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Home Hydronic Boiler FAQs

What is the difference between a boiler and a furnace?
A boiler heats water which is pumped through radiators to heat your home. A furnace heats air which is circulated through your hose with a fan.
How do I know if my boiler is hydronic or steam?
Hydronic boilers use pumps to circulate hot water. A hydronic boiler will have one or several pumps. A steam boiler is not full of water and so it has a glass tube referred to as a gauge glass to see the water level in the boiler.
How often should I have planned maintenance done on my boiler?
Manufacturers recommend an annual visit to inspect items important to insure safe operation.
What are the dangers of not properly maintaining my boiler?
If you do not have proper maintenance, 3 of the most dangerous outcomes would be the possibility of:
1. the boiler heating with insufficient water in the boiler which can cause the boiler to leak.
2. a pressure relief valve that does not open when needed can cause the boiler to explode.
3. plugged flue gas passages can cause spillage of carbon monoxide, which is poisonous.
What is the average lifespan of a boiler?
Boilers usually last 15 to 20 years depending on the manufacturer and the maintenance schedule. Some manufacturers boilers are built for a 30 year lifetime with proper maintenance.
Will installing a high efficiency boiler save money on my fuel bills?
A Boiler’s actual efficiency depends on the system it is heating. If you install a high efficiency boiler on a baseboard fin tube radiator system that is designed to work with 180ᵒF water, the boiler efficiency will only be marginally better than a standard efficiency boiler. Typically when water temperatures exceed 140ᵒF, the boiler flue gas is no longer able to condense and release the extra latent heat to the water. The heat, therefore, that would be able to be used if the water temperature were low enough, is wasted. Your new high efficiency boiler may have a name tag rating of 95% AFUE but will be running at closer to 86% which is only a few percent higher than a standard boiler rated at 84% AFUE.