Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Steam boiler vs hot water...boiler?

Options
ethicalpaul
ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,723
It makes perfect sense to me that my steam boiler is called a "boiler"

But why are the things that make the hot water for radiant systems called "boilers"? They don't boil anything!

I can't be the first to wonder this.
NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el

Comments

  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,515
    Options
    I think its because Water Heater was already taken. I often thought a hydronic boiler should be called a simmerer
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    ethicalpaul
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,860
    Options
    Oh boy, this is gonna be a long weekend.

    It's a pressure cookerer... er.
    ethicalpaulCanucker
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,723
    Options
    I thought of a possible reason. Steam heat predates hot water heat, right? And even today some boilers are made for both, so I imagine in the first days of hot water heating, all the hot water was created by converted steam boilers.

    So it just made sense to keep calling them boilers, since in many cases, that's exactly what they already were...just colder versions of them! Maybe?
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 922
    Options
    No doubt they were exactly the same appliance in the early days of hot water heating.

    Interestingly, although any low pressure steam boiler made today can easily be converted to produce hot water, many “boilers” designed for hot water cannot be converted to make steam.

    Bburd
    ethicalpaul
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,194
    Options
    I agree that it’s because in the early days it was always the same appliance used for either one with dual ratings, just as many have now. the basic block has dual ratings and you simply install different trim and piping.

    I believe Steam did come first since it was used for motive power primarily, then later used for heating inside homes once practical.

    Water was harder ot use as there were no pumps and you had to rely on gravity systems with oversized pipe that offered little advantage over steam other than more mass.

    Worked on my first one the other day. Gravity conversion. Funny seeing a litttle 80k boiler with 1” copper hooked up to 2 or even 3” header.
    ethicalpaul
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,251
    Options
    Call them heating appliances if they are not producing steam. And maybe also loosen up on the ASME H stamp requirements.

    HTP has made some excellent, buffered, radiant specific products over the years, but struggled with sales due to lack of inspectors insisting on the H stamp.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,767
    Options
    I've brought this up to the guys that give people a hard time over "hot water heater" but are perfectly ok calling something that doesn't boil a boiler.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    ethicalpaul
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,767
    Options
    An oldie but goodie
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    ethicalpaul
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,074
    Options
    But all water heating appliances are capable of becoming a boiler.....not always good.
    ethicalpaul
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
    edited March 2020
    Options
    A water system:

    Circulating, single phase, sensible heat, transfer circuit, employing both heat generator, and heat rejection.
    :#
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    ethicalpaul
  • Canucker
    Canucker Member Posts: 722
    edited March 2020
    Options
    > @Solid_Fuel_Man said:
    > A water system:
    >
    > Circulating, single phase, sensible heat, transfer circuit, employing both heat generator, and heat rejection.
    > :#
    >

    That's too long. Motion carried. Sissy water warmer it is!
    Next item on the agenda, please
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
    ChrisJethicalpaul
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
    Options
    Sissy fuel saver!
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    Canucker
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,708
    Options

    It makes perfect sense to me that my steam boiler is called a "boiler"

    But why are the things that make the hot water for radiant systems called "boilers"? They don't boil anything!

    I can't be the first to wonder this.

    kuz it's not a furnasty
    known to beat dead horses
    Solid_Fuel_Manethicalpaul