Buying a new boiler is a significant investment. Boilers have come a long way in terms of efficiency and features in recent years. Taking time to understand the efficiency, sizing and installation concerns will help ensure your new boiler is operating efficiently years down the road.
It’s a good idea to have an HVAC professional calculate the size of the boiler you need. New windows, doors, insulation or other home improvement projects over the years may have lessened the heating load your home requires, or your old boiler may have been oversized to begin with. Running a larger boiler than needed is inefficient, plus larger boilers have higher purchase prices.
Electric boilers are very efficient, but electricity costs in Michigan make it cheaper to run a natural gas boiler. A boiler’s efficiency is rated by its annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). Old gas or oil boilers often had an AFUE of 70 percent or less. In our cold climate you may want to consider ones with even higher efficiencies, which can save money in the long run on energy costs.
New boilers achieve their high efficiencies in a number of ways. Instead of standing pilot lights, they use electric ignition and are more compact and lightweight. They also condense the water vapor that’s produced during combustion to capture the latent heat that’s released. Sealed-combustion units are directly vented to the exterior so they can use outside air for the combustion process instead of already heated air.
An improper installation can sabotage any boiler, so make sure you have a contractor who’s experienced with high-efficiency boilers. The high-efficiency features have special venting concerns standard units don’t and will require extra work to ensure no problems arise. Also, the hot pressurized water boilers use makes a shoddy installation especially dangerous.
If you’d like more guidance on choosing a new boiler, contact us at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing. We serve Grand Traverse County and the surrounding areas.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan 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.
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