Making The Right Call: Water Heater vs. Boiler

Making The Right Call: Water Heater vs. Boiler

Whether you’re moving into your first home or you’ve been a homeowner for over ten years, there are certain things everyone knows about houses. You want a working air conditioner for the summer months and a heater for when it gets cold, a dishwasher to lessen the chore load—maybe you’re even toying with the idea of getting that new steam cleaning washing machine.

But one amenity stands out among all the necessities and frivolities: hot water. Unless it’s the middle of summer, waking up to a cold shower is usually an unwelcome surprise. But when it comes to deciding how you’ll get your hot water, many homeowners don’t have a ready answer. How do you choose between a water heater and a boiler? And what is the difference?

At Einstein’s Plumbing and Heating, we want to help you answer these questions and make your choice easier.

What is a water heater?

A water heater is used exactly how you may think it’s used—to heat the water used in your home. The storage tank holds a ready supply of water within it, which is heated by the tank’s fuel source. These fuel sources can range in types from electricity or gas, to solar power.

Once the water is warmed, it is stored in the tank until it’s needed, whether for your shower, a load of laundry, or doing the dishes. When water is pulled from the tank, fresh, cold water is filled into the bottom of the tank to then be heated and used up.

This type of appliance is ideal for smaller spaces that may not need as much hot water supplied to them at one time. There are also multiple types of water heaters to choose between; you can purchase conventional, tankless, and hybrid water heaters. Because they are easier to use, water heaters are more likely to feature simpler controls.

Pros:

  • Ideal for smaller sized spaces

  • Simple controls

  • Different options for fuel sources

  • Multiple types to choose between ensures you get the best fit for your needs

Cons:

  • Tank size could affect the amount of hot water available for larger family homes

  • Has to replace warm water after every use

What is a boiler?

Boilers, as they are aptly named, do more than heat water. These appliances actually boil water to transform the water into steam. The heat from the steam is then used for many purposes: central and water heating, as well as daily uses of cooking, cleaning, or sanitation. Interestingly, once the heat is pulled from the steam, the steam actually returns directly to the boiler to be reused and reheated later on. Boilers can be very energy efficient thanks to this process. Once the water is returned to be reused, it’s still warm and will take even less time to heat up again!

Boilers have a different and wider range of uses than your typical water heater may.

Thanks to the way they pull heat from steam as opposed to directly warming the water you use, they can handle larger needs than a water heater could. Boilers are often used to heat entire hot tubs, pools, or complexes. However, because boilers are used for larger heating projects, their controls are often more complex and may require a greater understanding or professional support to control.

Pros:

  • Faster heating due to water return process

  • Energy efficient

  • Able to heat large areas

  • Can run on alternative fuels

Cons:

  • More complex controls

  • Generally more expensive

In the end, whether you choose a water heater or a boiler really depends on what you and your family require. Einstein’s Plumbing and Heating can answer all of your questions and our technicians can help you decide which option is best for you and your lifestyle. Schedule an appointment with us today!

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