Does Your Home Have a Steam Boiler or Hot Water System?

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Does Your Home Have a Steam Boiler or Hot Water System?

Steam boilers
Although homes today are not built with steam boilers as their heat source, many older homes have these work horses, which are durable and reliable when properly maintained.

Steam boilers may be fueled by natural gas or oil. The boiler furnace heats and stores water that is then circulated to warm your home; the hot water turns into steam and travels through pipes to each room’s radiator or baseboards. When the steam cools, it condenses back into water, returns to the boiler, and the process starts over again.

Like all heating and air conditioning systems, it is vital to keep your steam boiler properly maintained; a typical steam boiler will last anywhere from 20 to 30 years with proper care. No one wants to place that emergency call in the dead of winter if the boiler breaks down (due to lack of routine maintenance). That breakdown can also lead to frozen pipes and ensuing plumbing issues.

At Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric, we service steam boilers and hot water baseboard systems that are fueled by natural gas. At our annual maintenance visits, our certified technician will do a full system check and let you know about any parts that need to be replaced. Our routine maintenance includes many components:

  • Check the safety valve, pressure level gauge, and water gauge, the automatic feeder, pressure control, and low water cutoff control
  • Our technician will clean or replace the gauge glass if it is obstructed
  • Check and clean the filters – obstructions will block the heat; a buildup of dirt will affect the system, which will not run as efficiently as possible
  • Inspect and adjust the burner
  • Clean or replace the vents
  • Inspect the gas line, heat exchanger, chimney and flues for blockages or leaks
  • Check radiator air valves and adjust as needed
  • Tighten fittings

If it is time to replace your steam boiler, we can do so as part of our full-service HVAC services and installations. Of course, if you decide you’d like to switch over to from a steam boiler to a forced hot air furnace, or are moving from oil heat to natural gas, we can manage the entire project for you.

Hydronic baseboard systems
Similar to a steam boiler system that uses heated water to warm your home, hydronic/hot water baseboards heat oil from within a reservoir to do the same. These electric baseboard heaters are different from convection baseboards that take in cool air and push out warm air. There are no moving parts (such as fans) so they are quiet as well.

The boiler produces hot water which circulates through pipes, through the metal baseboard heaters installed against the walls and along the floor. Heat is absorbed from the hot pipes and radiated into the room. Hydronic baseboard heating systems are a great option for homes that do not have central heat ductwork, in peripheral spaces (as the primary heat source), or as a secondary heat source for your central HVAC system. They are like individual space heaters for your room that are fully enclosed, safe, and efficient to run. Some benefits of a hydronic baseboard system are:

  • Balanced heating due to the hydronic element’s heat retention qualities – the heat continues to radiate and keeps the indoor air temperature at a comfortable level for an extended time
  • Improve your system’s energy efficiency – your thermostat will cycle on/off less frequently, generating energy savings
  • Good for allergy sufferers – since the baseboards heat fluid that radiates warmth rather than push out air, they are putting more moisture into the air and circulating fewer airborne allergens (dust, dander, etc.)
  • Safe for kids and household pets due to low surface temperature

Hydronic baseboards are easy to install and easy to maintain (simply remove the front panel and vacuum the dust that accumulated on the aluminum fins at least once a year). In addition to installing hydronic baseboard systems, we also install something called an electric mat in bathrooms and small areas. This electric radiant heat source is installed underneath the tile floor and the heat is controlled by a separate thermostat.

Our boiler maintenance plans keep your system running right
Don’t get caught out in the cold this winter! At Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric, we service warm air furnaces, steam boilers and hot water baseboard heating systems that are fueled by natural gas. Our affordable Comfort Club maintenance plans—including our steam boiler and hot water boiler plans—keep your system running smoothly and help you keep up with any necessary repairs, with flexible options to suit your HVAC system configuration and budget.

If you’d like information about installing hydronic baseboards in your home, or other heating systems for your whole house or specific rooms, contact us at 973-227-0505.

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