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Furnace or Boiler Heating OptionsYou may have heard of radiant heating and boilers and wondered if either of these heating options is a good one for your home. Nearly all homes in Florida use forced-air furnaces or heat pumps rather than boilers, and if they use radiant heat, it’s more likely in the form of space heaters.

Although Florida temperatures dip below freezing periodically and snow falls, it’s generally not a climate where boilers and radiant heating systems are beneficial. They work best in places where winters are long and cold. They’re not as beneficial as forced-air furnaces in mild to warm climates because:

  • Homes heated with radiant heat cool off slowly. When the weather warms into the 60s and 70s, you may actually need to turn on the A/C to be comfortable, especially for sleeping at night.
  • They cost more than forced-air furnaces and heat pumps. It takes longer to see a payback from the cost of a boiler and its installation in warm climates, since the system won’t be used as much as a furnace would be.

Differences Between Forced-Air and Boiler Systems

A forced-air furnace consists of a burner, a fan and motor and a network of ductwork. Heat pumps are similar but since they don’t use fuel, they don’t need a burner. Both of these heating options warm the air and then send it through the ductwork to heat your home.

A boiler heats water and pumps it through a network of pipes and tubes to radiate warmth into rooms. It doesn’t use fans or filters like a furnace does. Tubing goes under the floor or pipes feed the water into baseboards or radiators.

Since radiant heating systems have fewer moving parts, they last longer. It’s not surprising for one to last 30 years and longer, while a furnace’s lifetime ranges from 15 to 20 years.

Even though boilers heat homes very well, they’re not necessarily the best system type for this area. For more information about your heating options, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions, providing HVAC services for Orlando-area homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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