Selecting the Right Boiler for Your Home
It’s vital to ensure that you can depend on your boiler throughout the winter. If you’re thinking about selecting the right boiler for your home, there are many factors you’ll want to consider. You need to consider things such as the venting, efficiency, and size requirements of your current boiler.
As temperatures drop, a reliable heating system becomes essential. If any parts of your current system are starting to show their age or have had issues, replace those components. You should pay particularly close attention to your home’s boiler.
What Is A Boiler?
Boilers are a heating source in most steam and water-based systems. By utilizing fuel sources like propane, oil, natural gas, wood, and electricity, boilers produce steam or hot water that provides homes with heat. The boiler distributes the heat through various sources, including radiant floors, baseboard convectors, fan-forced coils, and radiators.
If you’re in the market for a new boiler, you’ll find a wide array of options to choose from. You can consider high-efficiency boilers that can reduce heating costs. Although a new boiler can be a significant investment, it could pay for itself as time goes on, especially if your current boiler is over a decade old.
Many old models are more significant than they need to be and cannot heat homes efficiently. An extensive heating system leads to higher energy costs and more maintenance. If you’re not sure that your boiler is the appropriate size for your household, you’ll want to calculate the heat loss in your home. The heat loss will help you determine if it’s time to invest in a new boiler.
We measure boiler capacity by British Thermal Units (BTUs). BTUs represent how much energy it takes to raise the temperature of a pound of water by a single degree Fahrenheit. The BTU requirements of structures can vary based on many factors. It includes how well the property is insulated, the climate in the area, and how many doors and windows the property has.
Generally speaking, properties in hotter climates require a BTU of approximately 20 BTU per square foot. In a moderate climate, you’ll need a BTU of 35, while a BTU of 50 will be necessary for cold areas. If your home is 2,000 square feet and you have cold winters (such as Calgary, AB), you should look for a boiler capable of producing 100,000 BTUs or more.
One of the most important factors to consider when selecting a new boiler is the model’s annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. AFUE describes how proficient the boiler is at transforming the fuel source into energy for generating heat. While it makes sense to look for a boiler with a high-efficiency rating, there are other factors you’ll have to take into consideration as well. You’ll want to consider the operating conditions the unit requires.
A boiler with an AFUE rating above 84% is considered a high-efficiency unit. The U.S. Environmentally Protection Agency has stringent guidelines that appliances must meet to receive Energy Star certifications. You may want to look for a unit with this certification. The majority of gas furnaces on the market day have AFUE ratings that fall between 89 and 98 percent. You can expect ratings anywhere from 80 to 90 percent for oil furnaces.
Some units can improve their efficiency with features, such as outdoor reset modulation. This feature adjusts based on the temperature outside. Since they don’t create any waste gas, it’s not unusual for electric boilers to come close to 100 percent efficiency. They can be a solid choice if you live in an area with reasonable electricity rates.
Finding the Right Venting System
When selecting a boiler, it’s also essential to ensure that the venting system of the unit is compatible with your house. Direct and power-vent boilers send exhaust out through a vent in the home’s roof or sidewall using fans. Power-vent boilers require air from the interior of your home. It means that a technician must install them in open spaces.
A boiler that’s chimney-vented will naturally send exhaust through the home’s chimney. Condensing units produce condensation with a high acidity, which means they have specialized requirements for venting.
Selecting the Right Boiler – Conclusion
Although a new boiler can be a significant investment, it could pay for itself as time goes on, especially if your current boiler is over a decade old. If you’re not sure that your boiler is capable of keeping up, then it may be time to find a new one.
You’ll want to calculate the heat loss in your home and determine if it’s time to invest in a new boiler. Generally speaking, you should look for a unit with an AFUE rating of at least 84 percent. Finally, you’ll also want to verify that your venting system is compatible with the boiler you’re considering purchasing.