Lifeline Plumbing, Heating & Cooling


Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Serving all of Chicagoland.

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Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Serving all of Chicagoland


Palatine, IL Heating FAQ: How Do Boilers Work?

A boiler is a sturdy, reliable heating option for your home. Boilers have been keeping people warm for well over a hundred years because of their numerous advantages. Should you experience any difficulties with your boiler, or if you don’t have one and are considering an installation, then contact Lifeline Plumbing. We’ll come to your assistance with our 24/7 service and years of experience.

How exactly does a boiler work? You may be surprised to learn that it rarely has anything to do with “boiling.” Boilers got their name because the earliest models ran off steam generated from raising the temperature of water to the boiling point. Steam-powered boilers still exist, but most models—and probably the one in your home—run efficiently using hot water instead.

The exact method of boiler operation depends on the boiler’s fuel source. The most common are gas, electricity, and propane. (Fuel source flexibility is one of the reasons boilers end up in so many homes.) On gas-powered models—the most popular type of boiler today—a pilot light ignites gas jets located inside a combustion chamber. These jets are beneath a large water tank that contains a fixed water supply. When the water turns hot enough, a pump moves the water through pipes into your home. From there, the heated water circulates throughout your home via pipes to your baseboards or radiators. The cooled-down water then returns to the tank where the process starts anew.

Electric and propane boilers operate on the same principle of water circulation. Propane works similarly to a gas boiler, with a different fuel source igniting the burners. With an electric-powered boiler, an electrical ignition turns on heating elements located inside the tank, usually one on the top and one of the bottom, and these conduct heat to raise the water temperature.

Boilers have few moving mechanical parts, which means they need fewer repairs than heating systems like furnaces. You can expect a boiler kept in good repair to last for many years, providing you steady heat to overcome even extreme cold. But you will need to schedule regular maintenance to catch trouble before it starts and to see that it operates at its peak performance levels. Contact Lifeline Plumbing to schedule maintenance on your boiler, so it will keep boiling (well, “heating”) water for you for years to come. We are available for all your Palatine, IL heating needs.