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Boiling Away: Pros And Cons Of Boiler Heating Systems

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If you're choosing a heating system for your new home or considering having a new system installed in an existing home, one of the types of heat systems to consider is boiler heating. Boiler-style heating systems work by boiling water, and then sending it through a system of pipes to deliver radiant heat to the home. There are pros and cons to this type of system.

Pros of Boiler-Style Heating Systems

Boiler systems are quiet.

With forced air systems, the other main style of heating system in North America, there are a lot of noises like blowing and pinging in the ducts. When in good repair, boiler systems are essentially silent. This makes them a good choice if you're the kind of person who is easily woken in the middle of the night, or who works from home and prefers complete silence in order to focus.

Boilers are energy-efficient.

It's a common misconception that because boiler systems have been used for decades, they must not be as energy-efficient as new-fangled heating choices. This is not the case. New boiler systems are made to be very energy-efficient. High-efficiency systems, in fact, may be up to 98.5% efficient. High efficiency is achieved by carefully sealing the boiler unit's burn chamber, and also by laying out the pipes in very specific configurations that allow heat to be delivered as effectively as possible to the home.

Cons of Boiler-Style Heating Systems

Leaks can cause substantial water damage.

You can minimize the chance of leaks by having your boiler system installed by an expert HVAC tech who regularly works with boiler systems, and also by having the system looked over annually to ensure issues are detected early. However, there is always a small chance that a pipe may burst or break. When this happens, the water damage can be substantial. Though the damage should be covered by homeowner's insurance, you'll still have to pay the deductible and go through the hassle of making repairs.

Installing a boiler system in an already-built home can be challenging.

Putting a boiler system in a new home is relatively easy, since the building plans can be drawn up to incorporate the system. Working with an existing home is more challenging. There may not be adequate space in some of the walls for the pipes the system requires. You may not have floor space for radiator units. Though many modern boilers heat from below the floors rather than from units that sit on the floor, not all floors are built to accommodate heating pipes, either. Have your home looked over by an HVAC tech (like those at Spell's Mechanical Services) or building team to see if installing a boiler system is even a possibility before you decide on this route.