Hot water is necessary for most people worldwide who need it to take showers, do laundry, and prepare food. Therefore, a water heater or a boiler would be a good choice for the water heating system in your house. Is there a differentiation between a water heater and a boiler?
Are water heaters and boilers the same thing? No, they’re not. They both heat water, as the name suggests. The two ways they accomplish this differ, however. Throughout this article, we will define each, explore their function and various types, and hopefully help you decide which one is right for you.
A boiler doesn’t boil water, so the name is misleading. It converts water to steam. Besides heating your home and generating electricity, boilers can also be used as a heat source. Water boilers heat water very rapidly, and they are available in both tanked and tankless models. Unlike water heaters, some boiler systems include a cold water storage cylinder. The cold water is stored in tanks, while the hot water is stored in cylinders.
Various types of boilers are available.
- Combination boilers: These boilers heat your home and provide hot water. The unit does not have a cold water tank or cylinder of hot water, so there is little space required. There is also an unlimited supply of hot water., Unlike a conventional boiler, a system boiler has a hot water cylinder instead of a cold water tank. In a cylinder, water is heated and stored by being taken from the mains. If you run out of hot water, you’ll need to wait for the cold water to be heated and stored again. The size of the container determines how much hot water it can hold.
- Conventional boiler has both a cold water tank and a hot water cylinder, which require a significant amount of space. Multiple taps can be opened at once, which is excellent for large houses. Another example might be when one person does the dishes while another shows or does laundry.
- Condensing this is more of an attribute of a boiler than a type of boiler. As a result, condensing boilers are often more energy-efficient than non-condensing boilers because they retain the heat that escapes the flues, which release toxic gases when gas is used to heat water. It is also possible for other types of boilers to be condensing boilers simultaneously.
Maintaining a Boiler
With proper maintenance, you will be able to extend the life of your boiler. As a homeowner, these are the areas you should focus on when maintaining a boiler:
- Cleaning flues and vents if you have any.
- Ensure the water is adequate regularly; a lack of water can result in severe damage.
- Make inevitable no leaks are present.
- De-scaling, hot water can lead to lime buildup that must be removed.
- Lubricate moving parts at least once a year.
- Rinse and thoroughly clean the system every six months.
As its name implies, a water heater heats the water. This water is used for showers, cooking, cleaning, and hand washing. It warms water that is taken from a supply pipe that provides water. Your home is pumped with fluids whenever you run the washer or turn on a faucet. Heating devices are used to warm potable water.
A tank-style water heater uses a gas burner or electric heating rods within the tank to indirectly warm the cold water that is brought in. When the water is at the right temperature, the water heater reserves it in the tank until you switch on the sink or shower. Depending on how far you turn the hot water handle, the water heater will “transport” hot water to your sink or rain, which will mix with the cold water. When you turn on the sink or shower, cold water goes into the water heater, moving the warmer water into the lines and out of the faucet.
Types of water heaters
Conventional water heaters are the most common, while tankless water heaters are also available. Below, we will explain a few other types of water heaters.
- Conventional: Conventional water heaters use either gas or electricity to heat water in a tank. Cold freshwater enters the tank at the bottom and is heated to a specific temperature to stay ready for use.
- Tankless: Tankless water heaters, also known as “on-demand” water heaters, heat water quickly so there is no need for a hot water tank. They are also more compact than conventional tanks.
- Heat Pumps/Hybrids: Heat pumps and hybrids use heat from the ground or air to produce hot water and are often more energy-efficient than other types of heaters. However, keep in mind that this makes these water heaters unsuitable for colder climates.
- Solar: These water heaters use solar thermal panels (which do not produce electricity), transferring heat from the sun into your water. These are best suited to warm, sunny climates.
How to maintain a water heater?
The best way to increase water heaters’ efficiency and extend their lifespan is to maintain them. Whether you do it by yourself or hire a professional, you should regularly drain, flush, remove sediment, etc. The Old House recommends the following steps for thoroughly maintaining water heaters.
- Close the water valve and turn off your power before testing the valve. Raise the tab briefly, release some water, and close the valve. This should stop the flow of water. Replace the valve if it does not control the flow of water.
- Calcium is the main thing you need to check on the anode rod. It needs to be cleaned if it is coated.
- Remove the sediment from the tank and drain it into a bucket. Add some water to the bucket so it mixes with the deposit. Pour some water into your bucket until it is clear.
- Lower temperatures will mean lower energy costs (optional). A flathead screwdriver can turn the temperature dial within the tank.
- Warm weather will require insulation of the hot pipes, while cold weather will require insulation of the cold pipes. Measure the diameter of your lines when choosing the pipe insulation foam.
- Insulate the heater, cover all surfaces except any controls and the top of gas or oil heaters with an insulating blanket. Tape the edges of the blanket to the tank.
Should you buy a boiler or water heater?
Despite all the different options available for boilers and water heaters, they share as many similarities as differences. Therefore, it is challenging to select the best choice for your home and needs. In the end, the choice is personal and based on individual circumstances. Regardless of which water heater you choose, your heating system should easily last between 10 and 20 years with proper care and maintenance.
- What is the difference between a boiler and a water heater?
The functions of a boiler and a water heater are similar, but they serve different purposes.
- Do boilers work better than water heaters?
Because steam is lighter and denser than water (it holds more heat), steam boilers are extremely energy efficient.
- What are the three types of boilers?
Combi boilers, heat-only (regular) boilers, and system boilers are the three main types of boilers that you can install in your home.