Boilers are unlike furnaces and stoves as they do not use forced air to distribute the heat produced like coal stoves and furnaces. Boilers use water to distribute the heat produced which has many advantages! The heated water then flows through pipes and radiates warmth into the home. Here are more boiler advantages to consider!
Use of Water
Water is a great medium to transfer thermal energy compared to air as water is warmed it stays warmer longer. Boilers will never have duct leaks and save much more energy compared to other forced air systems which use large blowers to force the air through the unit and into the house. The heat from a boiler system is moister and is more even and comfortable than forced air systems.
Water is very versatile. It can even be piped underground to your garage or shop. Once the pipes take the hot water to the area needing heat there are several different ways to transfer the hea into the space. You can use hot-water baseboard heaters, and cast-iron radiators, another option, which is our favorite, is to run pipes throughout your floor (in-floor heat). If you have an existing forced-air system you can install water to air heat exchanger in the ductwork. These look similar to a car radiator. The blower will then distribute the heat from the exchanger to the rest of your home. You can even find water to air heat exchangers that have a fan built-in, sometimes they are called modines.
Heat transferred through the different types of radiators, and especially in-floor heat, provides better control, also, the temperature will be more consistent and not fluctuate as much throughout your house. As a result, the heat will be more comfortable and gentle during your colder months. In addition, the air quality will be much better as dust and other allergens will not be blown along with the heat throughout your house. Boilers are also less noisy as compared to furnaces.
Depending on the model you get, you can enjoy automatic feeding and ash dumping. Check with the dealer on the availability of coal stokers that automatically stoke and self-feed to further assess user-friendliness. Some come with 350lb hoppers which can last up to 7 days without fuel being added. Boilers are also available as a hand-fired units, which can burn hard coal or soft coal. Hand-fired units have a max burn time of 12-24hrs. This type will require the user to shake the ash into the pan and load the fire with fresh coal.
That’s not all! We have integrated an oil burner into both our hand-fired and automatic stoker boilers. You can have the ease of burning oil whenever you would like, with the ability to save money with coal, all in one unit.
Years of Savings
Boilers have a longer life span than most other heating devices, some 35 years and counting. Boilers have a water jacket that surrounds the fire and heat exchanger. This is especially important with coal boilers because their fire can reach temperatures of 3,000F – 4,000F. When steel gets too hot it will bend or warp and eventually crack. The water keeps the metal cool which means cracking and warping are not an issue with well-built boilers. Still, using heavy-gauge steel and firebricks is a good idea in a boiler, which is why you will find those in our units.
There are two different types of boilers non-pressurized (open) systems and pressurized (closed) systems. They both accomplish the same task it is just that open systems require a lot more user attention.
Open systems are cheaper to build, but with the water being open to the air it will contain oxygen. Oxygen and water will rust and erode the boiler wall if special chemicals are not added to the water. Water will also evaporate and the system will need to be monitored constantly.
Closed systems typically operate at 12 psi and are more expensive to build. Since the water is under pressure and completely closed off from oxygen rust and erosion are never issues. Closed systems do not require additives each year.
A hot flue means you are heating the outside and I am sure you would rather put that heat in your home. Boilers use water so they can cool the exhaust much faster and more than a hot air furnace. A well-designed coal boiler can have an efficiency of over 80%. A great way to determine how much heat is going out of your flue is to measure its temperature. An efficient boiler will be somewhere between 250F – 320F.
Boilers can last a long period of time that will offset the initial cost in the future. Coal can be easily found at stable and affordable prices in the northeast states. Boilers give you the most flexibility in the type of heating system you can choose. Heating your domestic water is easily done which further maximizes your coal boiler. Also, save by using less fuel in an efficient boiler. Boilers are amazing options if you are looking for a more affordable alternative and will pay for themselves 3-5x throughout their lifetime!