How Efficient Is Too Efficient? Don’t Buy More Boiler Than You Need.

October 22, 2014
How Efficient Is Too Efficient? Don’t Buy More Boiler Than You Need.

You may have decided to make the switch from oil to natural gas heat. Or, perhaps you’re still comparing the numbers. Wherever you are in the process of updating your home heating system, one important consideration is how much system you need for your home.

Just like with other appliances, you can easily overspend when it comes to power and capacity. And since the price difference between two models can be in the thousands, it’s important to know what you should look for when making your purchase decision.

Here, we’ll cover natural gas boilers and hot water heaters, the two main components you’ll be shopping for once you make the decision to switch from oil to natural gas heat.

Gas Boilers
  • Mid-Efficiency Boilers (85%+ AFUE) Priced more competitively than high-efficiency boilers, many boilers in the mid-efficiency range can be vented through a chimney, which keeps installation costs reasonable. Plus, boilers in this category require fewer modifications to run with existing piping arrangements. Additionally, mid-efficiency models require less maintenance than high-efficiency ones, and replacement parts are less expensive.
  • High-Efficiency Boilers (90%+ AFUE) As the name suggests, high-efficiency boilers use less natural gas to heat a home than other systems. These kinds of boilers are “low-temperature systems,” meaning they output heat at a lower temperature over a longer period of time; the advantage is there is no ramp up that is common with more conventional boilers, which fire at maximum capacity to reach a high temperature as fast as possible – burning through fuel quickly. Additionally, many high-efficiency boilers have an outdoor reset feature, which regulates the boiler output based on the outside temperature. Unseasonably warm days will be met with lower fuel use, as your boiler system automatically adjusts.
What does the efficiency rating AFUE mean?

AFUE stands for “Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency,” a ranking from the Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute that is a measure of a furnace’s heating efficiency. The higher the AFUE percentage, the more efficient the furnace. The minimum percentage established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for furnaces is 78% – though older, less efficient models are installed in homes whose heating systems have not been upgraded.

Water Heater Options
  • Storage Water Heater The most common type of water heater, it’s being slowly phased out due to its inefficient use of fuel – not to mention the possibility of leaks and spills. Capable of holding 20 to 80 gallons of hot water at a time, this tank demands the water be held at a certain temperature constantly – which means more fuel usage for less hot water.
  • Tankless Water Heater With this unit, you won’t have a giant water tank sitting in your basement, ready to leak or tip over. Quick and highly efficient, this unit heats water on demand, so water is only heated once it’s called for, saving on fuel costs, since these heaters do not need to keep a tank of water constantly heated.
  • Indirect Water Heater Paired with a traditional boiler, this baseboard heat system uses the hot water from the boiler’s storage tank to heat the consumable water in the indirect tank, conserving the transfer of heat. Most commonly paired with high-efficiency boilers, this indirect system is a “low temperature” form of heating your home and water.

Regardless of the type of gas boiler system and hot water heater you install, many utility companies, including National Grid, offer rebates for the installation of these systems. The manufacturers of these products also may offer discounts and rebates as well, lowering your overall cost to install these new products.

Need an expert to help you select the best home heating system for your needs? Contact O2G at 888.291.6685 or here Contact Us.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *