As we move into the winter season, a lot of homeowners are thinking about installing new heating system. It is certainly a good idea to upgrade or replace your heating system in the fall, to ensure that you’re well-prepared for the winter months. There are a lot of choices to be made regarding which system will best fit your home, however. Let’s have a look at when a boiler is your best choice for heating.
Radiant Heating vs Forced Air
The primary reason to choose a boiler over a furnace or heat pump is the heating system it uses. A boiler forms the core of radiant heating systems, which distribute heat by circulating hot water instead of air. Pipes are installed throughout the house, usually through the floor or inside the walls. These pipes can have external parts, like baseboard heaters or radiators. As the boiler heats water, it distributes it through these pipes. Heat from the water radiates through the pipes, or the external radiators, and into the room.
Radiant heating provides a number of advantages over forced air systems. One of these advantages is that radiant systems heat a room much more evenly than forced air systems. Warm air naturally rises to the top of a room, where it is of little use to those who need it. Since radiant systems transmit heat through solid objects instead of through the air, the heat stays near the floor of the room where it is most needed.
Another advantage is energy efficiency. Forced air systems lose approximately 30% of their heat to duct leaks on average. Water is a much more efficient thermal conductor than air is, allowing radiant systems to deliver more heat to the house without losing a large percentage to a duct system.
There are a couple of considerations to make before choosing a boiler, though. The first is time. Installing a boiler-based system can be more labor intensive than forced air systems, so make sure you are willing to invest the time. Radiant systems require more of an upfront investment, though they eventually pay for themselves in savings on your heating bill.