DIY Tips From the Warner Service Blog

Boiler Anatomy 101

Posted by Warner Service on Aug 8, 2017 9:00:00 AM



To start, a boiler is an appliance that heats (and occasionally boils, though that’s not the purpose) water. It’s often confused with a furnace, which is used for only high-temperature heating.

The appliance uses wood, coal, oil, natural gas, or resistance heating elements to heat your home’s water for various uses, including cooking, showering, and central heating.

There are three different types of residential boilers. This list includes a combination boiler, system boiler, and regular boiler. However, each heating appliance has a basic set of components that Warner Service has outlined for you below:

Aquastats. Components used to sense the water’s temperature and tell the burner when to start and stop

Backflow valve. A safety device that allows water to flow in a single direction only

Burner. The area where the air mixes with the boiler’s fuel source and combusts

Circulator Pumps. Used to push hot water or steam from the system to the heat distributors

Expansion Tank. A small tank off the main boiler that helps protect your system from excessive pressure

Feedwater Drum. Used to prevent the water from being open to the atmosphere through its cycle between the steam drum, main condenser, and deaerated feed tank

Firebox. Also known as a combustion chamber; the location where the system’s fuel meets the air, creating a flame

Heat exchanger. Used to carry the heat from the burner to the water without having direct contact with the water

Pressure Gauge. Used to measure the pressure inside the boiler

Refractory. Materials used to fill any gaps and/or openings that may be around the firebox to ensure the fire stays in the firebox

Return Lines. Used to bring cooled water or steam back to the boiler for reheating

Safety Valve. Used to automatically open if the pressure within the boiler exceeds a certain threshold

Safety Shut-Off Valve. Used to automatically shut off the fuel source during critical safety times

Steam Drum. A reservoir of water and steam at the top end of the water tubes that’s used to store the steam generated in the water tubes and act as a phase-separator for the water and steam mixture

Superheater. An accessory to many residential boilers; used to remove excess moisture content from the steam by raising it above its saturation point to avoid turbine damage

Supply Lines. The pipes that deliver the heated water or steam to the distribution points

Water Level Indicator. Used to check the water level inside the boiler

It’s important to recognize that the boiler parts mentioned above are divided into mountings and accessories, auxiliaries, and safety protections. Ask your preferred local plumbing technician for details about how your home’s boiler can benefit from a thorough inspection and regular maintenance.

To get a head start, download Warner Service’s Boiler Maintenance Checklist by clicking on the button below. We outline the basic steps for daily, weekly, monthly, and annual boiler maintenance:

Download the Boiler Maintenance Checklist Today

Note: As always, follow your manufacturer's recommendations for optimal performance.

Topics: Maintenance, Plumbing, plumbing terms, appliances