The difference in these two types of boilers is the amount of energy they use. Hot water boilers require a lot less fuel, typically gas, electricity or oil, to bring water to a boil making them a lot more energy efficient. Hot water boilers might be more energy efficient, but steam boilers are more effective in transferring heat. Steam boilers can run effectively in very cold temperatures, which is a better option in some parts of the world.
Hot water boilers bring water to a boil pushing the boiling water through a network of pipes through your home or where needed, steam boilers do the same except steam is pushed through the pipes.
Steam and hot water boilers both burn fuel to bring water to a boil to generate steam, steam boilers are perfect for large scale uses like factories where hot water or steam is needed. Hot water boilers are often limited to heating only and mainly for smaller home use.
Safety is always a concern when it comes to boiling water or steam. Hot water boilers are much safer than steam boilers
Both hot water and steam boilers have their own benefits. Both are energy efficient but not in the same way. A steam boiler requires a lot more fuel to bring water to a boil to create steam, approximately 25% more fuel, but the energy used to transfer the steam through pipes is less. The hot water boiler is exactly the opposite, it uses less fuel to heat the water but more to transfer it through the pipes.
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