Why Are Boilers Ideal for Cold Northern Climates?

There’s a pretty strong chance you have been somewhere that relies on a boiler for heat during winter months. Boilers are a type of heater that uses water to carry heat throughout your home or business to where it is needed. Once there, it uses a coil of pipe, known as a radiator, to release heat into the atmosphere of that particular room. This makes boilers quiet, effective, and remarkably energy-efficient, and that makes them an ideal choice for a heat source. This is particularly true in cold northern climates like ours here in Minnesota. In this blog, we’ll explain why in a little more detail and help you to better understand why a boiler may be the perfect choice for you.

How Boilers Work

Boilers are actually incredibly simple machines. Boilers heat water up to an extremely high temperature. Because one of the unique characteristics of water is an incredibly high specific heat (the amount of heat needed to raise a standardized amount of water by one degree), water is actually capable of carrying this heat energy over long distances. Once at temperature, your boiler then pumps that water out to where it is needed in your home. In each of these heating zones is a metal coil known as a radiator, which allows the water to shed heat through the process of radiation. By releasing it into the atmosphere of a room, it warms the room and keeps everyone inside comfortable.

By this point, the water has cooled significantly and it needs to head back to the boiler. This is done using a recirculator pump. Once it reaches your boiler again, the boiler reheats it, and the water is pumped back out. The process is quiet, ongoing, and can even be used to supply your home with hot water as well as heat if your system is set up properly.

Cold Weather Performance

However, why are boilers an ideal heat source for northern climates? The easiest answer is cold weather performance: boilers are hard to beat when it comes to effective heating in below-freezing temperatures. Forced air systems, such as traditional furnaces, have an inherent problem: the air they produce will rise to the top of the room it is in. This effect is compounded as the cold air in a room becomes colder. Thus, it takes longer to heat these spaces and all the while you lose more heat through air leaks.

Likewise, furnaces either depend on a natural gas or oil supply, and those supplies are prone to interruption during extremely cold periods. With a boiler and recirculator system as well as proper pipe insulation, the water in your boiler lines will continue to keep you warm during even freezing-cold periods. The only thing we advise is properly insulating any exposed sections of your main water line—this keeps your water supply flowing so your boiler can remain fully-supplied with the water it needs to operate.

Boilers Offer More Flexibility Than You Think

There is one particular place where you’ll see boilers used for heating quite often: older and historic buildings. Because many old buildings were not constructed with central heating in mind, they also were not built according to standards that would allow for the installation of ductwork. In fact, many of these buildings don’t even have half of the space needed to run an effective air duct. However, boilers simply rely on pipes to carry water where they are needed, and these pipes usually have a diameter of anywhere from ¾-inch to one inch. That narrow size means it’s easy to run these lines inside walls, in ceilings overhead, and even in floors below.

In fact, in-floor lines are actually yet another way boilers can be remarkably flexible, even in modern structures. Do you loathe how stepping on a tile floor in the middle of winter can be like stepping on an ice rink while barefoot? They don’t have to be that way—boilers can also power in-floor radiators that warm your tile floors for you. These systems use flexible tubing that is embedded beneath your floor to release the heat. The heat then goes into your floor tiles, where it warms them and makes them more comfortable for your feet. For homes that are heavily tile-dependent, this type of heating could be a lifesaver. Not only does it heat your tile floor directly (unlike a forced-air system), but it does so far more efficiently and safely than an electric-based floor heater ever could.

Does your boiler need to be repaired? Are you looking to replace your boiler or install a new water-based heating system? Look no further than the local experts at Service Today! Dial (651) 419-3228 today to request more information.
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