What is a boiler?01/20/2015It’s winter again in the Main Line. The coldest months of winter seem to bring about more service and repair calls, which often results in the need for new heating systems. From furnaces to boilers, there are a number of products on the market that will heat your home. What’s a boiler you ask? Let’s take a look. Types of boilers A boiler is a type of HVAC equipment used to heat your home, and it uses either steam or hot water to do so. Both use a boiler to heat the water and a radiant system to provide heat to all of the rooms in a home. Steam boilers You could compare steam boilers to a teapot. These systems boil water to generate steam, which is transported to radiators all over your home. Generating more steam increases the pressure in the system and pushes the steam throughout the system. Radiators have air vents that open to release the pressure – and the heat – into your rooms. The steam then cools, condenses to water and goes to the boiler to be reheated. Steam boilers are typically powered with natural gas or propane. Hot water boilers Hot water boilers work similarly, but circulate hot water all over your home instead of steam. When you boost the heat, water begins to warm up and is sent through the radiant system when it has achieved your perfect temperature. Water boilers are able to be fueled using either oil or gas, however, oil fired boilers are not usually used outside of New England and the Northeast U.S. Benefits of heating your home with a boiler Boilers are known for their virtually soundless operation. In fact, you more than likely won’t hear a boiler running at all unless there’s an issue with the system. And, because radiant systems use pipes that are installed in the walls or floor, boilers can offer a more comfortable and even heat. Another bonus is that boilers don’t blow air around, helping reduce the allergens in the air. Choosing the right heating system for your home can be a hard decision. Although they are often more expensive than furnaces, boilers offer quieter and more even heating for your home. If you’d like to learn more about the high efficiency boilers available in the Main Line, give O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning a call at 610-626-2540.