Lennox Furnace vs. Boiler: Which Is Right For Wisconsin Homeowners?

While many people use the terms “furnace” and “boiler” interchangeably, the truth is that these two heating systems are very different from one another. Understanding the intricacies of each system can go a long way in helping you navigate how to properly maintain your system, or identify when something might have gone wrong and needs professional repair.

The difference between a Lennox furnace and a boiler

The biggest difference between a furnace and a boiler is the manner in which heat is transferred throughout the home. As you might guess, boilers work by heating water in a tank which is then forced into pipes throughout the home and released into rooms via radiators or baseboard heaters. Boilers can be powered by electricity or gas. 

Some people confuse water heaters and boilers, and while their mechanisms and functionality are similar, it’s important to remember that water heaters are plumbing devices that service your faucets, showers and appliances, while boilers are strictly used to create heat in your home. 

Furnaces, on the other hand, are forced air systems that move heated air throughout the home. Furnaces are oil, gas or electric-powered, and work by heating air that is passed through a system called a heat exchanger. The exchanger, in tandem with fans, then forces the heated air into ducts throughout the home.

How to choose the right heating system for your style of home

If you’re considering a remodel, or are building a new home, you will want to understand the benefits and potential limitations of each system, so that you can make an informed decision that works for your style of home.


One of the greatest benefits of a boiler heating system is that they tend to require less maintenance than other HVAC systems due to their mechanical simplicity and lower number of moving parts. With less parts to worry about, your boiler may last several decades when properly installed and cared for. 

Additionally, because heat is transferred through pipes in the home, homeowners don’t need to worry about drafty or blowing air (a common complaint with furnaces/forced air systems).

A common concern that we often hear is that boilers are considerably more expensive than furnaces or other heating systems, and while it’s true that boilers tend to be more costly to install, their longevity and efficient performance make up the expense over time. 

Both electric and gas boilers perform very well and use energy efficiently, largely in part to the way heat is generated. 

Water maintains heat more evenly and consistently than air, which can save you money on your electricity bill. Large homes and homes with multiple stories can save considerable sums of money using boiler heat.

Gas furnaces are very popular in Wisconsin because the ductwork can be integrated into a central air conditioning system for use in the summertime months. This two-for-one bargain, so to speak, is attractive to many homeowners seeking to simplify the systems in their homes. Older homes and homes in rural areas that may not have electric utility infrastructure will greatly benefit from a gas furnace system.

Furnaces also tend to heat up more quickly than boilers. This is in large part due to their heating mechanism. Furnaces merely heat the air, whereas boilers need to bring water up to the proper temperature before it can begin circulating heat through the home. 

Because furnaces heat your home using ductwork and forced air, it’s critically important that you clean your air filters regularly throughout the year. During the cold winter months when your furnace is working day and night, allergens, pet dander and other particles can be blown about and cause health concerns. Lennox PureAir systems are a great way to improve indoor air quality and can be easily integrated into your existing furnace.

About Lennox furnaces and boilers

Whether you’re considering a boiler or furnace for your home, there’s one brand that Ozaukee and Washington county homeowners have trusted for decades: Lennox. Lennox HVAC systems are among the most efficient, affordable and long lasting units on the market. Homeowners choose Lennox because they are reliable, American made and time tested. 

Lennox furnaces are offered in 23 different models, each with outstanding performance and crafted with your budget in mind. Lennox furnaces are offered in three collections:

  • The Signature Collection
  • Elite Series
  • Merit Series

Lennox Signature furnaces are the most high end models and are the quietest, most efficient furnaces available. Most Signature models are ENERGY STAR® Qualified. The Elite series is Lennox’s mid-tier product with some models offering two stage heating and power saving technology. Lennox’s most affordable furnaces, the Merit series, are available in variable speed capacities that can be operated by gas or oil. 

If you’re looking to invest in a new boiler, look no further than the many models offered by Lennox. There are seven boilers to choose from, with multiple options in every price bracket. Lennox offers three ENERGY STAR® Qualified boilers all with high efficiency ratings. The mid-tier models come in oil or gas fuel options, and deliver affordable whole-home comfort. 

Lennox even offers a steam boiler at their most affordable price point.There’s a quality, long lasting Lennox boiler for every budget! 

Choose a trusted installer who offers transparent pricing

Purchasing a new boiler or furnace is a big investment and you’ll want to get estimates from several HVAC companies before making a decision. One of the most important factors to consider is how transparent each contractor is in their estimate. Have they outlined all of the fees? Can you see what each aspect of the job will cost, or have they bundled it all into one line item? Do they take the time to answer all of your questions, even days after they’ve left your home? You want to choose an HVAC professional that will walk you through every aspect of your estimate.

The boiler and furnace pros at Jackson Hardware Heating & A/C make it a point to approach every job with honesty, integrity and upfront pricing. We always provide the most competitive price on all Lennox products and installations, and we never charge our customers for our advice and insights. 

Be sure to check our latest sales and specials to get extra savings on your new Lennox installation.

Our friendly service professionals are available 24/7 to answer your questions and offer assistance in the event of emergencies. Call us at 262-677-3477 to find out how we can help you heat your home this winter.

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