Boiler vs. Furnace, Which Is Better?

As it gets colder in Memphis, TN, it’s essential to have a heating system that is reliable and efficient. This way, you and your family will be safe and comfortable in your home when winter arrives.

However, choosing which type of heating system to install in your home can be challenging. Although boilers and furnaces serve the same purpose, they work differently. 

The best heating system for your home depends on the size of the property, energy efficiency, budget, and much more. For this reason, we’ll discuss all of the differences between a boiler vs. furnace in today’s guide.

What’s the Difference?

The main difference between boilers and furnaces is the method they use to heat your home. Simply put, boilers use hot water or steam from heated water to warm up your home. Furnaces, on the other hand, use warm air. 

However, the contrast goes deeper than just that. The ways each heating system operates to provide warmth during harsh Memphis, TN, winter conditions are quite different. 

For this reason, it’s important to examine other factors such as initial installation cost and maintenance cost to determine which one is best for your Memphis, TN, home.

How Do Boilers & Furnaces Work?

Boilers heat up water and turn it into steam or hot water before transferring it throughout your home in pipes. Furnaces, meanwhile, heat up air and use blowers to disperse it through your home’s duct system. 

Furthermore, boilers run using oil, electricity, natural gas, or wooden pellets. They heat water to scalding temperatures and use a unique pump to heat baseboard radiators, cast iron radiators, or radiant flooring systems through your Memphis, TN home. 

Since boilers don’t use a blower as furnaces do, they provide radiantly heated air, which is a more comfortable option.

Furnace heating systems use natural gas, propane, or electricity to run. Although furnaces can create high ambient temperatures in your Memphis, TN, home, the air can be less comfortable than that heated by boilers because of the associated dryness.

It’s important to note that both furnaces and boilers are used in conjunction with AC systems to cool off your home in the summer. However, certain homes may require additional ductwork or a ductless system for this to be possible.

Maintenance Requirements

The maintenance requirements between boilers and furnaces are quite different. First of all, boilers require much less maintenance than furnaces do. We recommend scheduling an annual tune-up from a Memphis, TN, local technician.

However, furnaces require much more than just an annual inspection. In addition to a yearly inspection, you’ll need to get your air filter changed monthly or quarterly. You may need to change your furnaces’ air filters even more often if you have pets or have family members with sensitive allergies or asthma. 

Furthermore, a local technician needs to examine natural gas boilers and natural gas furnaces once a year for potential carbon monoxide poisoning or natural gas leaks. 

Boiler vs. Furnace: Pros and Cons

Next, let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type of heating system. We’ll start with the boiler.


The radiant heat from a boiler system provides much more comfortable air than the forced air from a furnace. Furthermore, boilers are more energy-efficient, create better air quality inside your Memphis, TN, home, and are less noisy than furnaces.

You’ll see a decrease in your monthly energy bill when using a boiler, and your family will be able to breathe in healthier air. 

Additionally, no ductwork is required since the heat is provided through radiant baseboards and flooring. The heated water from the system can also be used for your shower, dishwasher, or laundry machine.

However, boilers are more expensive to install and also more difficult to install than furnaces. Furthermore, if a boiler leak occurs in your Memphis, TN, home, your home may be vulnerable to severe water damage.


Furnaces are less expensive and easier to install than boilers. As such, your local technician will be able to install your new furnace in a few hours. On the other hand, it may take several days to complete a new boiler installation.

However, furnaces are less energy-efficient than boilers and use fuel more quickly. As such, your monthly energy costs will be higher when you install a brand-new Memphis, TN, furnace.

Furthermore, furnaces have reduced heat consistency, are noisier, and have inferior air quality compared to boilers. For this reason, it’s important to speak with your local technician before ultimately deciding on which heating system to get. 

Professional HVAC Services in Memphis, TN

At Nance Services, we provide heating and air conditioning services throughout Memphis and the surrounding area. If you’re interested in upgrading your heating system or installing a heating system in your new home, give us a call. 

After we examine your home and talk through your needs and budget, we’ll determine the best solution for you. Our goal at Nance Services is to provide a personalized HVAC experience that’s focused on customer satisfaction.

Contact Nance Services of Memphis, TN, today to get started on your new heating system.

Nance Services is a full-service HVAC & Plumbing Company based in Memphis, TN. Follow our blog for valuable homeowner tips, and updates from your favorite team of plumbing and HVAC professionals.