There aren’t a lot of appliances that you’ll buy for your home that are expensive as a new hot water boiler.

Typically, you’ll spend between $1,500 and $3,500 on a new boiler — and then add on a few thousand dollars for installation.

Before you make this kind of investment, make sure you do your homework and know what you’re getting into with a new hot water boiler.

What Exactly Is a Hot Water Boiler and What Do I Need to Know?

A hot water boiler heats your home. It’s one of the most common heating systems (aside from a furnace), and they’re often found more often in older homes in the northeast or those in areas that have cold weather.

They heat water and then distribute the hot steam or the hot water to your home through pipes. Steam goes to the radiator and hot water flows to radiators or radiant heat systems. New boilers are extremely energy-efficient (even more so than a furnace). They get their fuel from natural gas, heating oil, electricity, or propane.

Here’s what you need to know before you buy.

1. Boilers Come in Three Types

The most common types of boilers are system boilers, combination boilers, and standard boilers.

System boilers keep hot water in high-pressure, sealed cylinders. It can be distributed to multiple taps within your home at the same time, meaning there is a minimal drop in water pressure if multiple faucets are running at the same time.

Combination boilers are best for apartments or small homes. They heat water on demand, so you get hot water immediately and without delay, but the supply is limited since there is no tank holding the water.

Standard boilers work best in buildings or larger residences. Standard boilers have a hot water tank that heats the pipes that run through it.

2. Boilers Are Condensing or Non-Condensing

Boilers are either condensing or non-condensing.

One that is condensing concentrates water vapor produced during the heating process. This “waste heat” is then used to preheat the cold water entering the boiler, making these very energy-efficient.

Non-condensing boilers operate at higher temperatures and the heat gets vented outside, rather than being used to preheat the water in the boiler. The non-condensing boilers are less energy efficient as well.

3. Boilers Are Sealed Combustion or Non-Sealed Combustion

Sealed combustion units are the better option, as they bring outside air into the burner and direct exhaust gases outside. Non-sealed combustion boilers bring the heated are in and then send it up the chimney, which wastes the energy used to heat the air.

Sealed combustion boilers also won’t release dangerous gases into your home, like non-sealed ones can.

4. Boilers Should Be Serviced Annually

You should have your boiler serviced by a professional annually, just as you would a furnace.

The technician should check the boilers and the upright and baseboard radiators. They can troubleshoot any problems as well as make sure everything is working efficiently.

5. Boilers Only Provide Heat

One important thing to remember is that boilers only provide heat. So if you live in an area that gets hot enough where you’d want to cool your home, you’ll need an air conditioning system as well.

The Bottom Line

Before making a purchase as large as a new hot water boiler, make sure you understand everything there is to know about boilers. This guide will get you started on the right track.

Give us a call today to see how we can help guide your decision. We’re also available for boiler installation and repair.