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Boiler vs Hot Water Heater: What Are the Differences?



Boiler vs Hot Water Heater: What Are the Differences?

In winter 2022, it’s expected that the average cost of household heating will increase by 17.2%.

If you’re looking for ways to provide heat or hot water to your home, you’ll need to understand the differences between boilers and hot water heaters. Both of these can be useful systems to use in your home, but they aren’t exactly the same.

In this boiler guide, we’ll look at the boiler vs hot water heater differences you need to know about.

What Is a Boiler?

A boiler is a piece of equipment that is used to provide heating in a home or commercial building.

While a boiler won’t actually boil water typically, it will circulate it to provide heat. Water boilers push hot water throughout a home and will circulate it around to provide heat. The water will be reused over and over again.

Steam boilers, on the other hand, turn water into steam, and this steam will be pumped and transported throughout a home or building. Because steam is such an efficient tool for transporting heat, this type of system can be very effective and inexpensive as well. There are various types of boilers including water boilers, steam boilers, oil boilers, and combination boiler water heaters and you can find boiler cover insurance for every type of boiler.

What Is a Hot Water Heater?

A water heater is a piece of equipment that works to heat cold water that can be used throughout a home or building.

Unlike boilers, a water heater’s sole purpose is to provide hot water. It’s not used to heat a home like a boiler is.

A water heater can be used to transport hot water throughout a home and residents can use this water to take showers, wash their hands, or use it in appliances such as dishwashers and clothes washing machines.

There are several types of water heaters modesto including tank water heaters, tankless water heaters, indirect water heaters, and more.

What Is a Combi Boiler?

A combi boiler is a combination boiler and water heater. This type of system will provide heat to a home and will also provide hot water for use in showers, sinks, and appliances as well.

If you’re looking for the functionality of both of these types of systems, then choosing a combi boiler could be a good choice.

These systems offer increased efficiency as well s the functionality of both types of systems at once, helping to provide all of these essential needs to your family. In addition to this, combi boilers are very compact as well.

You might want to consider getting a combi boiler instead of choosing between a boiler and a water heater.

Key Differences Between Boilers and Water Heaters

As you may have noticed already, boilers and hot water heaters have a lot in common, but you will find boiler cover insurance more commonly than heaters. They both heat water in sealed, pressurized tanks and then deliver it throughout a home. However, there are some big differences as well.

Here’s what you should consider.

Features and Functionality

One of the biggest differences between boilers and water heaters is how they are used.

While a boiler makes use of hot water to provide heating to a home, a water heater heats water so that people can use it directly while taking a shower, washing their hands, or using household appliances. A water heater doesn’t provide water for heating a home.

Additionally, unlike water from a boiler, water that comes from a water heater can be consumed by those who use it.

Cost of Installation

Another difference between these two systems is the cost of installation.

Boilers tend to cost a good bit more than water heaters do and typically range between $3,000-$8,000. Water heaters, on the other hand, may cost somewhere between $1,000-$3,500.

While there are various options for the types of water heaters and boilers you can get, boilers tend to be more expensive overall.

In addition to this keep in mind that it’s best to hire professional installers as well if you want to be sure that the installation goes according to plan.

Maintenance Required

Both boilers and water heaters will require periodic maintenance to ensure that they keep doing their jobs properly.

To maintain a boiler, you’ll need to inspect it on an annual basis. You should ensure that the water levels are correct and that there aren’t any leaks.

You should also clean vents and flues regularly and eliminate lime buildup as necessary. Every 6 months you should clean out the system and lubricate moving parts.

If you need help maintaining your boiler, be sure to find a great Boiler Service to use.

To maintain water heaters, you’ll also need to inspect them periodically and check for leaks and other problems. You’ll also occasionally need to drain your water tank and ensure that you get rid of the sediment that’s inside of it.

To maintain a water heater, you should also turn the power off and verify that the water valve stops the flow of water like it’s supposed to.


When it comes to the lifespan of these systems, there isn’t a lot of difference.

Standard water heaters and gas boilers will both last between 10 to 15 years on average. However, this can vary based on the quality of the system you install as well as how well you maintain your system over time.

Following the maintenance tips outlined above, getting regular professional service, and replacing parts as necessary will allow you to extend the life of your system to 20 years or more.

Understanding the Differences Between a Boiler Vs Hot Water Heater

If you’re trying to understand the main boiler vs hot water heater differences, be sure to read over all of the information above. While a boiler is meant to provide heating for a home, a hot water heater simply provides hot water for residents to use. Need more home and residential tips? Browse our blog now to discover more interesting articles.