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frequently asked questions - Heating

Here are some common questions we are asked. If there is something you think we should include here, please tell us about it!

WHAT IS a "heat loss calculation"?

Heat loss refers to the amount of heat that naturally exfiltrates from a building. It is based on many factors, including insulation (if any), heated or unheated areas inside, building tightness, the number of windows and doors in each area and what type of materials they are constructed of, room configurations, orientation of outside walls in relation to the sun and many, many others. A heat loss calculation tells us exactly how much energy it takes to properly heat your home, and whether the existing radiators in your home are properly sized for the area(s) in which they are installed. Many existing systems were never sized properly intially, or have been altered at some point over the years from the original configuration. That's why Nazzaro Plumbing & Heating always performs a heat loss calculation when installing or replacing a heating system.

WHAT IS A "burner"?

Burners are what heats a boiler or furnace, and they come in many shapes and sizes. In the singular, burner usually refers to an oil burner, whereas the plural (burners) most often refers to a series of gas burner tubes. Gas burners are controlled by a gas valve, which is wired into the boiler heating controls, whereas oil burners rely on a "primary control" which is part of the oil burner itself.

gas burner   oil burner

What is a "Hot Water Boiler"?

A hot water boiler is a closed hot water heating system used to provide heat to a building. It heats water, then circulates that water through various types of radiators which then disperse heat to the building. Traditional models are made of cast iron, which contain water that is heated by burners (gas or oil) from below. Some modern high-efficiency boilers are wall-hung units that contain much less water and have a lower operating cost. Many confuse hot water "boilers" with "water heaters", which are something completely different. Boilers are also mistakenly refered to as the "furnace" by many, which is a term used for a hot air heating system.

What is a "Steam Boiler"?

A steam boiler is a hot water heating system used to provide heat to a building.The boiler is filled part-way with water (level determined by a "sight glass"), which is heated by gas or oil burners from below. When the water in the partially filled boiler comes to a boil, it creates steam which rises vertically through large pipes above the boiler and through the system to each radiator. The radiators are equipped with air vents which permit air to escape the system as steam rises through, but close when hot steam reaches the radiator. The boiler will operated between regulated steam pressure settings so as to provide a constant supply of steam to the system whenever there is a call for heat.

What is a "Furnace"?

A furnace is a hot air heating system that blows air across a heat exchanger which is heated from burners (gas or oil) below. The heated air is then circulated through air ducts in a building by a large fan or "blower", then returned through another set of ducts to be re-heated again.

What is a "Circulator"?

Frequently refered to as a "pump", a circulator is used on a hot water heating system to move heated water from the boiler through the radiators in the building and back to the boiler in a type of loop. Each radiator extracts the heat from the water as it moves through and disperses that heat in the room, and the cooler water returns to the boiler to be reheated again.

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