A heat pump is a device that moves heat from one place to another. In the summer, a heat pump can be used like an air conditioner, moving heat from the inside of your home to the outside. In the winter, a heat pump can be used to move heat from the outside of your home to the inside. This heat can come from the ground, or from the air. A heat pump uses a small amount of electricity to move this heat. This makes heat pumps much more efficient than other types of heating, like electric furnaces. Heat pumps are most commonly used for heating and cooling homes, but they can also be used for other applications like pools and hot tubs. When used for heating a home, a heat pump can provide up to four times the amount of heat than what is provided by the electricity it uses.
Most people heat their homes using either a boiler or a furnace. But what's the difference between these two common heating systems?
A boiler heats water and then transforms it into steam or hot water. The steam or hot water is then circulated through pipes to radiators or baseboards which provide warmth to the rooms in your home.
Furnaces, on the other hand, heat air and then circulate it through the ducts in your home. The warmed air is then distributed through vents, which provide warmth to the rooms in your home. Furnaces are typically used in homes with forced-air heating systems, where the heated air is circulated through ducts.
Boilers are often called furnaces by homeowners. This statement is actually correct, while a furnace is not a boiler, a boiler is technically furnace. Plumbing and heating professionals typically refer to boilers when discussing forced hot water systems and furnaces when discussing forced hot air.
So, what's the main difference between boilers and furnaces? Boilers heat water while furnaces heat air.
Oil heat, propane, and natural gas are all common choices for furnaces and boilers. But how do you know which one is right for your home? Here is a quick rundown of the main differences between these three types of fuel and air source heat pumps.
Oil: Oil furnaces and boilers are typically less expensive to install than their natural gas or propane counterparts. This is because oil furnaces do not require gas piping infrastructure. However, oil is a less efficient fuel than either natural gas or propane, so your oil furnace or boiler will have higher operating costs over time. Propane: Propane is a more efficient fuel than oil, so your propane furnace or boiler will have lower operating costs than an oil furnace or boiler. However, propane can be more expensive to install than oil or natural gas. Propane requires external storage tanks which are typically rented from your propane supplier. Propane is a great alternative if natural gas is not available.
Natural gas: Natural gas is the most efficient of the three fuels, so your natural gas furnace or boiler will have the lowest operating costs. Natural gas is also typically the most expensive to install because it requires the utility connections at the street. Natural gas is also not available in most New Hampshire towns.
Heat Pumps: Heat pumps are more efficient than oil, propane, and natural gas furnaces for a variety of reasons. First, heat pumps use a refrigerant to transfer heat, rather than burning fuel to create heat. This means that heat pumps can convert more of the energy they use into heat, making them more efficient. Additionally, heat pumps can be used for both heating and cooling. This makes them a more versatile option than furnaces, which are only able to provide heat. Finally, newer heat pump models, such as inverter heat pumps, are designed to be even more efficient than traditional heat pumps. As a result, heat pumps offer a more efficient option for home heating and cooling.
A boiler is a furnace that heats water. A forced hot water boiler is a type of boiler in which water is heated by a gas or oil-fired burner and circulated through pipes to radiators, radiant floors, or baseboard heaters. Forced hot water boilers use mechanical pumps to circulate the water. This allows the boiler to reach high temperatures quickly and evenly distribute the heat throughout the home. As a result, forced hot water boilers are an efficient and effective way to heat a home.
When it comes to furnaces and boilers, there is a lot to consider in terms of efficiency. AFUE, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, measures how much of the fuel used by the furnace or boiler is actually converted into heat. The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the furnace or boiler. Furnaces and boilers can have an AFUE that ranges from 80 percent all the way up to 98 percent. The type of fuel used by the furnace or boiler also plays a role in its efficiency. For example, oil furnaces and boilers are typically less efficient than natural gas furnaces and boilers. As a result, when choosing a furnace or boiler, it is important to consider both the AFUE and the type of fuel being used.