Boilers and hot water heaters have similar features but their core functions can be radically different.
Is your boiler or water heater due for replacement in Vancouver? It might be worth your while to consider the advantages and disadvantages of both before making a decision.
Let’s compare boilers and water heaters:
- A hot water heater is basically an insulated storage tank with a heating element in it. Its job is to heat incoming cold water to about 125C and store it until it is needed. The most obvious advantage of a conventional water heater is its lower initial cost.
- A boiler also heats water, but the similarities stop there. Boilers heat water to much higher temperatures—some even boiling it to steam. This very hot water or steam is then circulated through radiators, baseboard convectors, fan-forced coils or radiant floors to heat your home. It is also used to heat water for consumption. Boilers are both heating system and water heater! A boiler has a higher initial cost than a water heater. But when you consider its higher efficiency and the fact it replaces both your water heater and your furnace it pays off in the long run. If you’re considering Vancouver water heater repair or replacement and your heating system is more than ten years old, you should definitely think about making the switch to a boiler.
Four things to take into account when considering Vancouver boiler repair, replacement or retrofit:
- Size is crucial. Too small, and it won’t satisfy the needs of your home. Too big, and the boiler won’t run efficiently. A rule-of-thumb for sizing a boiler is 50 BTU/sq. ft. of interior space in cold climates, and 35 BTU/sq. ft. in moderate climates. Call us at Hillcrest Plumbing and Heating and let us help you determine the right size for your new boiler.
- Efficiency. Boiler efficiency is measured using an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) percentage. AFUE measures how much of the fuel used is converted into usable heat. Boiler efficiency ranges from 80% to nearly 100% for electric boilers.
- Fuel type. Natural gas, oil, propane and electricity are the most common fuels used to fire a boiler. Solid fuels like wood or wood pellets can also be an economical and renewable alternative.
- Venting. You will need to choose between chimney, power and direct venting depending on the type of boiler you choose and the condition of your chimney. Electric boilers don’t require venting.