While not as common as furnaces and heat pumps, boilers are still used as residential heating systems. They’ve been around since the late 18th century. Boilers generate radiant heat that can create comfortable indoor living spaces during the cooler months of the year. Below are five common myths about boilers that you shouldn’t believe.
#1) Requires Ductwork
Boilers don’t require ductwork. This is one of the main ways in which they differ from furnaces. Furnaces are central, forced-air heating systems. Furnaces generate hot air by consuming natural gas or electricity. A blower will force this hot air into the ductwork where it’s then distributed to the individual rooms. Boilers, on the other hand, generate hot water by consuming either natural gas or electricity. The hot water will run through baseboards or radiators to heat your home’s living spaces.
#2) Cheaper Than Furnaces
Most boilers aren’t cheaper than furnaces. You can expect to pay more for a boiler than a furnace. Boilers are more complex. They consist of a water-heating system along with baseboard passages or radiators. Regardless, boilers cost more to purchase and install than furnaces.
#3) Powered By Boiling Water
Another common myth is that boilers are powered by boiling water. In the past, boilers did, in fact, use boiling water. They would boil water to generate steam. The steam would travel through the home’s baseboards or radiators to warm it. Modern boilers no longer use boiling water. Instead, they simply use heated water, which is typically achieved by consuming natural gas.
#4) Increases Humidity
Humidity isn’t a concern with a boiler. When installed properly, a boiler shouldn’t make your home more humid. Some people assume that boilers increase indoor humidity levels because of their water-based operation. Boilers work by heating water, followed by sending this heated water through baseboards and radiators. Boilers, however, use a closed heating system. None of the water should be able to escape the boiler, so it won’t affect indoor humidity levels.
#5) No Maintenance Requires
Boilers aren’t maintenance free. Of course, they don’t have an air filter. Only forced-air heating systems, such as furnaces, have an air filter. Boilers don’t use ductwork, nor are they are forced-air heating systems. While you won’t have to change the air filter on it, boilers still require some basic maintenance. The baseboard and radiator passages, for example, may require flushing, and the mechanical parts of a boiler may require lubrication.