HVAC Boilers: All You Need To Know
One important part of a home’s HVAC system is the boiler. While this may not be a component you think of regularly, the boiler plays a vital role in your home’s comfort level. The following some information about boilers, examples of boilers and how they work, as well as how to best maintain a boiler.
Homes with an HVAC system typically have either a furnace or a boiler to heat the home. A boiler heats the home with water piping throughout the baseboards. The water moves through the pipes, using special fins to help move the heat throughout the room. Some homes still have radiators instead of a baseboard system.
Boilers come in various formats. The following are some different types of boiler systems.
Water Tube Boiler
A water tube boiler has tubes inside with water circulating throughout. To work, hot combustion gases surround the tubes to create warmth. Heat exchanges through the combustion gases, water, and tubes. They can either be hot water, steam, gas-fired, or oil boilers. They pass the gases through the tubes, which contain water. The water heats and creates radiant heat for the home.
Radiant heat is not available for all homes but is an optimum source of heat if radiant heat is available.
Fire Tube Boiler
A fire tube boiler maintains the process of combustion and gases inside the tubes. The water then circulates around the tubes. Some of these boilers use turbulators with the tubes to help increase the absorption of heat within the water. This creates a more efficient boiler.
These boilers utilize hot flue gases, which pass through tubing that is submerged into water. These are generally in more industrial or commercial applications. They can be either hot water or steam boilers.
Condensing boilers operate more efficiently than other more traditional boiler options. The boiler contains two heat exchangers, which allow for higher levels of heat absorption from flue gases. The condensing boiler absorbs heat so much so that the moisture within the gases can condense.
The condensation requires drainage, as water is a very corrosive material and can cause damage for the entire system. The manufacturer uses special materials to build a condensing boiler to help prevent component corrosion.
The flue is typically made from either stainless steel or PVC pipe, as these materials are resistant to corrosion. The output of the process of combustion needs assistance for safe ventilation due to the removal of a high amount of heat from the gases. A fan pushes or pulls the gases from the vent.
A condensing boiler is more efficient than a conventional atmospheric boiler. A conventional boiler does not have a motor to blow away the residual heat from the gases.
Conventional boilers instead rely on the gases to have adequate heat for the gases to rise out of the flue, which then sends the gas safely outside. Condensation can occur in a chimney or flue if the heat escapes the flue gases, which results in corrosion.
The boiler needs regular inspection by an HVAC technician. During the service, the technician checks the flue gas temperature. He or she will use a combustion analyzer to properly tune the components of the boiler to ensure the gas temperature is at the proper level.
The gas temperature has to be at an adequate temperature so the gas can vent properly. When flue gases are overly hot, your boiler will not operate efficiently as it moves up the flue. When the flue gases are not hot enough, you will have problems with condensation.
Additionally, the technician should make sure to oil your recirculating pump routinely and ensure that radiators have no surrounding debris and heat evenly.
You need to service the boiler at least once a year to ensure it functions efficiently. If you have any questions about heating or cooling systems, please contact us at Service 1 Plumbing, Heating & A/C Inc.