Furnaces, Boilers, Heat Pumps — What’s the Difference?

Sure, you know that your home is equipped with a heater — how else would you stay warm throughout the winter? But do you know whether you have a boiler, furnace, or heat pump? It’s important to know what type of system you have so you know how to properly maintain it. Here we’ll briefly take a look at the most common heating and air conditioning in Cherry Hill, how each system works, and what advantages they offer.



This is by far the most common type of heating system in the US. It is a forced air system, which means that the furnace blows warm air through ducts in the house, delivering it through air registers or grills.

How it works: Electricity, gas, or oil is used to heat the air. Then, a blower distributes the warm air throughout the house.

Advantages: If you have a furnace, the same air circulation fan and ductwork can be used for cooling your home, as well. Another advantage to furnaces is that the air can be humidified, which can help reduce dry skin and bloody noses that are common in winter because of the warm, dry air.



While less common today, boilers are still used in many homes. Rather than heating the air, boilers, as the name might suggest, heat water.

How it works: Using gas, oil, or electricity, water is heated and then distributed through radiators or baseboards installed along the wall, which slowly release heat.

Advantages: No ductwork is needed for a boiler, which can make this system easier to install, especially in older homes. They are quiet and are typically more energy efficient than furnaces.


Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are beginning to gain popularity, especially the geothermal variety. They can function both as a heater and an air conditioner.

How it works: A heat pump exchanges heat with either the air or the ground, bringing in cold air in the summer and warm air in the winter.

Advantages: Heat pumps are generally more energy efficient because heat is being moved rather than generated. While geothermal pumps may be more practical than air-source pumps in colder climates, they can be difficult to install.


No matter what type of heating system you have, keep it running in tip-top shape by scheduling preventative maintenance with Cold 1 Services. We are proud to be one of the most affordable and reliable HVAC companies in South Jersey — give us a call today!

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