Heating using a boiler system has been in use for a long time and while not well known it is becoming increasingly popular again, with in-floor heating, as people find out about its' benefits.
Traditional furnaces heat air that is pushed through ductwork with a fan. A boiler heats water and distributes the hot water through piping to radiators throughout the house. Modern radiators now look more like electric heaters. New homes with in-floor heating generally use a boiler, but for small areas the water heater may be the source of heat. This type of heating is known as hydronic heating. There is no duct work in this system, although a hot water coil can be installed in a duct system, which is used to distribute heat throughout the building.
A boiler system is a very efficient way to heat a building, so in the past larger buildings such as airports and schools used hot water heating. It is very comfortable, providing nice even heat throughout the building.
The temperate does not rise and fall quickly like it will with a forced air furnace. There are more gradual temperature changes with hot water heating. Once the boiler turns off, heat is still emanating from the radiators. People who have hydronic heating are quite pleased with it.
One downside is the complications involved in adding other options to this system. Cooling, humidification and air quality need to be provided by other equipment. Boilers are a little more expensive than furnaces, but historically they last longer than a furnace.
We sometimes get calls to do furnace repairs and arrive to discover that the customer has a boiler. When people buy a home with a boiler, they sometimes think that they'll need to replace it with a standard furnace.
We try to do our job educating people about what their options are. We suggest they run their boiler through the winter and experience its' performance. For cooling, we can easily install a ductless split system to cool the space.
We would prefer a boiler system in many cases, but most new homes do not come that way. The best time to install a boiler system is during the initial build. In general, a forced air system goes into new housing because it is less expensive to install. Custom homes on the other hand are installing in-floor heating systems. It is an extremely comfortable way to heat a home. The Salmon Plumbing shop on Clarke Road is heated by a boiler system with in-floor heat and we have a separate system for cooling the offices and adding fresh air to the building.
If you have a boiler system and need repairs done, Salmon Plumbing & Heating has a lot of expertise in this area. When we get a service call, it is important for us to know that it is a boiler. You need to work on boilers to know them and not everyone has that level of experience. At Salmon Plumbing & Heating, we employ specialized technicians that have extensive experience with boilers.