What is a Boiler Circulator Pump?

blue and green circulation pumps for a water boiler

Do you need a boiler circulator pump for your property? What does it even do? Is it more energy efficient? There are a lot of questions to ask about boiler circulator pumps. Here are some answers!

What Do Boiler Pumps Do?

Circulator pumps literally move hot water. The pump will propel water through the household's radiators, then back to the boiler to re-heat the water so the cycle can be completed again. The pump is made up of two parts: a motor and a water pump. Circulator pumps use water to move heat all over a building or even a property.

How It Works

An electrical switch powers the circulator relay. The circulator pump moves hot water through pipes to heat convector units, baseboards and radiators. Circulator pumps can work together on a system to heat large spaces or small spaces. Pumps can be used to heat various zones of a property or to heat an entire house.

Potential Boiler Circulator Pump Issues

man repairing boiler room circulation pump

There are several things that can go wrong with boiler circulator pump issues. Leaks can appear on the pipes that carry water through the house, which can lead to higher energy bills and higher utility bills and create huge problems due to water damage. The circulator pump itself may fail due to an electrical problem, which will prevent the hot water from flowing through the house into the various systems that are used to heat the space.

A blockage can also occur anywhere in the piping system used in the boiler system that can prevent hot water (and therefore, heat) from moving through the house.

If you hear your circulator pump making odd noises or you notice a loss of heat anywhere, check your system for potential problems involving the plumbing or the electricity.

What About Energy Efficiency?

Most homes in the U.S. are heated by either a boiler system that uses circulating pumps or a furnace. While the boiler heats water and creates heat this way, a furnace heats air and pushes this through ducts and vents throughout the house, rather than moving water through pipes. But which method is ultimately more energy efficient?

The energy efficiency of any heating system is measured by its annual fuel utilization efficiency, or how much fuel it uses compared to how much heat it creates in the course of a pretty average year. For example, if the AFUE is 80 percent then 80 percent of the fuel consumed by the furnace or boiler becomes heat. All-electric furnace and burner systems where there is no chimney present tend to have the highest AFUE rating. Either type of heating system, whether it is a furnace that heats air or a boiler that heats water, can achieve this high level of energy efficiency.

Choosing a Heating System

boiler system with circulation pumps

Which type of heating system will suit your needs best? What’s going to heat your property the most efficiently with the fewest maintenance needs while burning the least amount of fuel? These are questions that everyone must consider in order to figure out the right way to heat up their home.

Figure out how much square footage you need to heat, take a look at the energy ratings and information included with available boiler and furnace systems and do the calculations to determine which system is going to work best for you while costing the least amount of money.

Knowing how various heating systems work and what can go wrong with them can help you make a much better decision about how you’re going to heat your home and how much you’re willing to spend on a system to keep your home heated. Doing a little extra research can help you find the best system to fit your needs.