Water Heater vs Boiler: 4 Key Differences

Boilers provide home heating by turning water into steam, which circulates throughout the home using radiators.

These combined boilers, commonly called combi-boilers, can operate both a heating circuit and store domestic hot water in a tank – and should therefore be seen as multitaskers.

Water heaters provide hot water that is then used for showers, sinks, and more in the home. They tend to be conveniently within their environment and occupy little space.

Do you need help installing a new water heater or boiler? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the pros, like one of the team members at Diamondback Plumbing and Cooling.


Boilers may be more costly to buy and install, but they provide an energy-efficient alternative that could lower electricity bills by decreasing hot water usage in your home.

A boiler provides both central heating for your home and hot water to power essential household appliances like showers, washing machines, and dishwashers. Furthermore, steam and radiant heat techniques enable warm air distribution throughout your house on cold days.

Propane heaters can be powered with either natural gas or propane; many homeowners find propane more cost-effective as it can be found at local gas stations at more competitive rates than natural gas. Electric models are also available, connecting directly to your 240-volt electrical service panel through a breaker box; alternatively, an electrician can make one for you.

Most boilers feature a storage tank for fuel storage; however, you may also come across “combi” boilers, which perform the same function without one. Regardless of the type of boiler you select, you should constantly evaluate its efficiency rating before choosing.

Energy efficiency

As homeowners, we all like to think we know our home inside out – especially since most of our time is spent there! Unfortunately, certain aspects require professional installation or repairs, such as boilers and water heaters – while we may know its interior well enough.

Boilers (commonly referred to as furnaces) provide central heating for your entire house and, if necessary, hot water. Usually run on natural or propane gas, older boilers may need upgrading to save energy costs; boilers tend to be more well-ordered than traditional furnaces but tend to cost more upfront.

Water heaters, on the other hand, provide domestic hot water. It works by taking in cold water and using either electricity or gas to heat it to an ideal temperature before turning on faucets – perfect for showering, laundry, and dishwashing!

Most households have storage tanks of hot water somewhere within the home for easy access; alternatively, there are models known as combi-boilers that heat on demand as needed – this makes for better use of limited space!


A water heater’s expected lifespan ranges between ten to 15 years depending on its type and usage in your home, though it could outlive even this expectation with proper care.

Boilers typically last 30-50 years. These units can heat the water used by your home’s heating system and supply hot water for sinks, showers, washing machines, and dishwashers.

A boiler operates by using either gas or oil to heat water to a certain temperature, then pushing it through your home through pipes to radiators and other heating outlets for distribution as steam/hot water heating sources.

Combination boilers provide heating and domestic hot water needs in one system, maximizing your investment. However, standard boilers and cylinders typically only serve this function.

Both boilers and water heaters require regular maintenance to remain fully functional, such as inspecting vents and flues for leaks, monitoring water levels in your tank (to make sure you don’t run out), cleaning burner components on a boiler, etc.

If you feel overwhelmed by this task, hiring experienced professionals may be best, as they will ensure your unit has been installed safely and according to code.


It might be simple to take the fixtures in our home for granted, even when we use them on a daily basis. You may not be an expert in construction or electrical matters; therefore, there may still be parts that remain unfamiliar or mysterious to you.

So, hiring professional HVAC or plumbing professionals for the installation of any new equipment in your home ensures it will be installed according to state and local codes, guaranteeing optimal functionality of any new systems installed therein.

Boilers are heating systems designed to heat water for use throughout your home. Boilers work by heating water stored in an external storage tank to produce steam or hot water, which then circulates via radiators throughout your property.

Boilers typically use gas, oil or wood pellets as sources of heat production, but new models now feature electricity as a power source.

Water heaters do not serve to provide central heating; rather, they work alongside furnaces and other forms of home heating to keep you comfortable. Water heaters may use either natural gas or electricity – with solar or wind energy-generated electric options being more eco-friendly options.