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Althoff Industries, Inc. Blog

An Overview of the Types of Commercial Boilers


When you need to choose a new commercial boiler for your facility, you’ll have several different options. The type you choose depends a great deal on the type of business you run and the purpose of the boiler.

For example, if the boiler is designed to provide heating to the tenants of a large building, you’ll need a boiler much different from a boiler used to maintain the heat needed for processing in a manufacturing plant.

We handle many types of commercial boilers in Chicago, IL, and you can trust that we’ll steer you toward the right type to serve your needs and then have it installed correctly. We’ll focus on finding units that will save energy and lower the chance of downtime. 

Condensing Boilers

These boilers are becoming popular for residential homes and are also viable choices for the commercial sector.

These boilers are designed for much higher energy efficiency performance: they can draw more heat energy out of their fuel source by running the exhaust through a condensation process, which releases more heat than if the fuel had only gone through the standard combustion process. 

Steam Boilers

All boilers were once steam boilers: it’s why these systems were named “boilers” in the first place. Today, most residential and commercial boilers don’t boil their water to convert it into steam, they only heat it to a high temperature.

Steam boilers still have their uses, however, mostly in commercial facilities that require much higher heating power. 

Electric Boilers

The standard commercial boiler runs off natural gas or propane, combusting its fuel source to generate heat. An electric boiler only uses electrical power without any combustion involved. Electrical boilers can work either to create steam or heat and come in a range of configurations.

These boilers are ideal for facilities that don’t want to deal with the hazards of combustion and the complex venting required for combustion boilers. However, they can become expensive to operate because of the high cost of electricity.

Firetube Boilers

These boilers are often installed in smaller commercial facilities. The way they work is that hot combustion gasses move through tubes that then transfer their heat into the water stored in the tank or other container.

Watertube Boilers

Where firetube boilers send hot gas through pipes to heat the water, a watertube boiler heats water in pipes, and this hot water circulates to send heat into the tank. These boilers are able to work at a higher capacity than standard boilers

Vertical Boilers

If you are looking for a boiler that has a smaller footprint than standard commercial boilers, you should look into a vertical boiler. These systems are oriented vertically, so if you have the ceiling height for one, you can save quite a bit of floor space. 

Commercial boilers must meet stringent requirements, and this is one of the reasons to only work with commercial HVAC and plumbing professionals when you need one installed. Our team will help you find the right boiler by weighing all the key factors about your facility.

Althoff Industries, Inc. has served the Chicagoland area since 1962. Call us for all your commercial plumbing needs—Challenges Accepted!

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