Some people refer to their home heating system as a furnace, but that’s not always the case: sometimes, your home actually uses a boiler. Knowing the difference between these two pieces of equipment can be helpful when it comes to getting the most from them or troubleshooting heating problems with a qualified technician.
A furnace is the heart of a “forced air” system. If you have vents in your house, rather than baseboards or radiators, you have a furnace. The furnace burns fuel (such as heating oil) to heat air, then uses blowers to push that warmed air through ductwork and into your living space. Air is recycled to the furnace via return ducts to keep temperatures at the setting designated by your thermostat.
Getting the most from your furnace
All forced air systems use air filters to reduce dust and other pollutants in your indoor air. Check this filter about once a month when your system is in use, cleaning or replacing the filter (depending on your model) as needed. Instructions for how to do this are included in your furnace’s owner’s manual; if you can’t figure out how to do it, contact us. It’s also critical to have your furnace maintained by a professional every year to maintain efficiency and spot potential problems before they turn into costly heating repairs.
There are two basic types of boiler: hydronic (hot water) and steam. A hydronic boiler burns fuel to heat water, then pumps it through pipes and into your baseboards or radiators (if you have baseboard heating or radiators rather than vents, you have a boiler). Eventually, the water returns to the unit to begin the cycle again.
A steam boiler operates more or less the same way as a hydronic boiler but converts water into steam before sending it through to your radiators and baseboards.
Getting the most from your boiler
If your baseboards aren’t getting warm, check to see if the damper is open, and make sure the bottom of the unit isn’t blocked by heavy carpeting. For steam systems, check the boiler’s water gauge; low water levels can shut down your boiler.
Steam boilers should also be flushed when the water in the gauge looks rusty; if you don’t know how to do this, contact us for service. As with a furnace, annual heating tune-ups from a licensed professional are a must for a boiler.
Keys for all heating systems
Getting the most from your heating system starts with expert heating installations and heating maintenance in North Jersey and continues with reliable heating oil deliveries in NJ. Get all three with the experts at Fredericks Fuel – contact us today to learn more!