Heat Street Blog and Latest News

Keep up to date with boilers, boiler installations, boiler service and boiler repairs information

Simply put, how does a boiler work?

Boilers are used to provide heating and hot water.

They can be run on different fuels such as gas and oil, LPG or electricity. Ultimately, however, they all work along the same lines. Water is passed over a source of heat until it’s warm. This warm water is then sent to radiators, taps and showerheads.

Inside a boiler

A boiler is essentially a case filled with pipes and some form of heating. Cold water is sent into the boiler and pumped around it. As it passes through the boiler it comes into contact with heat. Over time, therefore, the water becomes warm. Then it’s sent out into a different piping system to do its work.

The vast majority of boilers will ultimately connect to radiators. Some may also connect to hot-water cylinders. This is fairly common in larger homes, even today. It ensures that warm water remains available even when there is high demand for it. Smaller homes tend to have boilers with hot water “on-demand”. This allows for more efficient use of space in the home.

Heating the water

The practicalities of how water is heated in a boiler depend on the type of fuel used. Gas boilers are currently by far the most common boilers in the UK. These heat water by passing it over gas flames. Oil, LPG and Electric boilers all work in an almost identical manner. Electric boilers use heated elements.

Gas, LPG and oil boilers tend to be the most efficient and economical. Electric boilers are, however, catching up. They have the advantage of using renewable energy which means less impact on the environment.