Leave a Review
Call Us

Boiler FAQ’s: How Boilers Work


Whether you are house hunting, recently moved into a new home, or you’ve been in your home for years, knowing how boilers work is important in assessing your boiler’s general condition. Ensuring that the heating system in your home is working properly, efficiently, and safely is extremely important.

Here Are Some Frequently Asked Questions About Boilers:


Q: How Do Boilers Work?

Boiler systemA: Many people know the purpose of boilers, but don’t actually know how boilers work. Modern boilers do not actually “boil” water. The word boiler comes from a time where steam boilers were common (boiled water to make steam). So, then how do modern boilers work? When your thermostat calls for heat, a valve on the boiler opens releasing gas through small jets into a sealed combustion chamber within the tank of the boiler. The jets are then lit by an electric ignition system. Working with a heat exchanger connected to a pipe that holds the cold water, the exchanger heats up the water. The pipe is a part of a larger system that carries hot water to each radiator. When hot water reaches the radiator, the heat is used to warm your home.


Q: Why Do Boilers Break?

A: Some common boiler issues are pumps, parts, or electrical components failing. Low water pressure and/or air entering the system can result in water not moving within the system correctly.


Q: How Do I Know If My Boiler Is Operating Efficiently?

A: Boilers require annual maintenance and cleaning to help maintain their efficiency. New boilers will have an ErP energy label, which ranks its efficiency. If your energy bills have sky rocketed, you are hearing strange noises coming from your boiler, or your heat and hot water are inconsistent, your boiler may not be running as efficiently as it could, and you may need boiler repair or a new boiler installation.


Q: How Do I Know If I Need A New Boiler?

A: If your boiler is 10+ years old, it’s leaking, you have no hot water, or it keeps shutting off, it may be time for a replacement.


Q: How Do I Know How Old My Boiler is?

A:Boiler specs sticker The easiest way to determine the age of your boiler on your own is by looking at its serial number and doing some research on it. Before you purchase a home, your inspector will look at your boiler and give you a general assessment of its age/condition. If you are still unsure of your boiler’s age or condition, contact your heating professional for an in-depth inspection!


Q: What Are The Benefits Of A High Efficiency Boiler?

A: High efficiency boilers are defined by having an efficiency of greater than 90%, meaning that in excess of 90% of the fuel burned will be converted to useful heat. This increases operating efficiency, reduces heating bills, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and increases comfort levels.

Knowing how boilers work is important in properly maintaining and caring for your system. If your boiler system is younger than 10 years old, and is generally still performing effectively, you’ll want to perform annual boiler service to continue to maintain your boiler. Regular repairs and servicing can help to preserve the lifespan of your boiler, and avoid premature replacement. If your boiler is acting unusual, or you suspect you’re in need of a repair contact Kulk’s Plumbing & Heating for assistance!