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Warm Family Home

Boiler vs. Furnace vs. Heat Pump: What's the Difference?

Your home's HVAC system is arguably the heart of your house. It's what keeps you warm in the cold months or cooler in the hot months, but not all HVAC systems are the same. In fact, there are a few different types, which can confuse anyone who isn't an HVAC professional and doesn't know the difference. You might have a boiler, a furnace, or a heat pump to warm up your home, but if you don't quite understand how they differ from one another, we're about to give you the gist of it.


A boiler uses fuel that feeds it - whether it be natural fuel or electricity - to heat water or turn it into steam. The hot water or steam is circulated through the house via pipes and warms up the interior of your home.

Boilers are desirable because they don't require a lot of maintenance and hold heat a lot better since they use water as their primary heating method rather than air. A furnace does need to be maintained appropriately, however, because leaks can cause floods, and the pipes can freeze over in cold weather.


Unlike a boiler, a furnace uses the fuel it is given to heat up a set of coils within that heats air. The hot air is then circulated throughout the house and travels to the vents, where the warm air finally comes through.

The upsides are that you don't have to worry about leaks or frozen pipes, but furnaces can be drafty in the colder months and spread dust particles and allergens around due to relying on moving air.

Heat Pump

A heat pump is different from both a boiler and a furnace in the sense that it doesn't produce heat, but collects heat instead. During cold months, a heat pump pulls the heat from outside and circulates it through the house. During the warmer months, the heat pump draws heat from the inside and releases it outside.
A heat pump is very energy-efficient and works to remove humidity from the air while it heats and cools as well. Heat pumps can have leaky ducts too, unfortunately, and require a significant amount of maintenance - the fans, filter, and coils might have to be cleaned or replaced as much as 12 times a year or more.

Call Us Today

If you need an HVAC professional to help you figure out what kind of heater you have or need, call Harwich Port Heating and Cooling for more information. We'd be more than happy to help.

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