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Water Heaters Vs. Boilers: Which Should You Choose?

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Boilers and water heaters can perform similar functions. However, they operate differently and aren't always suitable for the same applications. You can install either option in your building depending on what your needs are and the amount of space available.

Water Heaters

A water heater has one main purpose, supplying your home with hot water. A water heater heats water and sends it to the fixtures and appliances in your home through pipes. There are different types of water heaters that you can install in your home.

Conventional water heaters come with a tank where the hot water is stored before it's supplied to the house. There are tankless water heaters in which water is heated instantaneously when it's required. This helps to prevent the loss of energy that occurs when water is heated and stored for later use. There are also hybrid water heaters which heat the water using a heat pump.

Water heaters can be powered by a number of energy sources including:

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Solar energy

Regardless of the heating method, the operating of water heaters is more or less the same.


Boilers can be used to heat water, but they can do a lot more than that. In boilers, the water is heated until it turns to steam. The steam produced in a boiler can perform a wide range of functions such as:

  • Central heating for the home
  • Heating the floors
  • Steam cleaning carpets
  • Heating water
  • Cooking

Boilers have what is referred to as a closed loop system. This means that the steam turns back into water inside the system and is fed back to the boiler. The water that goes back to the boiler is already warm, and this reduces the energy needed to heat it. Therefore, boilers can be quite energy efficient.

Should You Choose a Heater or a Boiler?

A number of factors will determine the choice of a heater or boiler. If you want heat in a limited number of places in your home, a water heater is an ideal choice. However, if you want to heat a whole pool or a complex, you'll get better results with a boiler.

If you want a system that's simple, water heaters should be fine. Boilers come with complicated controls and pumps which can bring additional challenges. Correct boiler and water heater installation are important to ensure that both machines work as intended and keep your home comfortable.