What’s the Difference Between a Boiler and a Water Heater?

Every house has one room that is home to its heating appliances. Like our brains, hearts, and lungs, these essential parts keep our homes livable. But just like our internal organs, we often don’t know exactly what’s going on in there, and there is a lot of confusion as to how it all works.

For instance, do you have a water heater, a boiler, or both? This article will tell you which is which and what each of them does.

What is a Water Heater?

If you’ve ever lived in a house with roommates, you know that running out of hot water in the middle of a shower can be a common occurrence. This happens when a home just has a water heater, which is basically a hot water storage tank and that tank runs out of hot water.

Here’s how a water heater works:

Cold water comes in via a pipe at the bottom of the tank, gets heated to an average of 110-120 F using gas or electricity, and then is pumped out via a pipe in the top of the unit as needed.

Hot Water Tank Fort Saskatchewan

Image via www.bradfordwhite.com

Water heater tank capacity varies, but they average about 40-50 gallons in Edmonton. That said, most residential homes have hot water heaters and never run out of hot water because average use is not enough to drain the tank.

Here are a few advantages to having a hot water heater:

  • They allow for continuous, high-demand usage.
  • They cost less up-front than tankless systems.
  • Certain models allow you to control them with an app.

Some disadvantages include the following:

  • Sediment can build up and affect the flow of water coming from your taps.
  • Bacteria in the tank can cause a bad odour.
  • Water heaters have many ports that water can leak from.

If you suspect your water heater isn’t performing as it should be, give us a call and we can fix whatever the problem is.

At Canuck Plumbing and Heating, we recommend and carry Bradford White water heaters, which have an Energy Star rating.

Tankless Water Heaters

With Canadians becoming more environmentally conscious and having a growing interest in energy efficiency, tankless water heaters are gaining popularity.

There are many advantages to tankless heaters:

  • They take up less space as they are mounted onto a wall.
  • They heat the water on-demand, thus reducing energy consumption compared to a water heater, which has to keep an entire tank at a steady temperature all the time.
  • They provide continuous hot water.
  • They’ll save you money on your utilities.
tankless water heater Fort Saskatchewan

Image via us.navien.com

Here are some disadvantages of a tankless heaters:

  • Tankless water heaters cost two to three times more than traditional water heaters.
  • Installation requires a professional.
  • Tankless systems require their own electrical circuitry, so some rewiring may be necessary.

At Canuck Plumbing and Heating, we specialize in equipment repairs and installation. We can install a great tankless water heater by Navien.

What is a Boiler?

Boilers are common, if not essential, for commercial application. Apartment buildings, swimming pools, hotels, schools, hospitals, and more all use boilers. Boilers heat water as needed for household hot water needs, but they can also heat water and force it through the home to give off heat for a central heating system.

In homes, boilers are more energy efficient than hot water tanks because they heat water instantly and don’t require a storage tank. A combi tank will provide heat to your home as well via a central heating system, which eliminates the need for a furnace.

The benefits of having a boiler in your home are similar to a tankless heater:

  • Economical to operate.
  • Ideal for vacation homes and to save energy costs when on vacation.
  • No tank, which means increased living space.
  • Great for homes with high hot water use.
  • Boilers also make a home more humid, which can eliminate the need for a humidifier in our dry Edmonton climate.
boiler Fort Saskatchewan

Image via www.bradfordwhite.com

Boilers can run into problems as well. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • No heat or hot water due to broken parts.
  • Leaks and drips (there can be many causes).
  • Banging, whistling, and gurgling, which are likely caused by low water pressure. (Do you notice strange noises coming from your furnace? Here’s what those sounds could mean.)
  • The pilot light can go out.

For the full list, read this article, Top 10 Most Common Boiler Problems.

No matter which you have in your home, Canuck Plumbing provides their repair/replacement services for both hot water heaters and boilers. Do you suspect that something is wrong with your boiler or hot water heater? Is your water supply showing signs of trouble, like these ones?

For repairs or service, give us a call, and we’ll give you the red carpet treatment!

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