When heating your home, you have your share of options from central heating to direct heating and furnaces to fireplaces. Most houses in the US use either furnaces or boilers. Learn why boilers are a common heating source and the benefits it offers.
How does a boiler heating system work?
Boiler heating systems work by heating water and dispersing heat via a radiator.
The system converts water to either hot water or steam, which then moves through the pipes to radiators to release heat inside the home.
As this happens, the water is simultaneously rerouted back to the boiler, recycled, and reheated for future heating.
Types of boiler heating systems
There are several types of boiler heating systems used in homes and businesses. Here’s an overview of the most common.
A steam boiler system heats water to create steam. The steam is then pumped throughout the house’s radiator, and cooled condensation is cycled back into the boiler to be heated again.
Hot water boilers
Hot water boilers heat water and pump it through the radiators or baseboards in the house.
Natural gas boiler
These boilers use natural gas to operate. The gas-fired system keeps a pilot light lit, which warms the heating coils in the boiler and passes the heat to the tank’s water.
Electric boilers are standard because they don’t require gas or oil, making them more efficient and environmentally friendly.
An oil boil, sometimes called an oil fired boiler, is fueled by oil. These are more common in rural areas, which have limited access to natural gas. A separate oil tank pumps a mixture into the oil boiler to heat the water within it before sending hot air or water through the pipes and into the home.
Condensing boilers heats the water before it goes into the radiator and reheats it as it returns from the piping into the home.
Advantages of residential boiler heating systems
There’s a reason why boiler heating systems are so common. Here are some of the benefits and why it matters to the heating of your home.
- Clean form of heating that doesn’t produce dust particles and other allergens. Since the heat in a boiler system radiates out from the radiator into the air that already exists, no new air is entering the space. In forced-air systems, the newly heated air frequently causes dust and allergens to infiltrate the atmosphere.
- Comfortable, high quality heat is what you get from a boiler system. The heat from a radiator infuses the room, opposed to being forced through ductwork and out a vent. This gives radiator heat a different, fresher feeling than forced air systems and disperses the heat more evenly.
- Special features like user-friendly programming and zoning capabilities are a significant benefit. Users can distinguish various heating zones within the home based on living space usage patterns. Programmable thermostats enable the automation of start-stop heat delivery as well.
- Quiet operation is another perk of boiler systems. Unlike forced air systems that produce noise as air circulates out the vents, a boiler heating system’s operational noise is confined inside the boiler. The rest of the system is virtually silent.
The longevity of a boiler heating system depends on several factors. The system must be well-maintained and annually serviced to keep it performing as a high-efficiency model.
Some boiler systems last only 10 years; others may last several decades. It’s all about the regularity of service and inspections to keep a system maintained for the long run.
How important is maintenance?
Like forced air systems, boilers require inspections, maintenance, and the occasional part replacement to extend lifespan and maintain efficiency. If you are considering upgrading your system, it’s possible to keep your existing unit.
Carroll Plumbing & Heating Inc. has experience installing new boilers and retrofitting original systems in historic areas of Richmond, which boosts efficiency and increases the safety of the home.