Boiler vs. Furnace for Massachusetts Homes

Boiler vs Furnace - Framingham, Ashland, Metro West Choosing between a furnace or boiler for your Massachusetts home?

One isn’t better than the other. Which one you choose comes down to your needs and budget.

We’ll show you the pros and cons of each heating system.

Boiler pros and cons


Boilers can be used in combination with radiant heat— A radiant heat system can circulate hot water through your walls, floors or ceilings, causing them to radiate heat and making you more comfortable.

Easier to do “zone heating”— That is, heating only the rooms you use.

Boilers are more energy efficient than furnaces—Boilers heat your home by transferring water to the radiators or baseboard heaters inside your home. There’s no heat lost in this distribution process, unlike how furnaces distribute heated air through leaky air ducts (see furnace cons below).


Boilers are much more expensive than furnaces— You still need air ducts for cooling your home with the AC. So if you go with a boiler, you’ll need to have 2 distribution systems (air ducts cooling and steam radiants for boilers.)

Furnace pros and cons


Relatively inexpensive— Furnaces deliver air through a duct system, which your air conditioner already uses. So you’re only adding the furnace, not a new distribution system (unlike the boiler).


Inefficient compared to boilers— Because furnaces deliver air via ducts, they lose some of their efficiency due to air duct leakages, forcing the furnace to run longer.

Can contribute to poor indoor air quality— Because furnaces use air ducts to distribute heated air, they can also distribute dust and other particles throughout your home.

Need boiler and furnace installation estimates in the Framingham area?

Contact Nicholson to get free installations costs on both boilers and furnaces.

Nicholson Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning gladly serves Framingham, Ashland and the Metro West area.

Our level of commitment to our customer and superior service is the reason you can find comfort in choosing Nicholson Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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Read about all the great things our customers have to say about us!
  • Francis from Nicholson Plumbing and Heating was excellent. He was here to evaluate HVAC in our home. He was very patient and answered all my questions. He is also polite and easy to communicate with him. He explained technical concepts to me in layperson terms!

    - Shelley S.

  • Nicholson offered what is possibly the best customer service I have dealt with in a home repair situation.  I called them because I was looking to replace my very old furnace.  They came out to do an initial estimate, and then came back when I had some further questions about my options.  After installing the furnace, they ran into some problems with my air ducts.  This happened on a Friday, and the problem was fixed by Monday afternoon.  In addition to their excellent service, they did quality work at a fair price.  I would recommend them to anyone looking for an HVAC company in the Framingham area!

    - Melissa T.

  • Recently used these guys because my HVAC unit AC wasn’t working (first hot day of summer).  Showed up on time, wore booties, fixed the unit.  During the visit we talked about how my unit was having problems in the winter – which was resulting in NSTAR service calls of maybe 3-4 times per season (I am on a service plan with them).   He was the first guy to tell me WHY the problem was happening, and HOW to fix it.  I find it strange that all of the NSTAR guys etc. no one took time to point out how to fix the source of the problem…Very professional, smart.  I would use them again, and plan to for the fix on my heating unit!

    - Ben J.

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