Heater And Heater Systems

Heater Basics

Boilers heat water -in a closed-loop system- and distribute it throughout the house. Next to furnaces, boilers are the second most common method of heating homes. Many hot water boiler systems can also provide domestic hot water for bathing, washing, etc. along with heating the house.

Boiler Function in different systems

Boilers heat water by using electricity or by burning a fuel natural gas, propane, fuel oil, or wood are the most common. The heated water is then distributed through the house in a variety of ways:

Hot Water Radiator

These systems for home heating are typically found in older homes. Heated water is distributed through pipes to large cast iron radiator units throughout the house. Radiators absorb the heat from the water and then radiate it back to the room over time. Although some systems provide options for regulating the heat output of individual radiators, many older systems rely on a single centrally located thermostat to control the temperature in the house.

Hot Water Radiator

Hot Water Baseboard

These systems are more common than radiator systems and provide heat to rooms through smaller units located at the “base” of walls. They consist of copper pipes with fin tubes that heat the surrounding air, providing convective heat for the room.

Hot Water Basebord

In-Floor Hot Water

In this system, it distributes heated water through a series of tubes embedded in a concrete slab or between floor joists. In-floor systems are often controlled by valves that divide the home into zones; they can provide a steady heat source but can be slower to respond to changes in heating requirements. Some hot water systems use tubes embedded in walls, but these usually don’t have the thermal storage capacity of an in-floor system.

In-Floor Hot Water

Hydronic Air Handlers

In this method, system sends heated water through a coil located in the ductwork of a forced-air distribution system; an air handler or fan distributes heated air through the ductwork.

Hydronic Air Handlers

Fuel Sources

Furnaces and boilers can be fueled by petroleum products, electricity, biomass, the sun, or a combination. Although often based on the local availability of specific fuels, there can be many reasons to choose one fuel over another, including the cost per BTU, the environmental effects, the installation cost, and the lifetime operating costs (including maintenance, repair, and eventual replacement). When switching from one fuel source to another, be sure you have carefully considered all the factors.

Condensor Boiler Diagram


What are the advantages of using boilers for heating homes?
Boilers offer several advantages over other heating systems, including high efficiency, long system lifespan, and quiet operation. They can also provide domestic hot water, reducing the need for a separate water heater. Additionally, boilers can be powered by various fuel sources, including natural gas, propane, fuel oil, and wood, making them a versatile option for homeowners.
How do boilers distribute heat throughout a house?

Boilers distribute heat through a closed-loop system, where heated water is circulated through a network of pipes to various parts of the house. The heated water can be used to warm radiators, baseboards, or floors, providing a comfortable and consistent heat. The loop is typically designed to ensure that the water is constantly being re-circulated and re-heated, maximizing efficiency and minimizing energy loss.

What are the different types of boiler systems available?

There are several types of boiler systems available, including hot water radiator systems, hot water baseboard systems, in-floor hot water systems, and hydronic air handlers. Each system has its own unique characteristics and advantages, and the choice of system depends on factors such as climate, house size, and personal preference. For example, hot water radiator systems are often used in older homes, while in-floor hot water systems are popular in modern construction.

How do I choose the right size boiler for my home?

Choosing the right size boiler for your home is critical to ensure efficient and effective heating. Factors to consider include the size of your home, insulation levels, window size and orientation, and climate. A boiler that is too small may not provide enough heat, while one that is too large may waste energy and increase costs. It’s recommended to consult with a professional to determine the correct boiler size for your specific needs.

What maintenance is required to keep a boiler system running efficiently?

Regular maintenance is essential to keep a boiler system running efficiently and safely. This includes tasks such as cleaning the boiler and its components, checking and replacing air filters, inspecting and cleaning the chimney, and testing the system’s pressure and temperature limits. Additionally, it’s recommended to have a professional inspect and service the boiler annually to identify any potential issues before they become major problems.

Can boilers be used in conjunction with other heating systems?

Yes, boilers can be used in conjunction with other heating systems, such as radiant floor heating or heat pumps. This is often referred to as a hybrid heating system. By combining different heating sources, homeowners can take advantage of the strengths of each system and optimize their heating efficiency and cost-effectiveness. For example, a boiler can provide primary heat, while a heat pump provides supplemental heat during milder winter days.

What are some common issues that can affect boiler performance?

Common issues that can affect boiler performance include scaling and corrosion, faulty thermostats, improper installation, and inadequate maintenance. Scaling and corrosion can reduce the boiler’s efficiency and lifespan, while faulty thermostats can cause the system to malfunction. Improper installation can lead to safety hazards and reduced performance, while inadequate maintenance can cause the system to break down prematurely. Regular inspections and maintenance can help identify and address these issues before they become major problems.