I Don’t Get It: How Does a Boiler Work?

Most people live comfortably in their homes with their heating systems working for them without giving much consideration to how they work. There’s nothing wrong with that: you probably don’t understand the operation of many high-tech devices in your home, which is why you hire specialists to repair and maintain them. Modern heating systems, even ones based on centuries-old technology like boilers, are complex pieces of equipment that require years of specialized training to work on them.

However, we can provide you with a short rundown on the operation of a boiler to help you understand how they provide you with such efficient heat. Whenever you need assistance with your boiler in Woodland Park, CO, whether its installation, repairs, or maintenance, contact the 20-year HVAC veterans at Airflow Pros.

The Boiler Basics

Boilers can use a number of different fuel sources (natural gas, electricity, oil) but they all operate on the same principle: heating water in a tank and then circulating it through pipes to terminal points where the heated object radiates warmth into a home and creates convection currents. These terminal points are usually radiators or baseboard heaters. Once the water sent to these points cools down, it returns to the boiler’s tank and the process starts anew.

For natural gas-powered and oil-powered boilers, jets along a burner are responsible for heating up the water in the tank. When the thermostat signals the need for heat, a pilot light or electric igniter turns on the jets in the combustion chamber beneath the tank. A pump at the top of the tank moves the heated water into the pipes.

(This is a good point to mention that, despite the name, most boilers do not boil water at all. Boilers originally used steam, but most residential models do not need to raise the water’s temperature to the boiling point.)

Electric-powered heaters do not need burners or gas jets. When the thermostat requests heat, heating elements made from metal coils inside the tank itself turn on and raise the water’s temperature to the desired level, and then the pump moves the water through the pipe system

You might notice that this process includes few mechanical parts; the water pump is the main one. Because boilers have few moving parts, they suffer much less aging from wear and tear than furnaces do, and consequently have longer service lifespans. With professionals handling your installation and performing yearly maintenance, you can expect your boiler to last you for many years.

Put your trust in Airflow Pros when it comes to your boiler in Woodland Park. We make this promise: we’ll do the job 100% right—or it’s 100% free.

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