Boilers have become increasingly rare in American homes in recent years. Some reports have suggested they’re found in fewer than 10 million homes. This is likely because most homeowners use furnaces instead.
However, some homeowners prefer using one of the different types of boilers over furnaces. As a result, there is still a market for boilers running on various fuels, including hot water, steam, natural gas, and electricity. What’s more, there are still companies that can provide people with boiler installation and repair services.
Some homeowners like the flexibility of choosing their fuel type based on cost and local availability.
If you’re considering moving into a home with a boiler or would like to install a new boiler in a home you already own, you should have a good understanding of the boiler types. Learn about some of the most popular types of boilers below.
Hot Water Boilers
Over the years, hot water boilers have always been some of the best types of boilers around. They’re known for being extremely efficient and will heat a home in no time.
So, how does a hot water boiler work? Well, here are the steps that help to make a home warmer in a hurry:
- You adjust your thermostat and ask a boiler to make your home warmer
- The boiler responds by firing up a burner and heating a bunch of water
- The hot water from a boiler is pumped through a series of pipes and radiators
- The heat from the hot water comes out of the radiators and heats your home
- The now-cool water returns to your boiler and starts the process back up again as necessary
Of all the types of boilers on this list, this one is probably the most straightforward and easiest to use. It also shouldn’t need boiler repair too often because of how it works.
A steam boiler works in almost the same way that a hot water boiler does. When you turn the thermostat in your home up to make it warmer, it’ll activate a heat exchanger that warms up the water and send it to your home’s radiators.
The only difference with this type of boiler is that the water will get so warm that it will eventually turn to steam and come out of your radiators to heat your home. You’ll just have to wait for the water to heat up enough to open up your radiator’s air vents and allow the steam to escape.
Natural Gas Boilers
If you have natural gas coming into your home, you may have already switched from a boiler to a furnace. But some people like using natural gas boilers instead, as they’re some of the most efficient.
Natural gas will enter your boiler through a gas line that runs into your home, and it’ll keep a pilot light for a boiler lit. That pilot light will heat a series of heating coils in a boiler, which will heat water in a boiler that is then sent out throughout your home.
The hot water from a natural gas boiler will keep your home warm all winter. It also should help you keep your home’s fueling costs on the lower end of the spectrum since it relies on natural gas.
Natural gas isn’t always easily accessible in rural areas, so rather than relying on natural gas boilers, people who live in these areas will often have oil boilers. Oil boilers have separate tanks containing oil that is pumped into the boilers themselves.
After the oil can get into a boiler, it’ll heat up the water inside it, and that water will then move to other parts of a home to heat it up. Oil boilers are, unfortunately, not all that efficient in the grand scheme of things. But they’re the only option for those living in certain parts of the country.
If you don’t want to use any fossil fuels when heating your home, you might consider going with an electric boiler. This boiler works like a natural gas boiler but utilizes electricity rather than gas to heat the water in a boiler.
Electric boilers aren’t always ideal for larger homes with ample spaces as they might struggle to keep up. They will also not work for you if you ever have a power outage in your house.
But electric boilers are known to be the most eco-friendly boilers around. They’re also more energy-efficient than you might think and may help you keep your heating costs lower than they would be otherwise.
Just make sure that you give some thought to installing a generator on your property so that you don’t have to worry about going without heat at any point if your power goes out and your electric boiler stops working.
Each of These Types of Boilers Comes With Unique Benefits
As you can see, there isn’t any shortage of options for different types of boilers. You can use everything from a hot water boiler or a steam boiler to a natural gas boiler or even an electric boiler.
You should know the ins and outs of each type of boiler before selecting the right one for your home. You should also take the time to learn as much as possible about boiler maintenance and repair.
Browse through the rest of the articles posted on our blog to get more helpful home improvement tips.