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When is a Boiler Commercial?

Boilers usually use gas or oil as the fuel source and are found in both homes and in various commercial locations, including offices, warehouses, industrial complexes, schools, hospitals, etc.

The two factors that usually separate a domestic boiler from a commercial one are the size of the boiler and how much power it has.

How Does it Work?

The way a boiler works is fairly simple.

It generates either hot water or steam that is then circulated through baseboard units, radiators, or fan coils to keep the facility nice and warm.

In general, boilers that are considered commercial have an input of a minimum of 300,000 BTU/h, or British thermal units per hour. If the input is less than that, the boiler is considered a domestic one.

Current standards also require commercial boilers to have an efficiency rate of at least 80%. This specifically applies to gas-fired, hot-water boilers that are most commonly used by commercial entities.

when does a boiler become commercial

In the year 2023, the standards will increase and the minimum efficiency levels will need to be between 81% and 88%.

Today, commercial boilers heat roughly one-fourth of all commercial floor space.

If the facility has a central heating system, the boilers provide steam or hot water to heat it in the winter and a chiller that cools it in the summer months.

Other commercial floor space is accommodated by rooftop units, condensing boilers, etc.

If you use a hot-water gas-fired boiler that utilises condensing technology, the efficiency can be as high as 99%.

Having said all of this, some smaller businesses use domestic boilers and some homeowners prefer a commercial boiler, but most experts agree that it’s best to stick with the one that applies to your situation.

The Differences Between Commercial Boilers and Domestic Boilers

Usually, commercial boilers consist of either one large boiler or a series of smaller boilers. Either the one large boiler or the series of smaller boilers put together have to produce an output of 150Kw of power.

Domestic boilers, on the other hand, have outputs that are typically in the 10Kw to 40Kw power range.

If you have six or fewer people living in your home, a domestic boiler will work just right.

In larger homes – for example, ones with several living areas and bathrooms and more than seven bedrooms – it’s smart to consider a commercial boiler instead of ones made for homes.

If these larger homes use a standard domestic boiler, it’s possible the boiler won’t heat them efficiently. In this case, the inhabitants of the home can find themselves wearing a sweater to keep warm, when that shouldn’t ever be a problem.

Usually, if a homeowner uses a commercial boiler, they’ll need additional items that homeowners using domestic boilers simply won’t need. This includes:

  • Flue fan dilution systems (to withstand a higher flow rate)
  • Low loss leaders
  • Compensated mixing circuits

Commercial boilers have bigger heat exchangers, and the flue fan dilution provides for the additional radiators that must be added to the central heating system when using commercial boilers.

It was mentioned earlier that domestic boilers are usually in the 10Kw to 40Kw power range, while commercial boilers have to be at least 150Kw. But both domestic and commercial boilers can come in other powers as well.

For instance, domestic boilers can be up to 70Kw, which still classifies them as domestic. Commercial boilers can be up to 1500Kw when necessary.

It’s obvious by looking at these numbers that domestic boilers have smaller output capacities than commercial boilers do, for obvious reasons.

Both domestic and commercial customers have different needs depending on the size of the home or office they have.

This is why both domestic and commercial boilers are available in several different capacities, but it’s also good to note that occasionally, the boilers can be used interchangeably.

Usually, commercial boilers consist of either one large boiler or a series of smaller boilers. Either the one large boiler or the series of smaller boilers put together have to produce an output of 150Kw of power.

Domestic boilers, on the other hand, have outputs that are typically in the 10Kw to 40Kw power range.

If you have six or fewer people living in your home, a domestic boiler will work just right.

In larger homes – for example, ones with several living areas and bathrooms and more than seven bedrooms – it’s smart to consider a commercial boiler instead of ones made for homes.

If these larger homes use a standard domestic boiler, it’s possible the boiler won’t heat them efficiently. In this case, the inhabitants of the home can find themselves wearing a sweater to keep warm, when that shouldn’t ever be a problem.

Usually, if a homeowner uses a commercial boiler, they’ll need additional items that homeowners using domestic boilers simply won’t need. This includes:

  • Flue fan dilution systems (to withstand a higher flow rate)
  • Low loss leaders
  • Compensated mixing circuits

Commercial boilers have bigger heat exchangers, and the flue fan dilution provides for the additional radiators that must be added to the central heating system when using commercial boilers.

It was mentioned earlier that domestic boilers are usually in the 10Kw to 40Kw power range, while commercial boilers have to be at least 150Kw. But both domestic and commercial boilers can come in other powers as well.

For instance, domestic boilers can be up to 70Kw, which still classifies them as domestic. Commercial boilers can be up to 1500Kw when necessary.

It’s obvious by looking at these numbers that domestic boilers have smaller output capacities than commercial boilers do, for obvious reasons.

Both domestic and commercial customers have different needs depending on the size of the home or office they have.

This is why both domestic and commercial boilers are available in several different capacities, but it’s also good to note that occasionally, the boilers can be used interchangeably.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at Commercial Boilers

Keep in mind that the “cut-off” sizes for commercial vs. domestic boilers aren’t etched in stone. This means that it’s possible to get a commercial boiler with an output of less than 70Kw.

An example of this would be the commercial electric boilers that are portable and often used on construction sites. These are often 70Kw or less but still serve a very important purpose to contractors and others.

If you’re in the market for a commercial boiler, take into consideration the following features:

  • Size. For this feature, you’ll need to consider how many radiators you’ll need to heat the home or office, how large the building is, and even how many hot-water outlets you currently have. If you’re unsure, it’s best to get an expert come to your home or business and help you make the right decision.
  • Energy efficiency. These days it’s possible to get a boiler that is energy-efficient, and it’s smart to buy one of these. This is especially important if your business is new and you’re watching your budget carefully. And even if you’re not, it will save you a lot of money year after year.
  • Type of Fuel. There are different types of fuel for boilers, including oil and natural gas, and some boilers even run on electricity. Hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) is fairly uncommon but is a form of renewable diesel, which is why more and more people are choosing it for their boilers.

Naturally, you’ll have to decide for yourself which boiler to get in the end, although there are companies that can help you get familiar with all of the different types so you can make a better decision.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a few distinct differences between commercial and domestic boilers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose a domestic one for your place of business or vice versa.

It gets easier to choose the right boiler once you get familiar with both types, and there are always pros that can answer your questions so the decision is a little easier.

The truth is, both domestic and commercial boilers are efficient machines that keep your home or business comfortable all winter long.

Once you learn a few differences between the two types of boilers, it will become much easier to decide which one is right for you.

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