Furnaces and Boilers

Understanding heating oil furnaces and boilers

Today’s oil boilers and oil furnaces offer Wisconsin homeowners a great opportunity to increase their comfort while decreasing their energy usage. New systems can now heat a home using significantly less energy compared to older generation equipment.

As just one example, energy-efficient equipment can be installed with controls to use only as much fuel as needed to heat your home or a specific part of your home.

While a heating oil furnace or a heating oil boiler will both keep your home warm, it’s important to understand the difference. This will help you to make smart choices if you’re considering replacing your old heating system with a new, high-efficiency model. And if you’re having a heating problem, knowing more about how your equipment works will be helpful when you consult with your oilheat service technician.

Heating oil furnaces

Also known as warm-air or forced-air systems, furnaces produce heated air in the combustion chamber.

  • This heated air is sent into your home with the help of a blower fan.
  • The fan blows the heated air through a network of air ducts before the warm air reaches you through registers or vents throughout your home.
  • Modern-day furnaces can operate at a range of speeds and feature other efficiency-enhancing features including microprocessor-based controls, high-pressure flame-retention burners and durable heat exchangers.

The advantage of having a furnace

Besides heat, the ductwork that connects with your furnace can provide other kinds of conditioned air, including through:

  • a central air conditioning system
  • a whole-house humidifier
  • an air cleaning system or air purifier

Heating oil boilers

When you have a heating oil boiler system, the process starts when water goes through the combustion chamber.

  • Thanks to a circulator, the hot water gets pumped through the pipes to heat either baseboards or radiators throughout the home.
  • The water then makes it back to the boiler and the process begins again.
  • Older steam boiler systems work similarly except they generate steam, which rises up to radiators (no circulators are needed).
  • A low water cut-off shuts down the boiler if water levels drop too low, preventing boiler damage.

A boiler can reduce your water heating costs

A great advantage of having a boiler is that you can connect it to an indirect-fired oil water heater.

An indirect-fired water heater uses the water heated by your oil boiler to heat the water in your water heater’s storage tank. (The boiler-heated water never comes in contact with the water in the tank). An indirect-fired water heater heats water super-fast and it saves you money!

If you want to take advantage of today’s energy-efficient heating oil systems, your local heating oil company will work with you to design a new heating system that fits your home and your budget.

Contact your local heating oil company to get an estimate on the cost to replace your boiler or furnace. You may also qualify for a rebate for replacing your old oil furnace or oil boiler with a new one!