Selecting An Efficient Boiler: 3 Steps To Success

Posted On: December 12, 2012

Today’s boilers are often 10 to 30 percent more energy efficient than those made 20 or even 10 years ago. Upgrading the old boiler in your southwest Illinois home will almost certainly lower your heating bills. To get the most from your investment, though, you’ll want a model that’s as energy efficient as possible. When you’re browsing for a new system, consider:

  • Efficiency ratings
  • Sizing
  • Installation factors

Efficiency ratings

Annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) is the term used to describe a boiler’s efficiency at turning fuel into heat over the course of an average year. To qualify for the Energy Star label, a boiler must have an AFUE of 85 percent or greater. Higher-efficiency boilers can reach AFUEs of 90 percent or more. Other energy-saving features to look for when selecting an efficient boiler include electronic spark ignition or hot surface ignition, vent dampers, flue-gas condensing technology, and sealed combustion.

Sizing

Boilers are sized by kilowatt, such as 35 kW. Correct sizing is an essential part of selecting an efficient boiler. Too large a boiler wastes energy, while a boiler that’s too small can’t warm your home adequately. When your technician is sizing a boiler, your climate, the type and size of your house, and the type of your walls, roof and windows all matter. The importance and complexity of accurate sizing mean the job requires a professional.

For a rough size estimate, though, you can add up the manufacturer’s suggested heat output for all your home’s radiators. The label on the back of the radiator lists this number. Then add 10 percent to account for southwest Illinois’s cold winters.

Installation factors

Although you may be able to place radiators and water pipes by yourself, for boiler installation you’ll need an HVAC professional. A specialist will evaluate your home to ensure the boiler is suitable, and if you’re installing a combi boiler, make sure your water pressure meets the boiler’s water flow rate requirement.

For expert guidance on selecting an efficient boiler and other energy-efficiency issues, get in touch with us at Ernst Heating & Cooling. Since 1951, Metro-East residents have trusted us for reliable HVAC services.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about boilers and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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