Part of homeownership is learning about all the machinery and systems that keep our homes running. As winter closes in, you may have some questions about your heating system. Our residential boiler guide can help you better understand how your home is heated.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About Residential Boilers

Your home may have a furnace, heat pump, or boiler for heating. If it has a residential boiler, you may have a few questions.

What do I need to know about home boilers?

Residential boilers use either steam or hot water to create and distribute heat throughout a home. They’re more commonly found in older homes, especially those in the northern regions.

Types of Boilers

You’ll find one of three types of boilers in your home:

Steam boiler

Steam boilers heat water to create steam, and then direct the steam through pipes to radiators to heat various rooms.

Hot water boiler

These boilers use water to provide heat and then a circulating pump distributes the hot water through pipes to radiators in each room.

Combination boiler

A combination boiler includes both a boiler and a hot water heater, utilizing the same equipment to provide both home heat and hot water.

Heat distribution

Residential boiler systems may use baseboards or cast-iron radiators to distribute the steam or hot water to each room.

Fuel types

Your residential boiler runs on one of the following four types of fuel:

  1. Electricity

  2. Natural Gas

  3. Liquid Propane

  4. Oil

Natural gas is exceptionally efficient, but if there is no service available, your system may require liquid propane or oil. Electricity can be an expensive choice for powering a residential boiler.

When is a Residential Boiler the Best Choice

Residents of cold climates with long winters benefit from the steady heating capabilities of a residential boiler.

Older homes are often rich in charm but lack the necessary ductwork for forced air heating. In this case, it’s more cost efficient to upgrade an existing boiler system than change to a forced-air furnace.

Are Residential Boilers Efficient?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, modern boilers can reach up to 98.5 percent efficiency.

The Department also provides useful information on retrofitting older oil-fueled boilers or gas-fired boilers for greater efficiency.

How Do I Choose the Right Boiler?

While our residential boiler guide provides basic information, the best way to choose the right boiler is to consult a professional.

The safe installation of residential boilers involves a number of building codes and industry standards. These standards apply to various aspects of boiler heating systems, from the materials used to fuel storage.

If you’re considering upgrading your current residential boiler or need repair, make an appointment now with the experts at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning in Chattanooga. We follow the highest industry standards to ensure your new or existing boiler system is both safe and working up to specifications.