Just as the name suggests, gas boilers are powered by the combustion of natural gas. The burning gas heats up water, which in turn is circulated around the building. Sometimes the water is heated to steam. Heat from the steam or hot water radiates into the rooms, hence raising the indoor temperature. This ensures that the temperature in a building is conducive at all times, regardless of the temperature outside.
There are several types of boilers available in the market. The main difference between the boiler types lies in the design, technology or operational mechanisms that they use. Some of the common types include:
• Conventional boilers
• Combination boilers
• System boilers
• Condensing boilers
The first three types use a similar operation mechanism. The difference is in the availability of cylinders and tanks. On the other hand, condensing boilers are not strictly a type of boiler, but an attribute that a boiler can possess. For instance there are condensing conventional boilers and condensing conventional boiler. To understand further, one should take a closer look at condensing gas boilers.
A condensing boiler is a high-efficiency boiler. It uses the hot waste gases, produced when fuel is burned, to heat water. This is more ecological and efficient and many buildings are adopting this type boiler.
Condensing boilers contain a device called a heat exchanger. This device condenses the water vapor in the exhaust chamber and extracts its latent heat. The latent heat is then used to heat water in the boiler. This reduces the amount of heat needed to warm the water. Therefore, the burner can be set at a lower temperature, using less gas.
Research has shown that when operating well, this type of boiler can run at more than 90% efficiency. Not only does it lower heating costs, but also saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. That is why many people are turning to this form of boiler.
On the down side, condensing boilers are more complicated than the traditional boilers. This makes them difficult to operate. Moreover they are more likely to breakdown and their lifespan is half the lifespan of the traditional boilers.
Oil Versus Gas
There has always been a debate as to which boiler is better — an oil boiler or a gas boiler. Before purchasing a boiler, one should compare the two and see which one befits his or her building. This should start by considering factors such as:
• Availability of fuel
• Cost of operation
For instance, when it comes to convenience, gas boilers are better. This is because natural gas is pumped directly to the home and usage is monitored by the local utility. Therefore, one does not have to schedule deliveries or fear shortage of supply.
Converting from one boiler to the other is quite expensive. This is because gas boilers have a design that is different from that of oil boilers. Therefore, it is important for one to do careful research before installing a boiler, since making changes after installation is not easy.