Ask Your Calgary Plumber: What’s a Residential Boiler?

Most of us who live in single family homes are very accustomed to the mechanical room containing a furnace and a water heater. A boiler is something you find in the basement of an apartment or commercial building, right?

A boiler takes the place of the furnace and the water heater, and heats water for both centralized heating and hot water use in the home. People usually think of them more for large complexes or in commercial contexts, but with hot water tank regulations changing in the next few years, we’re going to see residential boilers becoming a more popular option. Here’s why.


A boiler is the most efficient option by far, when compared to water heaters. While a water heater is busy heating water all the time, even when you’re not using it, a boiler has a 75% turn-down ratio, meaning that a 150,000 BTU unit can modulate as low as 15,000 BTU.

Certain models come with a lifetime warranty whereas a water heater’s life expectancy is generally about ten years. This is thanks to the fact that a boiler heats water indirectly, meaning the unit doesn’t corrode within, as compared to a water heater, which will corrode as the anodes deteriorate and the interior wall is compromised.

Add to that the fact that you’re now using only one gas appliance for heating water rather than two, and it’s clear how boilers can use so much less energy than furnaces to heat your home.

Function and Comfort

Hot water heating is inherently more comfortable than forced air heating. Though forced air is great for cooling systems, giving the effect of a cool breeze, hot water heat supplies even, radiant heat throughout the home. Radiant heating also offers the bonus possibilities of luxuries like a heated garage floor or driveway.

When it comes to washing and bathing, boilers offer more BTU output and provide far more hot water for daily use. An even and continuous supply of hot water means no cold showers, even if you have a few teenagers in the house!

Upcoming Market Changes

Residential boilers are the way forward. In the next couple of years, regulatory changes will require that new hot water tank installations move from mid-efficiency, atmospheric models to high-efficiency models with the same venting as a furnace. These models are much more expensive to install and the jump in cost from one of these to a boiler will be easy to justify. For people building a new home or installing a new water heater, this smaller price difference combined with the lifetime warranty on the boiler will mean that we’ll see a huge rise in the popularity of residential boilers within the next few years.

If you’d like to find out more about whether a boiler is the right choice in your home, give us a call. We can tell you everything you need to know to make the right choice!

Brands we sell and service:






• Superhot


Don’t hesitate to call us if you have a different brand of boiler. We have several plumbers who specialize in boiler installation and service.

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George Pinel
George Pinel

These blog posts are brought to you from George Pinel & the Instant Plumbing team.

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