Q:

Is a water heater or a boiler better for radiant heat?

A:

Quick Answer

A water heater is better for making radiant heat than a boiler because it is less expensive, more energy efficient and more eco-friendly. Water heaters made from stainless steel are typically durable and able to last for numerous years without the need for repair.

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Full Answer

Boilers are designed to produce extremely hot water for radiators. They are not a recommended option for producing radiant heat as they usually require costly extra parts to provide water at lower temperatures. Boilers without additional controls are also prone to cold shocking damage when plenty of room temperature water rushes during startup.

In contrast, water heaters are created to run at lower temperatures efficiently. Modern water heaters run with a low operating temperature, allowing them to condense the flue gases to water in a fast, non-mechanical method.

People should choose highly efficient water heaters, especially those with enough power to provide household hot water and space heat simultaneously. Homeowners who want environmentally friendly products should opt for condensing water heaters, which dissolve large amounts of pollutants in water and make the pollutants non-toxic. Common pollutants that can harm the environment include carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitric oxide. With the use of condensing water heaters, steam is condensed into water in the exhaust, leading to a higher efficiency and prevention of air pollution.

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