Peoria, Pekin & Central Illinois Residents Have Options: Furnace, Boiler, and Geothermal Heating

When choosing a heater for your home, there are several heating systems to consider. Heating units vary in efficiency, price, and installation process. Central Heating and Air Conditioning is happy to offer installation and maintenance for most major heating units from furnaces to geothermal systems in the Peoria and Pekin, Illinois areas.

A furnace is a heating system that converts fossil fuels into heat. Also known as a forced-air heating system, a furnace works by pushing heated air through a home's ductwork. When the air temperature inside a home drops below a thermostat's programmed setting, a burner is lit inside the furnace's combustion chamber. Heat is then pushed through the home's ducts. Returns in the ductwork send recycled air back to the furnace unit to be reheated and redistributed.


  • The ductwork system used by a furnace can also distribute cool air from a central air conditioning system.
  • Furnaces come in many different sizes and models, allowing flexibility in fuel types.
  • Most furnaces take up little space and work quickly to spread heat.

A gas furnace made in the 1970's has an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) of about 65%. Furnaces made today must, by law, have an AFUE of at least 78%. The most efficient units have an AFUE of 98%. Prices vary based on fuel efficiency, but additional costs for high efficiency furnaces are generally regained over its lifetime due to lower fuel bills.


Boilers are heating units that use gas to heat water. In this ductless heating system, water is heated inside the boiler then either hot water or steam is moved through pipes to radiators throughout the home.


  • Water stays hot enough to travel through a large building, heating many rooms.
  • Heat stays in a closed circuit and is incorporated into pre-existing air in a room, eliminating the possibility of dust.
  • Boilers can be custom designed to separate zones within a home, allowing different spaces to be heated at different times or to different temperatures


Current minimum AFUE requirements vary based on what fuel is used for a boiler, but range between 80-85%. Steam boilers are less efficient than hot water boilers due to the higher temperature at which they operate. Like furnaces, older models of boilers operate at much less efficiency. The overhead cost of installing a new boiler is often recovered in energy savings.

Geothermal Heating

Geothermal heat uses a heat pump powered by an underground looped piping system. Water first circulates in the loop absorbing heat from the ground. It then reaches a ground-source heat pump where hot air is concentrated and sent through a home's ductwork. Geothermal heat pumps work by relying on the steady temperature of the earth at about 6 feet below ground.


  • Geothermal systems can also be used for air conditioning and hot water.
  • With one of the highest efficiency rates of heating and cooling systems on the market today, geothermal heating can lead to increased savings on utility bills.
  • Geothermal units are durable and reliable. Being underground keeps them protected even longer and makes them one of the quietest heating options.


Geothermal heat pumps create heat from renewable resources rather than burning fossil fuels, thus reducing toxic emissions into the atmosphere. Geothermal heating systems save money in both operating and maintenance costs, and energy savings typically exceed initial investment in as little as three years.