Residential boilers are large appliances that can be used to both heat your water and keep your home warm. Boilers are typically fueled by oil, natural gas or electricity. They’re one of the oldest indoor comfort systems ever created and provide unmatched levels of energy efficiency. Here’s everything you need to know about the most popular residential boiler types available on the market today.

Conventional Boilers

Conventional or open-vent boilers used to be the most common option used in family homes until combination systems gained traction. These boilers have a cold-water tank and a hot-water storage cylinder. Both of these tanks are typically installed in the attic. Using natural gas or oil, the boiler’s heat exchanger will warm the water and send it to the storage cylinder. It’s then pumped out to your faucets when needed.

This system is best suited to larger households that may have high water demand needs. They can easily handle the hot water needs of several bathrooms. Expansion tanks are usually necessary to control any excess pressure and keep the pipes and pumps from bursting. Open-vent boilers are cost-effective and easy to install if you already have a central heating system.

Electric Boilers

Electric boilers work well when heating your in-floor radiant systems or radiators. Rather than burning fossil fuels, these boilers use electricity to warm an internal heating element. Similar to a hair dryer, the heating element warms the water on its way into your home. Electric boilers work well as standalone appliances, but they can also be paired with a separate heating system or water heater, depending on your needs. You can even further lower your costs by installing a solar panel system to guarantee low running costs year-round.

Combination Boilers

Combination boilers are a convenient choice for smaller homes that might not have a lot of room. They work as both water heaters and home heating systems. Combination boilers are compact and don’t require an additional holding tank. Instead of constantly using energy to keep the water warm, they instead operate on an on-demand basis. The water runs over the heat exchanger before being sent through your faucets or into your radiators/flooring system.

They come with control valves to direct the flow of water, meaning you can request either hot water or hot air at a time. Installing one of these systems will have a positive impact on your regular energy bills. You’ll also save money by only investing in one boiler rather than a separate furnace and water heater.

While these systems come with a multitude of benefits, they don’t have a backup immersion heater. They also need a good amount of water pressure to function properly.

Condensing Boilers

Condensing boilers also use gas or oil to heat your home and water. They’re considered high-efficiency systems because they reduce any wasted energy by reusing old flue gases. When boilers burn gas, they create byproducts in the form of vapor and carbon dioxide. In standard units, the water and carbon are pushed out through the chimney, resulting in almost 10% of wasted energy.

High-efficiency condensing boilers, on the other hand, use their natural gas as well as that unused energy to make the most of your fuel consumption. During the heating process, the vapor is turned back into water that then accumulates on the heat exchanger. More heat can be extracted this way, limiting wastefulness. These systems have efficiency ratings typically higher than 90% while other conventional systems have ratings between 70% and 80%. Condensing boilers cost more to install, but they’re often eligible for local or national incentive programs and rebates.

Expert Terre Haute HVAC Company

Medcalf Heating & Cooling delivers the best residential and commercial HVAC services in Terre Haute, IN and the surrounding areas. Since our family-owned business was founded in 2015, we’ve provided best-in-class customer service and superior craftsmanship. We’re also EPA-certified and employ NATE-certified employees with years of heating and cooling experience. Let us tune-up, repair or replace your home’s furnace, boiler or air conditioner. We’ll also check your ducts for leaks and find ways to boost your indoor air quality. Contact Medcalf Heating & Cooling today to learn more about our state-of-the-art boiler systems in Terre Haute.

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