A boiler is a system that provides heat for your home, and so is one of the most important appliances you can invest in. While maintaining it is of supreme importance, there comes a time when it must be replaced. It may have needed repairs too often, or it may just not be as efficient as a newer model. Before having a new boiler installed, consider the different types of boilers available, how each will fit into your home and best meet your needs.
There are three types of boilers: combination (combi) boilers, system boilers, and conventional boilers. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, so carefully consider the pros and cons of each for your particular situation, before making your decision.
Combi boilers, are very popular in northern reaches, with the Navien Combi being among the best-selling combi boilers in Canada, particularly in Toronto, and the Lower Mainland. Wven our neighbors south of the border in the U.S. are catching on! Combis don't use tanks or cylinders. They provide hot water on demand by diverting the water through a heat exchanger. They tend to be small and are popular in places where space is at a premium.
- Heat and hot water when you need it.
- Doesn't take up a lot of space.
- If you have extra room, a small tank can be added to increase performance when using multiple taps (this is known as a combination storage boiler).
- Water pressure can drop if you need it from more than one tap, unless you install a storage tank.
- Installation is difficult for the DIYer and should be handled by a professional.
A system boiler doesn't use a water tank. Instead, it pumps water through the radiator and into a sealed storage cylinder before sending it along to the taps. It can service more taps than a combi boiler can, without needing the space for a water tank. In fact, most components found separately in a conventional boiler are built into the system boiler, which helps save space while providing decent performance.
- No water tank is required.
- Can provide hot water to more taps without loss of pressure.
- Quick installation time.
- If too big of a demand drains the cylinder, you'll have to wait for it to reheat.
- You need space for the cylinder.
This is what most people think of when they hear the word boiler. Some people confuse boilers and hot-water heaters, thinking that they are the same things. But there are differences. The biggest difference is that a hot-water heater actually stores and heats the water. In a boiler, the water is pumped through pipes to be heated rapidly. They tend to need quite a bit of space, even more than a hot-water heater, due to the pumps and controls. While it takes up quite a bit more space than a hot-water heater, it can also respond to the demand of several taps at once, such as you might find in an apartment or office complex.
- Can effectively service many taps, including entire complexes
- Very reliable with normal maintenance.
- Versatile, and may be pump or gravity fed.
- Not always the most energy-efficient choice.
- Space is needed for the cylinder, the tank, and the controls.
It's often best to have a professional do a boiler-install job. While it can be more expensive, and while you may feel capable of handling it, a professional installer can make sure that any pipes or lines your new boiler is hooking up to are in good shape and up to code. This is especially true if you are replacing a very old boiler. If you try to do it yourself and find you're in over your head, it can be even more expensive to have a professional come into fix your mistakes than it would have been to hire the professional in the first place!
As you can see, boilers don't fit into a one-size-fits-all category. They are fairly particular depending on the application. If you are unsure of what kind of system you need, or if you want to learn more about what's available and how well it will work for your home, please contact us today and we'd be happy to help you find the boiler that is right for you!