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Category: Understanding Boilers/Hydronic Heating

Hydronic Heating and Boilers

Hydronic heating is very simple to understand. Basically it is heating a space using heated water. Hot water is used as the medium to transfer heat from the boiler to a radiator. Steam which is a vapor of heated water above boiling point is also considered hydronic heating.Boiler

Boilers are used to heat the water to a set temperature in order to be used to heat your home or office space. The piping and pumps are used by the heated water to travel to the radiator. The radiator is where the heat transfer from water to air takes place.

Choosing a Boiler

When choosing a replacement boiler you have many options. Efficiency is a big concern. The more efficient your boiler is, the less fuel over time you will spend heating your home. Which is a cost savings to you and the environment.

There are many brands of boilers to choose from. Weil Mclain®, Peerless®, Crown®, Carrier®, HB Smith® and Slant Fin® are just a few of the brands. Make sure you're happy with the boiler you choose because boilers have a tendency to last for decades. This will be in your home for a long time to come and if it isn't fuel efficient, your wallet will pay for just as long.

Choosing a Contractor to Install A Boiler

A good contractor in NJ is very difficult to find. When I say good, is any heating contractor in NJ good enough to install a steam boiler? Certain boilers like steam boilers take a certain kind of experience.Boiler zone Valves Usually a "old timer" is best to install or replace steam boilers. This type of system is being replaced and is somewhat of a dinosaur ( no pun intended ). It really takes a certain kind of installer to install one of these. Hopefully the contractor you choose has been around these boilers before because simple piping mistakes can create problems like your steam pipes hammering.

Another common mistake installers make is matching the BTU's of the old boiler when replacing a boiler. Do not let this happen to your home or wallet. A proper heat loss calculation needs to be done on your home for hot water boilers. On steam systems, all the piping and radiators need to be taken into consideration before a boiler BTU size is determined.


Slant/Fin Caravan Boiler installation. Slant/Fin Caravan modular boiler system makes it easy to size a system to your requirements. Also, this modular boiler system allows you to add a boiler at a later date if your heating requirements change. Other benefits is the ability to stage boilers on making a commercial heating system extremely energy efficent.

Capacity: 280,000 - Multi-million Btuh inputBoiler

Easy Steps to figure out what size boiler is needed for your home

To get a quick reference of what size boiler is needed for a application is to multiply 50 by the square footage of your home. For example, if your home is 1800 square foot, multiply 1800 by 50 and your looking at roughly a 90,000 BTU boiler.

There is only one way to properly size a hot water boiler and that's to calculate the heat loss of a home or structure. The above method will put you in the ball park of what size boiler you need, but it is not the proper way to size a boiler.

Weil-McLain® has a wonderful PDF online that can take you through the steps of properly sizing a boiler and calculating heat loss. That can be found here.

Steam boiler sizing is a little different then hot water boilers. Steam boilers are sized to the radiators and piping. Proper measuring of the pipes and radiators will tell you how much steam needs to be produced. Reason for this is enough steam needs to be produced to reach all radiators before it can condense back to water. The boiler must be able to produce enough steam to match the system's ability to condense steam.

tip: There are products to convert your existing furnace or boiler from oil to gas.

Converting from oil to gas if you don't want to replace boiler

With today's oil prices, is it economically cheaper to switch to gas? I do not know. But I do know oilOil to Gas Burner burns hotter and the benefits especially to steam heat will be lost due to water heating up much slower when using gas.