We install and service boiler heating systems

When most people think of “heating,” they think of furnaces. However, there’s another common type of heater found in many Chicago homes: boiler heating systems. As part of a radiant heating setup—also known as a hydronic system—a boiler can provide your home with superior winter comfort and energy efficiency. In this article, we’ll review some of the upsides of boiler and radiant systems, and explore whether this type of heating is right for your home.

What are boiler heating systems?

The boiler is the integral piece of a home radiant heating system. In contrast to central, “forced-air” heating, where heat energy is transferred through air to the living spaces of your home, radiant heating systems move heat energy using water that travels through small pipes, typically underneath the floors. When the water reaches an in-room radiator, the heat energy is released into that space, warming the room.

Radiant heating has the potential to quickly warm up a cold room.

Types of boilers

There are two major types of boiler systems:

  • Hot Water Boilers, which operate as described above. They are the most common type of boiler system here in the United States.
  • Steam Boilers, which also heat water, but instead push heated steam into the radiator as its means of moving heat energy into the room.

It’s important to note that—while the principal concept is the same—boilers and water heaters are not synonymous. Your water heater heats water for use at the tap, while the water in the boiler system remains in a closed loop and is only used for heating purposes.

Energy-efficient heating for your home

Whether they heat water using electricity, oil, or natural gas, all boilers and radiant heating systems are generally more energy efficient than forced-air furnaces. Why is this? Water is a much better conduit for heat energy than air. As the boiler pushes heated water to the radiator, less of that heat energy is lost along the way than when a furnace air handler pushes heated air through ductwork and out registers.

Overall, this means that the boiler uses less fuel while providing more heating. As a result, many Carrier boiler systems boast an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of up to 90-95%, exceeding the efficiency benchmarks of many of the gas furnaces in their Infinity® series.

Radiant heating systems have another advantage over forced-air units: the registers are typically located at or near the floor, instead of at or in the ceiling. Since hot air rises in a room, this means that the heat from the radiant heating system is more effective at warming the room.

Heat your home’s floors

For homes with a hydronic system, one of the main benefits is heated floors. In most popular configurations, the pipes and tubes used to transfer heated water from the boiler to the radiators are run underneath the floors of hallways, kitchens, and rooms. The heat released during the transportation of the water through the pipes rises, warming the wood, tile, or carpet.

If you’ve ever experienced the shock of stepping barefoot onto the floor on a cold Chicago winter morning, you’ll recognize just what a difference maker this can be.

Should you upgrade to a hydronic system?

Most homeowners who upgrade to a boiler system make the switch when they remodel their home, since adding all the pipes, tubes, and radiators that make up the system can require some significant renovations. However, the upside of doing this is that you add serious comfort and value to your home, all while lowering your winter energy costs. If you are planning on selling your home in the near future, radiant heated floors could be a major part of the appeal of your property. It’s an upgrade worth considering!

If your home already has the setup for a radiant heating system, talk to the team here at King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing about your boiler system options. We install a number of high-efficiency, long-lasting Carrier boilers, and we can find the right one for your home during our free in-home estimate. To schedule yours, call us today.

Here’s why a water filtration system is a good choice for your home

Do you know what’s in the water you drink and use every day? Our tap water here in Chicagoland comes from Lake Michigan and is generally clean. But, that doesn’t mean it’s purified. In fact, recent reports have shown that several water quality issues—including higher-than-recommended levels of lead—continue to plague Chicago area homes. The best way forward is a whole-home water filtration system that both removes potentially harmful contaminants while also softening your water.

In this article, we’ll review the exact nature of our water here in Chicago and why a filtration system makes sense. For a free plumbing inspection or to learn more about your water filtration options, contact our team here at King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing.

What’s in your home’s water?

Purify the water your family uses every day

Depending on where your home is, unfiltered tap water could contain trace amounts of contaminants such as pesticides, herbicides, prescription medications, and more.

This 2018 Chicago Tribune article raised the alarm about a different threat: lead exposure. The aging infrastructure and piping under many homes here in Chicago has resulted in higher-than-average levels of lead. When service lines are replaced, this problem can often worsen.

In addition to replacing these pipes if possible, homeowners here in Chicagoland should consider adding a whole-home water filtration system to their home to filter out lead. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there is no safe threshold for lead exposure.

Soften your home’s hard water

Here in the Chicago metro and all of Northern Illinois, our groundwater resources are considered extremely “hard.” In essence, this means that the mineral content of our water is higher than the national average. While this problem may sound academic, hard water has a number of real impacts on your home that you should know about:

  • Hard water is a leading contributor to scale buildup inside of your home’s pipes, water heater, and boiler. Over time, scaling can constrict the flow of water in pipes and disrupt your water heater or boiler’s ability to efficiently heat water.
  • The useable life of water-using appliances—such as your dishwasher and washing machine—can be reduced due to the additional wear-and-tear imposed by hard water. In addition, these appliances require more soap to effectively clean your dishes and clothes.
  • Hard water causes scale buildup and potential discoloration on faucets, fixtures, sinks, and countertops.

Why add a water filtration system?

Stopgap methods for filtering water just do not work. There’s only so much that the tiny carbon filter in your fridge or in-fridge water carafe can do to purify your drinking water. Units that fit on or under a kitchen sink purify the water used for dishes and cooking, but do nothing for the rest of your home.

Without a whole-home water filtration system, no matter where you get your drinking water, you’re still cooking, washing, and showering with unpurified tap water.

What about bottled water? Well, that not only costs money every time you go to the grocery store, but it carries a high environmental price tag, as well. Bottled water is a significant contributor to landfills and is rarely recycled properly here in the state. In an ironic twist, the improper disposal of plastic bottles can lead to microplastics in our domestic fresh water supplies, further compromising tap water quality. You cannot shower with bottled water, either.

The only way to address the quality of the water used in your home holistically is by upgrading to a whole-home water filtration system. There are several advantages to switching to a whole-home water filtration system. They potentially include:

  • Better-tasting water
  • Water that is safer to drink
  • Softened water that does not harm your pipes, appliances, faucets, or fixtures.

The benefits of upgrading

In addition to purifying the water your family uses everyday, a whole-home water filtration system will provide you with water that:

  • Tastes great
  • Enhances the natural flavor of cooked meals
  • Works properly with soap and detergents for better cleaning
  • Leaves your skin and hair feeling great

To learn more about the ways a water filter system can benefit your home, contact our team here at King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We’re your plumbing repair, service, and installation experts here in the Chicago area. Get a free plumbing inspection by calling us today!