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Aug 27 2019

Differentiating Between Boilers, Furnaces, and Water Heaters

There are three primary heating appliances that are used to provide heat and hot water to homes and businesses throughout Illinois, Indiana, and the country: boilers, furnaces, and water heaters. However, most people don’t understand the differences between these three appliances, and may not even know which type they have in their home! At Van Drunen Heating & Air Conditioning, we can help you to differentiate between boilers, furnaces, and water heaters,  understand the maintenance needs of each, and repair your system or replace it if it’s especially dated and ineffective. Here’s a basic overview of what you should know:


The American Boiler Manufacturers Association (ABMA) defines a boiler as “a pressure vessel that provides a heat transfer surface (generally a set of tubes) between the combustion products and the water.” In other words, a boiler is a system that heats water and turns that water into steam. Originally used for transportation and machine power (think the steam engine!), boilers are still used in homes and businesses today, but are less common.  


Furnaces are used for high-temperature heating. Today, most furnaces run off of gas or electricity, and work by warming air and then circulating it through the home via ducts. Furnaces, unlike boilers, are not used to heat water; rather, the purpose of the furnace is to create hot air for the home. 

Water Heaters

Most homeowners cannot imagine life without hot water on demand, but it wasn’t always possible to turn on the tap and have hot water – water heaters changed that. Tank-type water heaters (either electric or fuel-fired) are the most common and work by heating and storing water until it’s ready for use. Then, the hot water is distributed from the tank to wherever it’s called for in the home. 

We Provide Services for All Three

At Van Drunen Heating & Air Conditioning, we provide comprehensive services for all three types of heating systems – boilers, furnaces, and water heaters. We have been in the business for over 50 years, and are familiar with all makes and models of heating appliances. If you have a dated system that is inefficient, we can provide removal and new installation services.

Call Us Today to Learn More

Knowing how to take care of the appliances in your home is important and can save you money and headache. To learn more about how to maintain your water heater, furnace, or boiler, or to schedule fast repairs, please call us today. Our team is here to serve you and is passionate about providing the guidance you need. Reach our heating and air conditioning professionals today online or by phone. 



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