Wood Furnace vs. Wood Boiler

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People often refer to furnaces and boilers as though the terms were interchangeable, but the two are not the same. Learn the fundamental differences between these two heating systems.

What is a Wood Furnace?

A wood furnace burns wood to heat air around the combustion chamber and heat exchange surfaces. The hot air is then blown through ducts to various locations in the building.

What is a Wood Boiler?

A wood boiler burns wood to heat water around the combustion chamber and in the heat exchange tubes. The hot water is then circulated through pipes to radiating surfaces around the the building. Boilers do not have to create boiling water and steam to be considered boilers.

What are the Differences Between Wood Furnaces and Wood Boilers?

Flexibility:  The primary difference between furnaces and boilers is the heat exchange medium.  Furnaces use air and boilers use water.  Boilers offer more flexible installation because it is easy to move a large quantity of heat through small pipes.  While boilers can be installed in remote locations, that is not sensible with furnaces, as the air cools too rapidly as it travels and is difficult to move over long distances.  Air also does not hold as much heat as water.  Air also does not exchange heat as readily as water.  That means that boilers are often more efficient than furnaces.  The use of large fans to move air requires more power consumption than circulators, which are used to move hot water.
Cost: Boilers are generally built with heavier materials and more complex construction to hold water under low pressure.  Furnaces tend to be made with lighter materials with less complex workmanship.  For these reasons, furnaces tend to be less expensive.
Comfort: Many people feel that hot water heat is more comfortable than hot air heat because hot water heat does not tend to dry out the air as much in winter.  Air heat can also stir up dust and dirt in the air.  Furnaces have an advantage in that ducts used to move heat in winter can also be used to move chilled air in the summer.
Longevity: Because the steel used in Froling boilers is in contact with water, it never overheats.  This is why water-cooled engines typically last longer than air-cooled engines.  Furnaces are harder to protect from heat and therefore will warp or crack much sooner than boilers.

Discover the Wood Boilers Available at Tarm Biomass

With all the benefits of wood boilers, they're an excellent choice for homes and businesses. At Tarm Biomass, we can help you find the best wood boiler for your needs. Get in touch with us today for more information.



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