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The Differences Between Boilers and Water Heaters

Man and woman choosing between a boiler and water heater in showroom

If you’re looking for a hot water solution for your home, you’ll need to consider water heaters and boilers. Both deliver hot water for showers, laundry and cleaning, but understanding the differences is crucial before booking an installation. Here’s what you need to know.


A boiler can serve two functions: it provides hot water and warms the air inside your home. Powered by natural gas, propane, oil or electricity, a boiler heats water that you can use for showers and appliances. It also pumps hot water or steam through pipes, baseboard radiators or radiant flooring to warm your home during cold weather.

With dual functionality, a boiler requires much less space than you’d need with a water heater. Why? Because if you have a water heater, you’ll also need an appliance like a furnace or heat pump to warm the air inside your home. Additionally, using a boiler is much more efficient than a water heater and HVAC system combined.

Water Heaters

A water heater serves a single purpose in residential homes: to deliver hot water when you need to wash clothes, use the dishwasher and shower. These systems typically heat water using electric elements or natural gas burners. There are two main types: heaters with tanks and tankless water heaters.

Hot water tanks keep the water hot and can have capacities between 90 and 360 litres. When you use hot water, the tank gets refilled. However, if your tank is too small and many people use hot water, you risk emptying the tank and running out of hot water. Tanks also need more space than a boiler or tankless water heater.

Tankless water heaters don’t require a storage tank but provide a never-ending supply of hot water. They’re more efficient than tanks because they heat only the water you need. However, they’re limited by flow rates, so a tankless water heater may not have sufficient capacity if too many people try to use the hot water at once.

Boilers Or Water Heaters: What’s Best for You?

When choosing between boilers or water heaters, you need to consider your available space, cost and how many people or appliances may need hot water simultaneously. Boilers cost a bit more on installation but will save you money in the long run.

Remember, both appliances require regular maintenance to operate efficiently and prevent breakdowns. Sign up for a maintenance plan to ensure your boiler or water heater is professionally inspected when needed.

Boilers And Water Heaters in Orangeville and Alliston

At Don’s Heating & Cooling, our technicians install and maintain boilers and water heaters for commercial and residential customers in Orangeville, Alliston and surrounding communities. Our award-winning service is prompt and reliable, based on three decades of experience. Contact us today to schedule an installation or service call.


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