10 Things to Know about Home Boiler Systems


Are you considering buying a beautiful old house but worried about the potentially antiquated boiler heating system? Standard Heating Service Technician David Howland is here to help. In this post, David replies frequent boiler queries such as: How do they operate? What's necessary to maintain them running optimally? Are they dangerous? When is it time to consider replacing a boiler? On the way, he will debunk common boiler myths.

  1. Do boilers actually “boil” water?

No, boilers in operation today do not boil water (myth number one bites the dust!) . The term"boiler" is a carryover in yesteryear when steam boilers were common, which boiled water to make steam. Now's boilers are water heaters and typically utilize natural gas. Most can heat water at a variety from 145-190 degrees, based on the radiation system.

2. How can boilers provide heat?

By comparison, a forced air furnace warms the atmosphere in a space, so objects absorb heat more slowly. Some people today prefer boilers because they can place their thermostat at a lower temperature and the radiant heat makes the room feel warmer than the air temperature. Other people state boilers provide more balanced heat throughout the home during winter.

3. What are the most significant things to know about your boiler heating system?

Here's the short list:

Is your boiler a standard efficacy or high-efficiency version? Standard efficiency is vented in metal pipe. A high efficiency version should be vented in PVC pipe, either off the surface or to the side of the boiler.

Who would assume responsibility for maintaining the boiler? Are you willing and ready to learn to do yourself, or are you really going to have a company do the maintenance for you? The U.S. Boiler Company recommends annual maintenance to confirm that the boiler is working safely and efficiently. Annual maintenance also can identify potential problems and prevent a no-heat situation with your boiler.

4. What are common reasons that boilers break or stop working?

Pumps fail and electric components can quit working (controls, thermostat, etc). Also, unnecessary atmosphere may get into the machine or very low water pressure can occur, both of which can result in the system not moving the water so that the boiler can't radiate heat properly or at all. In rare situations, water may freeze in very cold conditions. Minnesota snowbirds should take precautions, such as with a home sitter (or an emergency contact) and always having maintenance performed before leaving for warmer climates. Ultimately, if using a setback thermostat, be sure to leave the atmosphere at 55 degrees or above.

5. Do boilers prevent humidity issues common with forced air furnaces that lack an integrated humidifier?

Technically, boiler systems do not remove or include humidity, with the exclusion of cast iron boilers. A low-efficiency boiler, however, will utilize indoor atmosphere to generate the essential combustion fire, which can dry out your property. In contrast, a high-efficiency boiler pulls air from outdoors to achieve combustion and does not influence the indoor air.

You are able to improve air quality whilst using this kind of boiler by making certain there is sufficient air for your cast iron boiler. Installing a combustion air ducts (CAI), a tiny flexible pipe that's open to the exterior, brings fresh air in your home.

6. What's the risk of burns associated with using hot water for heating, such as with young kids around hot flashes?

The risk is relatively low (due to more prevalent baseboard heaters), assuming you maintain the water temperature at the right setting. This is especially important if your house uses the older cast iron radiators, which may become hot to the touch if the water temperature is set too large.

7. Do boilers waste energy or water?

No, they do not waste water because boilers are a sealed system. Modern boiler systems are just as efficient as any gasoline forced-air furnace.

8. How do you know if your boiler is operating efficiently?

Standard Heating can help by performing a boiler tune-up to assess your system. Boilers need annual maintenance to ensure efficient performance.

9. Is it possible to retrofit an old boiler to make it more energy efficient?

No. Standard Heating will not alter the initial design of a boiler, because they are UL listed/labeled and shouldn't be altered. But, in most cases Standard Heating can replace a boiler with a more efficient unit. In case your gear is 20-30 years old, then be prepared to consider replacing the boiler.

  10. What’s involved in replacing a boiler?

Boilers can be simple or complex systems to install, and require a comprehensive understanding of your home's water distribution system. An experienced technician must run a complete analysis of your residence and distribution platform, which will supply you the info you want to make the best choice for your home. Standard Heating encourages customers to consider these questions as"how long do you plan to live in the house?" And"are you able to afford expensive repairs?" Our boiler advisers will work with you to discover the ideal balance of economy and characteristics that satisfy your needs.