Boiler-based heating systems have been around for a very long time. They’ve changed in some pretty incredible ways over the decades, but the general principles have remained the same. So, what can a boiler system offer you that other systems can’t? Read on to find out.
Practically all boiler systems involve some form of radiant heating. Radiant heating involves the installation of water pipes throughout the space you want heated. These pipes are often installed in the walls or subfloor of a room. Occasionally, these pipes will terminate in a terminal, like a cast-iron radiator or a baseboard heater. The boiler then heats water, and pumps it through these pipes throughout the house.
The principle at work for all radiant heating systems is more or less the same. As the hot water flows through the pipes, heat radiates from them and into the room. If there are terminal points being used, they will be the primary heat distributors. Otherwise, the pipes in the floors and walls will radiate heat into the room directly. This is essentially how all boiler-based systems work.
There are a few really great advantages associated with boiler-based systems. The number one advantage is energy efficiency. Two factors contribute to the boiler being a much more efficient heater than other systems, especially forced air. The first is that water is a much better thermal conductor than air is. The second is that forced air systems tend to lose 20-30% of their heat on average to duct leaks. So, not only does radiant heating use a better heating medium, but it also uses a better delivery system. This means that it can deliver much more heat to the desired area.
Because radiant heating relies on transmitting thermal energy through solid objects, it manages to much more evenly heat the room than forced air systems. Warm air rises to the top of a room and descend as it cools, which creates cold spots. Radiant heating transmits heat from the floor upwards, keeping the room evenly heated for a greater period of time.