Home Inspector Corey Hewitt Image of a hot water boiler

Home Inspection of Hot Water Boilers

JUN 17, 2020

Overview of Hot Water Boilers Hot water boilers have been used for decades and can be found in both old and newer homes. The primary difference to a common gas or electric furnace is that water is heated and distributed throughout the home in pipes and radiators instead of forced air flow. The heat source is typically electric, oil, wood, gas or propane and may include supplemental solar heating.

Modern boilers in Canada are high efficiency and often used beyond heating just the rooms inside your home. Pipes can be laid to distribute heat in garage floors, pools, driveways and outbuildings.

How Hot Water Boilers Work Your home, if heated by a boiler system, will have a closed water system of pipes coming from the boiler and going through radiators, baseboards or other heating arrays before returning to the boiler. The boiler itself has similar components to a furnace: a burner, control system and exhaust and also includes an expansion tank, valves and a pump to circulate the system.

While a forced air electric or gas furnace circulates heated air through your home, a boiler provides radiant heating. Heat from the water/steam heats up the objects in each room through radiation instead of convection. This takes longer to completely come up to temperature but results in a longer lasting warmth.

Hot Water Boilers on Your Home Inspection On your General Home Inspection the hot water boiler system will be described and evaluated under regular operating conditions. The Inspection Report will also include: make, model, age, typical useful life, the location of the thermostat and whether any components did not operate.

Like any heating system, regular maintenance and inspection is recommended to ensure everything is operational and reliable. Your boiler may stop working for a number of reasons. One of the components could fail such as sensors/controls, pump or valve. A leak or air in the closed water system may cause a pressure loss and the system will not flow, if this occurs have the system serviced, it may simply require the lines to be bled.

Back to blog