boilers and water heaters, best plumbing seattle

06 Feb. 19

Water Heaters and Boilers: Learn The Difference

On a cold, rainy Seattle day there’s nothing better than a hot shower in a warm home. But, how exactly is all that warmth produced? In regards to water, at least, many people would say that it’s all thanks to a water heater. However, in many cases, especially for older buildings, or those with radiant heating, it could be a boiler system doing all the work. What’s the difference? Keep reading to find out from the experts at Best Plumbing!

Hot Water Heater

Water heaters have a pretty self-explanatory name. It’s a system that heats up water for you to use in your sinks, showers, laundry machines, etc. The most common version is a storage tank full of water that’s heated by gas or electricity. The hot water is then stored in the tank until you want it. After the hot water runs out, the tank goes about warming up a new batch. Another system that’s gaining popularity is the “tankless” or on-demand water heater. In this case, instead of storing pre-heated water in a tank, a high-powered burner is used to rapidly heat up water as it runs through the pipe to its destination.

Boiler Systems

When you think of a boiler you might imagine the basement of a school, but boilers can be found in a variety of homes and buildings. More versatile than water heaters, a boiler can heat up both water and your home. There are different configurations, but the basic way boilers work is that oil, gas, or electricity heats up fluid in a tank to produce steam. This steam is then used to heat up water for you to use, can be circulated through radiators to warm up your space, or can heat up air for use in a forced air heating system. Once it’s done its job, the steam in the boiler tank returns to a fluid state, ready to be used again.

Let Us Help!

Although some people may use the two names interchangeably, hot water heaters and boilers are not the same. They are distinctly different systems and serve different purposes in your home. When you have problems with a water heater or boiler system your local plumbing experts are here to help. Give Best Plumbing a call at (206) 785-2360 for all of your plumbing needs! We proudly service greater Seattle, the Eastside, and western Snohomish County!

Photo credit: Ri, available under Creative Commons CCO.