Ductless Systems

Hot Water Heaters and Boilers: What’s the Difference?

There are many systems needed to run your home and keep you comfortable. In the summer you may be using an air conditioner or heat pump. During the colder months of the year you use a furnace or air handler to keep you warm and comfortable. And then you have a washer, dryer, dishwasher, stove and refrigerator, among others.

Certainly, all of us also want and need hot water, and that hot water can be provided by either a hot water heater or a boiler. Frankly, a lot of people are confused about the difference between the two, so we would like to explain the basic differences.

Water Heaters

At its most basic level, a water heater is a storage tank that heats water either by burning gas or using electricity. After the water is heated, usually to about 125 degrees, it is kept at that temperature until it’s transported to an appliance or fixture by way of supply pipes. As hot water leaves the tank, it’s replaced by cold water at the bottom of the tank that is heated for use when you need it.


In contrast to a hot water heater, a boiler is an appliance that turns water into steam and is typically powered by electricity, gas or heating oil. Once the water becomes steam, it transports heat throughout your house in baseboard units or steam radiators.

Boilers are very energy efficient, operating in what is known as a closed loop system. After heat is extracted from the steam, the steam turns back into water in the pipes. The water can then be heated again but quicker this time because it’s already warm.

Boilers can also be used to produce hot water for household use, either by extending a copper coil carrying water to be heated into the boiler or by installing a separate insulated water tank that is heated with water from the boiler.

Whatever you are using in your home, a hot water heater, a boiler or both, for the very best in maintenance, repair or replacement of your current system, you need to call Deljo Heating & Cooling. Since 1922 we’ve provided service for countless thousands of homes and businesses throughout Chicagoland, and we can do the same for you. Call us today at 773-829-4295 and let Deljo go to work for you.