Oilheat Boiler FAQs

Posted: January 8, 2024

How Does a Heating Oil Boiler Work?

Your heating oil boiler uses either hot water or steam to heat your Delaware Valley home. Another name for a boiler is a hydronic heating system, which is defined as a system that transfers heat via a circulating fluid, such as water, in a closed system of pipes.

Steam boilers can still be found in older homes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, usually ones built before the 1950s. If you have this type of system, your boiler stays true to its name because it needs to boil water to make steam before your heat can be distributed through your home.

In comparison, newer boilers do not need to boil the water to make steam. Instead, they use hot water to distribute heat through a home’s piping. The heat is distributed through your home by either radiators or baseboards.

Because a boiler is a closed-loop system, water does not need to be constantly brought in or replaced, making it more efficient.

Some of the key components of a boiler system include:

Is a Boiler a Good Way to Heat My Home?

Yes. Many homeowners prefer hot water heating to warm air systems like furnaces because the heat that boilers create does not dry out the air. Plus, the heat generated by your hydronic heating system can also be used to heat water in your home, creating an efficient two-in-one space and water heating solution. Heated water is stored in a separate tank that’s connected to the boiler for later use.

What Is a Condensing Heating Oil Boiler?

A more efficient version of the hot water boiler is the condensing boiler, which is designed to keep heat loss to a minimum. By recycling heat from the exhaust process – and by operating at lower temperatures overall – your condensing boiler can improve operating efficiency by 10-15% compared to a non-condensing boiler.
However, a condensing boiler is not practical for all homes. Plus, condensing boilers cost more to manufacture. Installing a condensing boiler correctly requires highly trained technicians who know how to capitalize on the efficiency benefits of these ultra-modern heating oil systems.

How Do I Keep My Boiler Running Efficiently?

Regular maintenance is a vital money-saving investment for heating systems– not just because it can keep your equipment running safely and at peak efficiency, but also because four out of five heating system breakdowns are preventable if you follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations.

A system tune-up allows your heating oil technician to fix minor issues before they become big problems (worn parts, etc.). Regular tune-ups can also help you conserve heating fuel over the winter.

Your professional heating oil technician will conduct a series of tests to make sure your heating system is running at the best possible efficiency. Any adjustments and repairs can then be done after this initial evaluation.

How Do I Know When to Replace My Boiler?

While the average boiler will last about 20-25 years—as long as a proper maintenance schedule has been followed–there are many home boilers out there that are even older than that. And while they may still be keeping homes warm enough, their efficiency rate is much lower than a new hot water boiler, which means you are using more fuel to generate heat.

Besides age, other signs that your boiler may be wearing out include signs of corrosion, frequent breakdowns, and expensive repairs.

Wilson Oil and Propane has been handling the service and installation of home heating oil boilers for a long time. If you live in Broomall, PA or surrounding towns in southeastern Pennsylvania, the chances are pretty good that at least one of the boilers in your neighborhood was installed by a Wilson boiler technician. Contact Wilson Oil and Propane today for your home’s boiler service needs.