The Difference Between a Furnace and a Water Heater

26589372 – house boiler room with coal-fired central heating furnace system

Do you take long showers or are you always cold at night? Do you live in an area with harsh winters? The questions to these answers can help you answer whether you should get a furnace or water heater in your home. But what is the difference between a furnace and water heater? Here is a brief breakdown of the two:


A furnace is a forced air system that uses fuel like gas or electricity to heat coils in the unit. A fan in the device blows air across the warm coils where it is filtered throughout the house to heat your home. A furnace is an efficient and cost effective way to heat your home, but does dry out the air quicker, causing allergy symptoms like dry nasal passages to worsen.

Water Heater

A water heater connects your plumbing to your gas or electricity line. In a water heater, coils at the bottom of the tank are heated by your energy system, warming the water in the tank so it is ready for use. A water heater differs from a boiler in that a boiler has piping that runs underneath your floorboards to provide both hot water and hot air. Water heaters are more common in America since we have stagnant seasons and boilers are more common in countries with harsher winters.

If you are needing a furnace or water heater installed or repaired in Santa Cruz, Marin, Santa Clara, and Sonoma, Bellows Plumbing, Heating & Air provides services to both units. Call us today at 831-244-6718.

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