, it’s important to understand that a furnace and a boiler create heat differently. A boiler uses gas, oil, or electricity to heat water which is then pumped through radiators or radiant heat flooring throughout your home. A furnace, on the other hand, uses electricity, natural gas, or propane to heat air that is then circulated from room to room utilizing ductwork.  

Choosing the Right Heating System

If you’re building a new home or upgrading an old heating system, then you probably already know that your heating system is going to be a significant investment. That being said, you want to make sure that you choose the right one for your needs. When it comes to installing a furnace versus a boiler, there’s no one right answer for everyone. Here are a few of the primary factors you should consider.

Initial Cost

Most people who live in modern homes have furnaces. That’s because even though there are some clear advantages to installing a boiler, the cost isn’t usually one of them. On average, furnaces cost much less, plus they are usually less expensive to install. That means you’re spending less on both parts and labor. However, keep in mind that this is just a general estimate. 

There are many different types and sizes of both furnaces and boilers. If you’re interested in getting more specific information on the cost difference for installing one over the other in your Colorado home, please give us a call! 

Maintenance Cost

Regardless of which heating system you choose, there will be some maintenance required. With boilers, maintenance is usually minimal – an annual inspection is often all that you’ll need. With a furnace, however, you’ll need to replace the filter regularly and you’ll want to get your ductwork cleaned every 2-3 years. 

Furnaces also have more mechanical parts that are prone to breaking from time to time so you’ll likely also incur some repair costs over the life of your furnace. With proper care, furnaces and boilers have roughly the same lifespan of about 15-20 years.   

Energy Efficiency

How efficiently your heating system works will depend on several factors, but in general, the more efficient your system works, the more comfortable you’ll be and the less you’ll have to pay to maintain that comfort. 

Old boilers have a reputation for not being very energy efficient, but newer models are highly efficient. Furnaces, on the other hand, are usually not quite as efficient because much of the heated air is lost throughout the ductwork. Therefore, you’ll likely be more comfortable in a home heated with a boiler, but whether or not it costs more to do so will depend on the type of fuel that is used. 

Many people can save significantly on their heating bills by using a gas-powered boiler to heat their homes. This may help to offset the higher initial cost to install the system.


While both systems are designed to help keep you and your family warm when it’s cold outside, boilers are known for generating a more even and consistent type of heat. That means not having hot and cold spaces throughout your home. Another comfort factor to consider is how furnaces affect those who are prone to allergies. Since furnaces distribute more dust and allergens throughout your home by way of the ductwork, people with allergies may find that they have fewer symptoms when they’re in a home that is heated with a boiler.

Furnace and Boiler Installation in Northern Colorado

Whether you’ve already made up your mind on the type of heating system you’d like to install, or want to talk to a professional who can help you understand the full range of options as well as the pros and cons of each, To the T Plumbing and Heating can help. We’re a family-owned and operated business, serving our friends and neighbors in Northern Colorado for over 15 years. If you need a new heating system, give us a call – we would be happy to help! 

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