A Look At The Pros And Cons Of Residential Steam Boiler Systems

Posted on: 18 April 2016


Forced air heating might receive a lot of attention because it's cheap to install initially, but if you're building a new home and need to install a heating system, it's worth your while to consider steam boiler heating, too. Steam boiler heating systems work by heating up water to the point that it boils, and then driving that steam into radiators found through the home. Here's a look at the pros and cons of this type of system.

Pro: Steam boiler heating is clean.

With forced air heating, every time the heat kicks on, air flows through the ducts and blows any dust or debris that has settled in the ducts into the home. This not only leads to a dustier home, but can also be a nightmare for people with allergies. There's also a chance of mold growth within the ducts, which can lead to allergies and illness. Steam boiler heating is a much cleaner option. The water is consistently enclosed in the steam boiler system. Allergens are not propelled through the home, and there are no ducts to serve as mold growth points. This makes steam boiler heating a common choice among those with allergies – and even those who simply hate having to dust and vacuum all of the time.

Pro: Steam boiler heating is comfortable.

Forced air heating warms the air in your home, but the floors and walls tend to stay chilly, so you get chilled when you walk across them or touch them. Steam boiler heating heats via radiation. (That's why the units in your home are called radiators). What this means is that instead of hanging out in the air through the air, the heat "radiates" through the walls, floors and ceilings, warming them. This makes homes heated with boiler-style heating more comfortable on chilly days.

Con: Steam boilers cost more than furnaces.

Boilers do cost more up front than furnaces. Costs vary widely based on your region and the size of the boiler you need, but you can expect to pay between $6,000 and $9,000 for a high-efficiency gas-powered boiler.  A high-efficiency furnace typically costs between $3,000 and $5,000.

Con: Steam boiler heating can cause water damage in the case of breakdowns.

If a forced air heating system breaks down, you just don't have heat. There won't really be any further damage caused. However, since steam boiler heating involves water, there are times when breakdowns can cause water to leak out and cause damage to your home. Water damage can be ugly and expensive to repair—plus you'll have the heater repairs to worry about.

If you're prepared to deal with potential water damage and can come up with the additional money, boiler-style heating is a comfortable, clean choice for your home. Contact a company like A Bailey Plumbing for more information on which heating unit might be right for you.