Getting to the Basics: Remodeling Projects

Your New Older Home: Heat With A Boiler Or Furnace?

by Jill Jenkins

When you buy an older home, it can come with a lot of seemingly strange perks. Older homes often have original architecture, such as pulleys built into windows, ladders climbing the sides of homes, and even laundry elevators. There might even be another structure in your new home that reminds you of the heat source in your childhood grade school- a radiator. This begs the question: should you heat your home with a boiler, or switch to a modern furnace? Ask yourself a few key questions to find this out for yourself.

Do you want to keep your home's integrity?

Many homeowners choose to keep boiler heating because they enjoy the unique appeal of the exposed radiators. You may want to do the same, especially if there are other areas of your home that are original. Vintage hardwood floors, china cabinets, claw foot tubs, and storage spaces actually complement the radiators that keep your home warm, and you may feel nostalgic in keeping them. If your older house has been otherwise remodeled, however, switching to a furnace may be your best option, since a boiler may appear out of place and dated.

What condition is your boiler in?

In many cases, you may find that your radiators are in great repair, but the boiler is rusted and the supply or return pipes need replacing. You may think that simply buying a new boiler will fix the issue, but this often creates a whole new problem. Modern boilers are usually gas-based, which can cause issues in the chimney flues of older homes as the home is heated. The chimney is a common resource for releasing energy out of the home. Talk to a boiler repair technician and see which is better: replacing your boiler if it is in poor condition, or simply upgrading to a furnace for heating your home. They can give you the pros and cons of each option, and allow you to make a safe and confident decision.

Are you interested in energy efficiency?

Luckily, both boilers and furnaces can be designed for high energy efficiency. This means you can heat your home while making sure that the majority of energy used is actually being uitlized in your home. Boilers are tested by their annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). Essentially, your boiler is judged by the percentage of fossil fuel used to heat the home versus the percentage that is wasted in heat loss around the unit or via your chimney.

Furnaces are rated much the same way as boilers are, and both styles of home heating can be upgraded to more efficient models. When it comes to this question, it's basically a toss-up. Choose whichever heat source sounds right for you and your older home.

When it comes to your older home, continuing to heat it with a boiler may be a great option to maintain the integrity of your home's classic style. If your boiler is in poor repair or you want to give your home an upgrade, switching to modern furnace heating may be just what you need. The choice is yours, and it all boils down to what really works best for you. Talk to your local boiler experts, such as Custom Comfort, for more information.