Try our new Ductless System Builder to address your home's cooling and heating needs.

3 min min. read

January 13th, 2021

The Wade Team

What Is A Boiler and How Does It Work?

Boilers operate by heating water within a vessel using gas, oil, or coal. This heated water, either turned into steam or kept in liquid form depending on the type of boiler you have, is then sent through a system of radiators placed throughout a home in order to provide indoor heating.

The basic process boilers use to heat your home:

  • STEP 1: Water is heated and then circulated through the piping and radiator circuits. Different boilers are designed to work with specific fuel types to perform this process, the most common of which being gas and oil.
  • STEP 2: The boiler releases the hot water or steam, depending on which type of system it is, throughout water pipes connecting to radiators located throughout your home.
  • STEP 3: The hot water or steam passes through the radiator tubes’ thick metal walls to distribute the heat to the room the radiator is located.
  • STEP 4: Once cooled, the water or steam that has been converted back into water since cooling, is directed through the boiler water pipe system to the original heating vessel. start this process over again to continuously provide heating for a building.
  • STEP 5: The system starts the process over again to continuously provide heating for a home or office.

Types Of Boiler Systems & How They Work

How Does a Steam Boiler Work?

Steam boilers function by creating a combustion reaction by electrical ignition between air and fuel. This causes tubes within the boiler that are immersed in water to heat up. The heat raises the water temperature to about 212°F, the highest temperature at which water can still exist in liquid form at this pressure. This causes the water which the tubes are submerged in to turn into steam. The steam travels from the boiler through piping to the radiators throughout the building to provide indoor heating. After the steam in the pipes and radiators has cooled, it becomes liquid water and flows through the pipes back to the boiler water heating chamber and repeats the cycle.

How Does a Hot Water Boiler Work?

A hot water boiler uses oil or gas fuel, depending on the system type, to produce heat energy. This energy heats the boiler water to a high enough temperature to power your radiators to heat your home.

How Does a Gas Boiler Work?

Gas boilers work by releasing the fuel through a gas valve into a sealed combustion chamber in the boiler through small jets. With an electrical ignition, the gas is combusted to create heat. This heat is absorbed by a connected pipe carrying cold water. The water is heated to about 180°F and transferred to the radiators through your home to maintain the heated indoor climate you desire.

How Does an Oil Boiler Work?

Oil fueled boilers work similarly to gas fuelled boilers. They keep a home warm by heating water and transferring it through a system of pipes and radiators that distribute the heat through your home. The significant difference between them is that these systems combust oil instead of gas to provide heating.

The process an oil burner follows starts when the cooled water returns from heating the radiators in your home. This cooled water in the boiler reduces the boiler water temperature until it triggers a temperature sensor which initiates an electric charge that turns the oil burner on. Once triggered, the system uses high pressure to spray small droplets of oil into the fire chamber. These tiny drops of oil vaporize with ease and are highly combustible. A spark is ignited from a high voltage ignition system, causing the sprayed oil droplets to combust and which allows the oil boiler to sufficiently prepare the water that will be used to heat your home.

Our HVAC Service Area

We provide air conditioning system services, ac installation, and ac replacement services throughout the Pittsburgh area, Allegheny County, Beaver County, Washington County, and surrounding areas. Check out our service areas below. You can also find a full list of our service areas here.

Sign Up for our Newsletter, Coupons & Free Stuff