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Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC Blog

Are Steam Boilers Appropriate for Installation in a Home?

The term “boiler” makes it sound as if this heating system works by boiling water, but this isn’t necessarily true. Steam boilers must boil water in order to create steam, while the fluid in a regular hot water boiler doesn’t necessarily have to boil. So how do you know if your home system is a steam boiler or a hot water boiler? Well, generally a residential boiler is not a steam boiler. Steam boilers are mainly used in industrial applications because of the high levels of heat they produce. Let’s take a look at how these units work.

Hot water boilers and steam boilers work using fairly similar principles. Both types of systems burn fuel in order to heat water, which passes through a set of pipes and moves into the building to reach an endpoint. This endpoint may be a radiator, convector unit, or baseboard unit, or there may be a set of pipes underneath the floorboards. But steam boilers must boil water at a high temperature and pressure in order to produce steam. Because these systems can produce large amounts of heat at fast rates, they are used to heat spaces too large for a hot water boiler to handle.

A steam boiler can be quite powerful, which is why some homeowners would like for this technology to be made available in their homes. However, steam boilers are simply not appropriate for home installation. Your heating system must be sized for installation and steam boilers are simply too large for any size home. A steam boiler would become overworked in residential use, and most homeowners would have no clue as to how to operate it.

In fact, when a steam boiler is used in a large commercial or industrial application, the boiler operator sometimes has to obtain a license and stay on-site or on-call at all times. However, steam-heating boilers are usually more efficient for use on large commercial properties, since the steam generation calls for fewer circulatory pumps, and because the controls allow for steam to be used for multiple purposes. For example, a hospital may generate process steam for use in sterilizing equipment and use heating steam to heat the building.

The friendly technicians at Basnett Plumbing & Heating can help you to learn more about gas boilers and steam boilers in MetroWest. Contact us today!

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