What's the Difference Between a Heater, Furnace, Boiler?

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What's the Difference Between a Heater, Furnace, Boiler?

When it’s cold outside, we want it warm in our house and we really don’t spend too much time thinking about how it got that way. In other words, we take our central heating system for granted. This is OK until your heating system starts acting up, then we become very interested in how and why it works and if it is going to keep on working. So, it can be a great idea to become familiar with the different components that make up your heating system. 

Here in the Fort Wayne, Decatur, Angola, Indianapolis, Greenwood and Mishawaka, IN areas, there are a few different options for heating your home. Masters Heating & Cooling is proficient with all of them, so let’s take a quick look at how heat is generated – and then circulated – throughout your home.



This is a somewhat vague term in that a heater is basically just a device that heats up an environment. Central heating systems will generally utilize a location for the heating device, such as a service room, basement or attic. Once the heater produces warm/hot air, the central heating system will circulate the air throughout the home via a blower and a ductwork system. The most common heating device for residential central heating systems is a….


The majority of homes in the United States and North America rely on a furnace. Powered by electricity, natural gas or fuel oil, the furnace heats air, then forces it through the home via an electric motor and ventilation system. 


The differences between a furnace and boiler are stark, but relatively simple. While a furnace uses warm air to heat the home, the boiler uses hot water to circulate heat throughout the home. Hot water gives out heat as it is pumped by the boiler through the home via baseboard, radiators, or radiant heat flooring systems (pipes underneath the floors of your home), then the cooler water is returned to the boiler to be reheated. A steam boiler turns the water into steam, then pumps it through the home. Boilers are generally fueled by gas or oil.

Masters offers options for both types of heaters and heating systems. We offer a full line of Carrier furnaces and central heating equipment. We also carry Burnham, Weil McClain and Lochinvar boilers and products. Another heating option that we offer is geothermal heating. A geothermal system utilizes the near-constant temperature in the soil around your home to deliver warm or cool air. Call us today to find out more about geothermal systems. 

Masters can fill you in on all of our furnace and boiler options and guide you through the installation process. Remember … Masters gets there faster! Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.