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Kbeck Plumbing and Heating specializes in commercial hot water systems and boilers, but also offers general plumbing and heating services.

This installation comprised a 400,000-Btu hot-water boiler with a 200-gallon storage tank insulated with quarter-inch bubble wrap. Note that all the piping is also insulated. This boiler serves 48 apartments.

For this installation, we coordinated with carpenters who were installing a new sheetmetal, watertight floor with a drain built into the pan to contain leaks. This is sitting on the third floor of an apartment building, where a leak could be a catastrophe.

Note the brown expansion tank mounted between the boiler and storage tank. Not everybody installs those, but they should, if the situation warrants it, because systems with backflow preventers or pressure reducers often suffer thermal expansion that can cause premature failure of piping and storage tanks.

Why would you use a boiler here instead of a commercial water heater? One reason is efficiency. A boiler is 86 percent efficient. It tends to last three times longer than a tank water heater. Also, when a water heater fails, both the heater and tank are replaced together. Here, either component could outlast the other and continue in service.