boilersIf you want to be comfortable in your home throughout the changing seasons, having an adequate heating system is a must. But if you’re planning on building or renovating your house, you might be confused about which type of heating system will work best. Most homeowners will decide between three different types of central home heating systems: furnaces, boilers, or heat pumps. Each of these heating systems functions a bit differently from the others, which means that there are distinct advantages and disadvantages of each. Below, we’ve broken down the differences between these systems, as well as their pros and cons.


Furnaces work by heating the air in your home and circulating it through the ductwork, where it comes up through vents or registers found on your floor, walls, or ceiling. Sometimes referred to as “forced air systems,” furnaces can run on natural gas, propane, oil, or electricity. In newer homes, furnaces are quite common, but they can be installed in older homes, too.

Pros of Furnaces

  • They have a long lifespan (15 to 25 years, on average), so furnace replacement isn’t often necessary
  • They won’t freeze in cold weather and will cause less damage with a leak
  • They’re less expensive to install (will sometimes cost half the price of a boiler)
  • There are high-efficiency options (AFUE ratings of 90-95% have more advanced features and save money and energy over time)

Cons of Furnaces

  • They require more maintenance on a regular basis
  • They may negatively impact indoor air quality
  • They make more noise
  • They don’t heat every room with equal efficiency (some spots may be colder than others in your home)


These units heat your home by first heating the water within it. The water is then moved through pipes that connect to radiators or baseboard heaters. Cooler water is then cycled through the system back to the boiler to be reheated. These systems will typically be run on heating oil or natural gas, but can also be run on electricity and even wood. Unlike furnaces, these systems don’t require ductwork.

Pros of Boilers

  • They provide even heat distribution (no cold spots or rooms)
  • They’re better for allergy sufferers
  • They also have high efficiency options
  • They require less maintenance overall

Cons of Boilers

  • They don’t react as quickly to thermostat changes
  • They’re more difficult to install
  • They’re more expensive and difficult to convert from
  • They pose a threat of water damage in the event of a leak

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are a bit different because they address both heating and cooling concerns. In the summer, they work as air conditioning units, while during the wintertime, they take heat from outside and move it indoors throughout your home. They operate by delivering air similar to how a furnace or air conditioner operates, using a forced air system.

Pros of Heat Pumps

  • They can reduce your energy bills
  • They have excellent energy efficiency
  • They’re eco-friendly

Cons of Heat Pumps

  • They’re not as effective in freezing locations
  • They may not make your home feel consistently cozy
  • You may require additional heating methods to make up the difference

Winter may be officially over, but that means it’s the perfect time to plan ahead for next year. To schedule your annual maintenance appointment or to find out more about what heating system would work best for your home and your family’s needs, contact Jones Heating and Air today!