Determining the best boiler plan for a particular home depends on the existing infrastructure. While hot water boilers provide greater efficiency, those with existing steam infrastructure may find steam boilers to be a better investment.
The cost of a new boiler is often significantly less than the cost of the piping and radiators, and the cost of installing new infrastructure can be expensive. Newer steam boilers are significantly more efficient than those used in the past, so upgrades can lead to significant savings.
Choosing the right boiler requires knowing how much heating a home needs. While calculations based on the size of a home can help, it's also important to determine how much of the heating is lost through walls and air leaks throughout the home. Before choosing a new unit, homeowners may want to invest in better insulation and to check for air leaks, especially near windows and doors.
Those building a new home, however, have the option to choose which heating option to use. If a natural gas connection is available, hot water boilers offer the best savings. The difference in efficiency for newer, high-efficiency systems is fairly small, but it might be wise to spend a more to extract a bit more efficiency out of the unit.