Gas furnaces for forced hot air systems are the most popular way to heat homes in the US. But boilers remain very popular as well, for a wide variety of reasons. For one thing, houses in colder climates, like ours, are less likely to have ductwork. This is because it was first intended for use in central air conditioning systems, and homes in hotter parts of the country were more likely to be built with air conditioning in mind. Another major reason for the continued popularity of boilers is their longevity. Boilers last longer than furnaces. They might be able to keep heating your home for thirty years! Let’s take a close look at why that is.
Furnaces have a lot of moving parts. A forced-air system needs to force the air and keep it moving. This means fans, and motors to power them. The number of moving parts in a system is directly correlated to the likelihood of something breaking down. Movement creates mechanical stress, leading to wear and tear and parts eventually needing to be replaced.
In contrast, boilers have very few moving parts. In fact, there’s really only one component that can suffer mechanical stress from movement. This is the circulator pump, which keeps the hot water moving throughout the registers, radiators, or system of piping under your floors in the case of radiant floor heat.
On occasion, the circulator pump might require repair. But because it is one component, as compared to multiple fans and motors that help a furnace keep a house warm, boilers are able to last longer. A boiler will also require fewer repairs during its lifetime!
One of the biggest threats to a furnace is corrosion. The combustion gasses, when combined with moisture from condensation, become a liquid with a pH of about 3. This is more acidic than acidic rain, or similar to soda, and if you’ve ever seen those experiments that use soda to dissolve a tooth or a chicken bone, you might be able to imagine how corrosive this is.
But boilers use water, and when metal is exposed to water, it will eventually rust, right? Well, this is true. But boilers have specialized coatings that protect against corrosion for a long time. The coatings can be made of ceramic or other types of metal that are more corrosion-resistant, like chromium. They prevent the water from coming in contact with the steel of the boiler and allow it to keep running for a very long time.
While a boiler may be able to keep a home heated for three decades, there is one key point that we’d like to stress. This estimate of age is based on boilers which receive regular maintenance by professional technicians. A neglected boiler which is never given a checkup will not last nearly as long. So if you do have a boiler, or if you decide to get one, don’t let its fantastic performance lead you to believe it doesn’t need to be maintained.
If you’d like to learn more about boilers in Grand Rapids, MN, we’ll be delighted to answer any questions you have.
Reach out to Mesaba Heating & Air Conditioning today. Service to you is success to us!