Boiler heat systems are an alternative to furnaces or raidant heat—although they’re a more significant investment than some of the other heating systems, they offer some unique advantages, consistent heat throughout your home, and can last significantly longer.
There are two main versions of boilers that are readily available and installed regularly throughout the United States—steam boilers and hot water boilers. No matter which boiler you choose, they can be fueled by oil, gas, or electricity.
Typically, a steam boiler heat system is designed to turn water into steam—it uses gravity and pressure to distribute heat throughout the home. Hot water boiler systems create hot water and circulate it with a pump through a piping system.
Since hot water boilers are more efficient than steam boilers, they’re usually the better choice. There is less heat loss through the system because hot water boilers operate at lower temperatures, which also requires less fuel to burn.
Hot water or steam boilers use a gas- or oil-fueled boiler to heat water and circulate the water or steam through pipes to radiators, radiant baseboards or piping in floors and walls to warm a home.
How does a Boiler Heating System Work?
The system turns on when your thermostat activates it, which activates a hot water circulator to begin heating the water in the system,
The water circulates through a closed system, starting from the boiler, and is heated. The water or steam then passes into the distribution system to carry the heat throughout the home to the radiators, radiant heaters and baseboards and other convective equipment.
As the water circulates through the system releasing its heat, it cools down and is fed back to the boiler through gravity or through a pump. The boiler turns on when the water temperature in the boiler drops below 185° (F). There’s a temperature sensor that triggers the boiler to ignite the burner and heat the water. The fuel is ignited with a pilot light or electric ignitor, or high voltage spark.
An air intake or burner blower provides air for the fire chamber to ensure the system works properly—if no flame is present, the system shuts down automatically. When the gas, or oil is ignited, the resulting reaction is contained by the heat exchanger which is used to transfer heat to the water in the boiler. Once the gasses cool, they’re vented out through a flue.
Hot water for the home’s taps, shower, etc. may be supplied by a boiler or by a separate water heater. When the boiler is involved, often a second tank is involved and the water is run through the boiler to be heated. This water remains separate or isolated from the water circulated through the heating system.
Benefits of a Boiler Heating System
There are lots of reasons why boilers are one of the more popular options in homes across the country. Here are just a few:
- You can utilize boilers to heat your home, but you can also connect them to radiant heat. The hot water can be used to warm floors or ceilings, and that system can be connected to your boiler system instead of using electric radiant heating.
- You can also use your boiler as a water heater—combining the two systems that consume the most energy in your home. It can be complicated, but is usually possible.
- Boiler heat is a closed system, making it much more efficient than a forced air system that relies on ductwork and heated air to warm your home. You can lose more than 30% of the heat generated in a forced air system—a boiler saves you money on your energy bills and reduces your home’s energy consumption.
- Your home heats up faster. You don’t have to wait for the heat to pass throughout the house—the water is already circulating in a boiler, making your house warmer faster.
Although the installation costs are a bit higher than other heating systems, a boiler tends to last significantly longer than other systems—in some cases up to 50 years.
Approximate Costs of a Boiler Heating System
Here are the average costs for a boiler heating system. All prices listed vary depending on the quality of the unit you select, the labor and materials required, and any additional costs for delivery. Please request a quote for more detailed information.
On average, the cost of purchasing and installing a boiler heating system depends on the type of unit you’re installing.
- A standard boiler ranges from $3,500-$8,000 to purchase the unit and have it installed.
- A gas combustion unit averages $2,500-$5,000 alone.
- An oil combustion unit averages $3,000-$6,500.
- A high-efficiency boiler ranges $6,000-$9,000 for gas and oil models.
Keep in mind that if you decide to replace an oil-fired boiler with a gas version, it could cost significantly more due to the requirement to install new gas lines and to switch out existing systems, valves and more.
Get a Free Estimate on Your Boiler Heating System today!
Whether you’re looking for a new system or repairing an existing heating system, Pro HVAC Service can help! We’ll provide you with a free estimate on the installation or replacement of a boiler heat system quickly and easily.
To get your free estimate, fill out the form to the right, or give us a call at (844) 769-5995. Within minutes, we’ll contact you with a list of local HVAC Contractors that can help you.