How Do Boilers Work?
Boilers are vital parts of a home heating system considered to be more efficient and cost-effective than the other methods. They serve as the heating plants where hot water or steam for hydronic baseboard, radiant heat or steam radiator heating systems are generated. They can be powered by natural gas, propane, oil or electricity.
Boilers come in two types Ė the hot water and steam. Hot water boilers are small, compact, energy efficient and needs low maintenance. As to how they work, water is usually heated in boilers between 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot water is then circulated by pumps through pipes in the home or building. This heated water then warms radiators installed in the rooms and gives off the warm air. The cooled water eventually goes back to the boiler through the return pipe.
The latest hot water or hydronic heat system utilizes a circulating pump to move pressured water. The pump is governed by a thermostat and a burner to keep it running while an expansion tank containing air and water is mounted above the boiler. The
hydronic heating system is mostly preferred by many people owing to its small radiators, the absence of noise and its ability to provide warm air to different zones.
Steam boilers are no longer commonly used today as they have been taken over by the popularity of hot water boilers. They are considered more complex than the hot water boilers and usually feature special gauge glass, pressure gauges, blow off valves and automatic feeds. This type of heating system is a common feature in older homes. Steam heat is usually created from water in a boiler fueled by gas, oil or electricity which then goes through pipes and radiators or convectors. While there, the steam condenses into water and then returns to the boiler.
On the other hand, in electric boilers or furnaces, the heating elements are submerged directly in the transfer medium which is either air or water. Maintaining this kind of system requires the same things as that for gas or oil-fired boilers.
Condensing boilers are also more preferred today over the conventional ones because of their larger and more efficient heat exchangers. A condensing boilerís goal is to recover as much waste heat as possible. Highly efficient condensing boilers can convert more than 90 percent of their fuel into heat compared to only 78 percent for the conventional ones.
There are many reasons why hot water boilers are the preferred choice of homeowners. First, they are less costly compared to the other systems. Secondly, with its ability to distribute heat evenly in the home, boilers take up less energy and eliminate any drafts. Thirdly, temperatures in the different areas of your home can be easily controlled. The fourth reason is that heating boilers are clean and thereby good for the health in that they do not spread dust and germs in the rooms. Finally, boilers donít make noise when in operation allowing you and your family to sleep well. Unlike the forced air systems that need powerful fans to blow air to the house, hot water boilers only have a small circulating pump which makes less noise.