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Heaters vs. Furnaces: What’s the Difference?

Here at Sky HVAC, we want to help you stay warm this winter. Two terms that you’ll hear a lot when it comes to residential heating systems are heaters and furnaces. While these are often used interchangeably, there is a distinction between them. Our team believes in giving you the information you need to make educated decisions about your home. In this article, we will be going over what the difference between these two terms is and when you might need to know it.

Modern home furnace heaters use gas

  • Heaters- Simply put, the word “heaters” is used as a catch-all term for any device or system that provides heat to a building, regardless of the specific mechanism. For many centuries, the main heaters were primitive fireplaces that concentrated heat in a relatively small radius. The concept of central heating is actually older than you might think, dating back to Roman times when an underground source of combustion would distribute heat along a network of pipes in the walls and holes in the floor to heat the space evenly. Modern central heating systems usually have one heater in an out of the way location, which then distributes heated air through a network of vents.
  • Furnaces- Furnaces, on the other hand, are a specific type of heater. The name comes from the Greek “fornax”, meaning oven. Modern home furnaces use gas, electricity, or induction to create heat and warm the air. Most modern central heating systems rely on furnaces to warm large quantities of air, which is then distributed throughout the building via the ducts and vents.

We at Sky HVAC hope that this article has been informative. If you are having any problems with your heater or furnace, don’t hesitate to give us a call.