Water heaters and boilers are used in homes and businesses for heat-related purposes, but these two appliances are not the same. As someone who isn’t an expert in the plumbing field, it’s easy to get confused when you hear the terms "water heater" and "boiler."
At Neighborhood Plumbing, we are conversant with these two appliances thanks to our plumbing expertise and experience. In this article, we will explain the differences between water heaters and boilers in more detail to help you make informed decisions when evaluating options for heating water and your home.
A water heater does exactly what its name suggests: it heats water. This appliance is designed to heat water for use throughout your home. Unlike boilers, which also act as a heating system for a home, the sole purpose of a water heater is to heat water for household use. Of course, there are different types of water heaters that work differently, but they all perform the same function. Storage tank water heaters heat water and keep it in a large, insulated storage tank until it’s needed, while tankless units heat water on demand without using a storage tank.
A boiler is an appliance that heats water for household use and turns hot water into steam, which is distributed through a system of radiators placed throughout a home for heating purposes. Some boilers circulate hot water instead of steam through radiators. Unlike a water heater, whose sole purpose is to heat water, boilers perform two functions: heating water for household use and heating spaces. As with water heaters, you have different types of boilers to choose from.
A boiler heats up water within the boiler tank using a fuel source such as electricity, gas, or oil. The hot water or steam is sent to various radiators, which are located throughout your home via a web of pipes running through the walls. The heated water or steam gives off heat as it circulates through radiator tubes to warm the air in your home. As the water cools or the steam has been converted back into water, it circulates all the way back to the boiler, where it’s reheated and the process starts over again. Boilers are equipped with a wall-mounted thermostat that tells the appliance when to start heating the water.
If you’re weighing your options between installing a water heater and a boiler, you’ll want to consider the power source available and the cost, maintenance costs, and the lifespan of each appliance. It’s also a good idea to consult with an experienced plumber who’s conversant with the two appliances.
Water heater installation is a job that should be left to a knowledgeable and experienced plumber who knows what they’re doing. If you’re looking for a professional plumber to help you with water heater installation or water heater repair, call Neighborhood Plumbing today.