Hot water and steam heat cost more for installation, but have many advantages over the furnace. Their chief drawbacks are the space usurped by radiators, lack of ventilation, and the possibility of an occasional breakdown. The ingenuity of the makers, however, is partly overcoming these difficulties, mainly by the device called the indirect system.
We need not fret ourselves here with a technical elucidation of either form of heating. We may, however, consider some of the claims made for hot water, which is apparently coming to be considered the preferable arrangement for dwelling houses. There is not a great deal of difference between the essential features of steam and hot-water systems.
It is declared that water will absorb more heat than any other substance, hence will take from the boiler practically all the heat produced in the combustion of fuel. As the temperature of the water is automatically controlled, the atmosphere of the rooms may be kept at the desired degree, the presence of radiators in each room, all of the same temperature, giving an even heat over the entire house.
There can be no sudden drop in temperature, as the water in the pipes continues to distribute warmth even after the fire has been checked or has been allowed to go out. The fuel required for an ordinary stove, it is asserted, will warm an entire house with hot water. An engineer is not required.
Inexperienced persons have no difficulty in operating the ordinary boiler, and there is no danger whatever, because, the makers adduce, for steam heat the maximum pressure is about five pounds, while with hot water there is practically no pressure at all. Very little water is used, and a connection with the street water system is not imperative, though convenient.