A boiler system is a heating system you are likely to see in an older home or multifamily residences such as condos or apartments. Even a few decades ago, in most areas, a boiler was the most cost-effective option for heating large spaces, apartments, and single-family homes. Now we have furnaces and other modern HVAC improvements that have brought down the cost significantly. That being said, boilers are still used in many homes across the country, and if you happen to have one in your home you should possess some basic knowledge on what they are and how they work.
What is a Boiler?
The easiest way to think about a boiler is a pressure vessel that is designed to heat water. Depending on the size of the home or building the boiler is heating, it can vary greatly in size. The boiler is an entire system that has been designed to use fuel to heat water, and then the steam from that heated water travels through various pipes to heat the space above. Boilers are usually placed in the bottom level of a home in the basement or crawlspace because the steam from the hot water will rise and travel more easily to radiant heaters and appliances.
How is a Boiler Fueled?
The vast majority of boilers are fueled by natural gas or propane, though some can be powered by coal or even wood. Anything that creates heat and combustion will be enough to heat the water and cause steam to travel effectively.
Different Types of Boilers
There are dozens of manufacturers of boilers as well as designs depending on the use. A boiler system can be used in a small home, or in a massive industrial complex. For home use, there are three different types of boilers that are commonly used, which we will outline below
A conventional boiler is the most common type of boiler used in homes and is comprised of a pressurized cylinder for the hot water, as well as two tanks which are responsible for cold water storage and maintaining a normal water level for the central heating system. Conventional boilers are responsible for the hot water, central heating, and the heating of certain appliances as well.
This type of boiler is named as such because it combines a water heater and a central heating boiler which draws water from the main water line, rather than a separate cold water tank. The way these two systems are combined means that installation is much less complex, and there is no need to store and pump the cold water, which translates to savings for you as the homeowner.
A system boiler is the smallest of the three options because while it does still require a cylinder for storing hot water, the rest of the components are inside the boiler, making it even more compact than the combination boiler. The main benefit to a system boiler is that there is no tank, making it easy to install and highly efficient.
Should you have any questions about maintaining an existing boiler, or installing a new one don’t hesitate to reach out to our team today!
Common Boiler System Questions
What Are The 3 Types of Boilers?
There are three types of boilers typically offered on the market for your home. These are gas-fired, oil-fired, and electric. The type of boiler you have will often depend on where you're located and your preference. Gas-fired boilers utilize either propane or natural gas. They can be desirable because they use less fuel than some of the other options and don't require much maintenance to keep them running for years.
If you live in an area where it's hard to get natural gas to your home, you may have an oil-fired boiler. It's another energy-efficient choice, but there can be some fluctuations in the operating cost as the cost of fuel changes. It's possible to purchase models that run using biodiesel fuel.
Lastly, there are electric boilers. These are popular for a number of reasons. They are often energy-efficient, clean since they don't use gas or oil, quiet, compact, and not difficult to install, but they can be expensive depending on your area's energy cost. In some areas, it may be more costly than the other options. No matter your setup, it's possible to find the best boiler to fit your particular needs.
Which Type of Boiler Is Best?
One of the most challenging questions to answer is which type of boiler is best because there are a number of factors that go into determining the best boiler. What may be an excellent boiler for one home may not work so well for another. When selecting the right boiler for your home, one thing to keep in mind is what fuel options are currently available. For instance, if you live in an area where natural gas is not an option, you probably don't want to select a gas-fired boiler.
Another thing to consider is the age of your current boiler. You may not think that you need a new boiler since yours currently works well, but you may be spending more on fuel and energy than necessary. If it was installed over ten years ago, a newer boiler model could be saving you money on your utility bills. When it comes to specific models, you'll want to consider the efficiency of the boiler and your setup. Speaking with the professionals Jolly Plumbing can help you determine if your current boiler needs to be replaced and what type of boiler you should consider replacing it within your home.
How Do I Know What Size Boiler to Buy?
The size of your boiler is related to the size of your home and where your home is located. There are calculators that can be used to determine what boiler capacity is recommended for your home. Typically, you'll want to determine your home's climate. For example, a home located in a cold climate will require about 50 BTU per square foot. A house in a more moderate climate will be at 35 BTU. In contrast, a home in a hot climate requires about 20 BTU. So, you'll take the BTU amount per square foot recommended in your area and multiply it by the square footage in your home. If you have concerns about what size boiler is right for your home, as every house is unique, you can contact the professionals at Jolly Plumbing we can help you pinpoint the right size for your living situation.
We are experts at Boilers System installation and repair here in Colorado Springs. If you have questions about the way your boiler, baseboard heating, or radiant heating system works, or if it needs repair, we can help. Our knowledgeable staff is up to date on all the different boiler and radiant heating systems and the way that they function, so whatever is heating your home, we can fix it. Contact Jolly Plumbing and Heating, Inc. today.