Boilers can be somewhat complicated fixtures in the home. If you don't understand the boiler system, you could run into some confusion about how it should operate and how you should maintain it. Below, you will find the answers to some questions that people have had about boilers.

What is the difference between a boiler and a hot water heater?

Unfortunately, the terms boiler and hot water heater are often interchanged; however, they are two different units.

A boiler is a box filled with copper tubing that heats rapidly flowing water quickly. It is used to heat water for entire housing complexes, warm water for swimming pools and maintain hot water in hot tubs.

A hot water heater is what you find in most residential homes. These are much smaller tanks that heat water that is stored inside a tank until it is released through the plumbing to fixtures throughout the home.

Does water need to be treated before feeding into the boiler?

Yes. Water that flows into the boiler should be treated. Treatment of the water serves three purposes:

  • Protects against corrosion
  • Creates a continuous heat exchange
  • Improves the production of quality steam

When untreated water is fed into the boiler, the internal components of the system could corrode, the water could create foam and the system could become clogged.

To prevent these issues, an external water treatment system can be installed. Is some cases, a softener system can be used, but in large industrial situations, an evaporator is the best method of treating the water. In this system, the water enters the evaporator unit and is purified by heating it to form steam. The steam is then released into the boiler system to provide it with the water it needs. This system is typically used in areas where water quality is very poor.

Do you need to add any additives to a boiler system?

The answer to this question varies by situation. In some cases, yes. If the boiler has created foam inside the unit, you will need to add an anti-foaming or anti-priming agent to the liquid. This helps to stop the formation of foam that is created when the water turns into steam and the solids left in the water form foam inside the tank.

If you have further questions about your boiler system, contact a local plumber. He or she will be able to walk you through any questions or concerns that you may have. Contact a company like StateWide Mechanical II Inc. for more information.