How do boilers work, and are they right for your home?
In this blog post, we’re going to answer some commonly asked questions about how boilers work. We’ll also address some misconceptions about these heating systems, and explain why they’re a popular choice for many homes here in the Buffalo area.
Boilers are not water heaters
These two terms get thrown around interchangeably, but boilers are not water heaters.
Boilers heat water for radiant heating, and all of the water stays within a closed-loop system. In contrast, your water heater heats water for household use. The entire point is for water to exit the system through your faucets, shower heads, and dishwasher line.
Moving water to bring you heat
Boilers start with a furnace-type system, which heats the water within the closed circuit. A motor then pushes this water through pipes to radiators. Most of these radiators are floor-mounted, although they can be in other places in a room.
As the hot water runs through the radiator, the heat energy from the water is transferred to the surrounding air, warming the room. The water then travels through the pipe to its next stop in another room.
Finally, after losing so much heat energy to the air in different rooms, the water returns to the furnace, where it’s reheated. The process then starts over again.
What are the advantages of using a boiler for heating?
Hot air rises
Since many boiler radiators are in the floor or near the floor, they’re more effective at heating you and the room than a forced-air system.
Hot air rises: when a forced-air system emits heated air through vents near the ceiling, all that heat is just staying there, not really warming a majority of the room.
In contrast, heat emitted near the floor rises through the room to the ceiling, warming you all that more efficiently and effectively.
Heat your feet
Those water pipes that make up the closed-circuit system we mentioned earlier? In many homes, they’re placed under the floors, which means that homeowners have warmed floors during the coldest months of winter.
Radiant heating is more energy-efficient than forced-air heating. It’s just physics: water is a much better conduit of heat than air is, so there’s less energy lost as the water travels through the pipes than the same process of air moving through ducts.
The result is that your home heats the same, but with far less energy burned by the furnace.
Is a boiler right for your home?
Many homes here in the Buffalo area have built-in boiler systems, or at least the setup for them, which includes the aforementioned piping and radiators. If that’s the case, a boiler is perfect for your home.
If your home has no boiler setup, it’s something that you can have installed if you’re looking to improve your energy-efficiency or get the heated floors feature.
For more on how boilers work, call Reimer
Reimer is the top choice for heating, cooling, and plumbing work here in Buffalo. For more on boilers, installation, and to get a free in-home estimate on a new system, contact us online.