What is the difference between a water heater and a boiler/furnace?
Water heaters create hot water for plumbing fixtures such as faucets, showers, dishwashers, and washing machines. Boilers and furnaces are heating systems that heat your home or business. High-efficiency combination units also exist that provide your heat AND hot water within one unit.
How do I identify the type of water heater I have?
There are many different kinds of water heaters:
- Atmospheric tank-type water heaters typically have a metallic exhaust that vents into your chimney.
- Power vent tank-type water heaters have a PVC (plastic) exhaust that vents through the side of your home.
- Direct vent tank-type units have two (2) PVC pipes that vent through the side of your home (one intake and one exhaust).
- Indirect tank-type units work by heating the domestic hot water through a coil that is inside of the tank and heated by the boiler water.
- Tankless wall-hung units are typically high-efficiency units and require servicing every one to two years.
- High-efficiency combination units also exist that provide both your heat AND hot water within one unit.
All of the units mentioned above are either heated through gas, electricity, indirectly (heated by boiler water), or utilize another fuel source. Click here to see pictures of these different types of units.
I believe I have high water pressure. Is this something I should be concerned about?
Short answer: Yes. Plumbing systems are designed for a maximum 80 psi. High pressure can lead to the premature failure of equipment (boilers, water heaters, water filters), fixtures (faucets, showers, toilets, etc.), pipe, valves, and fittings. A system with high pressure will cost more to maintain in the long run as you most likely will be repairing or replacing items more frequently.
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