What to Consider When Choosing a Boiler

30 Dec by Will Kruse

What to Consider When Choosing a Boiler

At the very heart of your heating system is its boiler – the one responsible for heating water or creating steam which is then distributed throughout your home, often to the radiators. Then, the radiators transmit heat into your living space to ensure your family’s comfort. Seeing how important the boiler’s role is, it is obvious that you need to have the right boiler for your home to ensure that you can stay comfortably in your home for many years to come while at the same time keeping your energy bills from skyrocketing.

The question now is, how do you choose the best replacement boiler for your house? What factors do you need to consider when choosing a new boiler? Read on as our experts in residential heating services share some answers:

Determine the Fuel Source You Have

If you have a boiler that needs a replacement, you first need to determine the fuel source you have. Typically, boilers use natural gas. If you have gas pumped to your home from a utility main and you get a monthly bill for your gas, then you likely require a natural gas boiler.

That said, natural gas is not available in all locations. In some areas, liquid propane is still used. Liquid propane is stored in a safe tank on a property and could be found either above-ground or underground. For most propane users, their propane gas tank is delivered several times a year.

Fuel oil may also still be used in some homes. If you see an oil tank in your basement or garage, it’s possible that your hydronic system makes use of fuel oil. Oil boilers look different from boilers for other types of fuel because of their burner that protrudes from the front. Such burners are often low to the ground and about as big as a basketball.

Do You Have a Steam or Water System?

Once you have determined your fuel source, you can then proceed to checking if you have a hot water or a steam system. Typically, steam systems in the United States are in the Northeast. They’re often old. Make no mistake, though Steam systems may be aged but that doesn’t mean they’re not reliable or efficient. With proper maintenance, steam systems can actually heat your home and ensure your comfort for many years.

How can you tell if your home has a hot water or steam system? In simple terms, if you have cast iron radiators with an “air vent”, you have a steam system. The air vent is attached to a standing cast iron radiator’s side and lets air escape from the radiator when fresh steam is supplied to the radiator. You won’t find an air vent on a water radiator.

You can also check your boiler. A steam boiler has a “pressuretrol” which is often as big as a small book with a clear cover, providing you with a look at the wiring.

Also, if you only have one pipe leaving the boiler and you don’t see any pipes returning to the system, then you definitely have a steam system.


Size does matter when you’re choosing a new boiler. One that’s too big for your home will be less efficient. Worse, it can send your operating costs through the roof. Oversized boilers can also waste fuel and shorten the lifespan of your system. Therefore, it’s crucial to get the right size of boiler. If you are unsure, it’s best to leave this decision to your heating contractor who can better assess your needs and inspect your existing system.


When choosing your next boiler, make sure that you take into consideration the factors that we discussed in this post. Remember that your boiler plays a crucial role in keeping your home warm and comfortable, so you must take the process of choosing the right boiler seriously. By seeking the help of one of the heating companies in Berkeley, you can be sure that you’re getting the right boiler for your needs and have it installed properly, too.

L.J. Kruse Co. offers reliable residential HVAC services in Berkeley and nearby areas. Whether you need boiler replacement or other heating services, our trained professionals can help you. Schedule your services with us today!

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