REPLACING YOUR FURNACE OR BOILER
Although older furnace and boiler systems had efficiencies in the range of 56% to 70%, modern conventional heating systems can achieve efficiencies as high as 98.5%, converting nearly all the fuel to useful heat for your home. Energy efficiency upgrades and a new high-efficiency heating system can often cut your fuel bills and your furnace’s pollution output in half. Upgrading your furnace or boiler from 56% to 90% efficiency in an average cold-climate house will save 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year if you heat with gas, or 2.5 tons if you heat with oil.
If your furnace or boiler is old, worn out, inefficient, or significantly oversized, the simplest solution is to replace it with a modern high-efficiency model. Old coal burners that were switched over to oil or gas are prime candidates for replacement, as well as gas furnaces with pilot lights rather than electronic ignitions. Newer systems may be more efficient but are still likely to be oversized, and can often be modified to lower their operating capacity.
Before buying a new furnace or boiler or modifying your existing unit, first make every effort to improve the energy efficiency of your home, then have a heating contractor size your furnace. Energy-efficiency improvements will save money on a new furnace or boiler, because you can purchase a smaller unit. A properly sized furnace or boiler will operate most efficiently, and you’ll want to choose a dependable unit and compare the warranties of each furnace or boiler you’re considering.
When shopping for high-efficiency furnaces and boilers, look for the ENERGY STAR® label. If you live in a cold climate, it usually makes sense to invest in the highest-efficiency system. In milder climates with lower annual heating costs, the extra investment required to go from 80% to 90% to 95% efficiency may be hard to justify.
You can estimate the annual savings from heating system replacements by using the table on this page, which assumes that both heating systems have the same heat output. However, most older systems are oversized, and will be particularly oversized if you significantly improve the energy efficiency of your home. Because of this additional benefit, your actual savings in upgrading to a new system could be much higher than indicated in the table.
Specify a sealed combustion furnace or boiler, which will bring outside air directly into the burner and exhaust flue gases (combustion products) directly to the outside, without the need for a draft hood or damper. Furnaces and boilers that are not sealed-combustion units draw heated air into the unit for combustion and then send that air up the chimney, wasting the energy that was used to heat the air. Sealed-combustion units avoid that problem and also pose no risk of introducing dangerous combustion gases into your house. In furnaces that are not sealed-combustion units, backdrafting of combustion gases can be a big problem.
High-efficiency sealed-combustion units generally produce an acidic exhaust gas that is not suitable for old, unlined chimneys, so the exhaust gas should either be vented through a new duct or the chimney should be lined to accommodate the acidic gas (see the section on maintaining proper ventilation below).
Annual Estimated Savings for Every $100 of Fuel Costs by Increasing Your Heating Equipment Efficiency*
|Existing System AFUE||New/Upgraded System AFUE|
*Assuming the same heat output
MAINTAINING FURNACES AND BOILERS
The following maintenance should be provided by a heating system professional.
- Check the condition of your vent connection pipe and chimney. Parts of the venting system may have deteriorated over time. Chimney problems can be expensive to repair, and may help justify installing new heating equipment that won’t use the existing chimney.
- Check the physical integrity of the heat exchanger. Leaky boiler heat exchangers leak water and are easy to spot. Furnace heat exchangers mix combustion gases with house air when they leak—an important safety reason to have them inspected.
- Adjust the controls on the boiler or furnace to provide optimum water and air temperature settings for both efficiency and comfort.
- If you’re considering replacing or retrofitting your existing heating system, have the technician perform a combustion-efficiency test.
Forced Air Systems:
- Check the combustion chamber for cracks
- Test for carbon monoxide (CO) and remedy if found
- Adjust blower control and supply-air temperature
- Clean and oil the blower
- Remove dirt, soot, or corrosion from the furnace or boiler
- Check fuel input and flame characteristics, and adjust if necessary
- Seal connections between the furnace and main ducts.
Hot Water Systems:
- Test pressure-relief valve
- Test high-limit control
- Inspect pressure tank, which should be filled with air, to verify that it’s not filled with water
- Clean the heat exchanger.
- Drain some water from the boiler to remove sediments and improve the heat exchange efficiency
- Test low-water cutoff safety control and high-limit safety control
- Drain the float chamber to remove sediments, which will prevent the low-water cutoff control from sediment clogs
- Analyze boiler water and add chemicals as needed to control deposits and corrosion
- Clean the heat exchanger
TIPS FOR BUYING A HEATING SYSTEM
A furnace is a device discovered in the home utilized for heating. There are numerous kinds of heating systems readily available. A main heating device is found in most homes and distributes warm air throughout your home, warming it. A stove is normally a huge appliance where wood is burned to create heat in the location. Room heaters are little, electrical devices that offer heat to a little area. The majority of homes have some form of central heating and some people have a range. Many people opt for a stove as an ornamental piece but it is rare to see one nowadays for use as the prime heating source. If you are thinking of replacing a heater or purchasing a brand-new one, there are several things to think about.
The size of your house will dictate the size of the heating system needed. If the heating system is too small to accommodate your needs, it will need to work more difficult to warm the house. Getting a furnace that is too large can be ineffective and they are generally more costly. The general use of the heating system will certainly enhance energy expenses. Ask for a load calculation before picking the heating system for your home. This will certainly assist identify the proper size. If changing a furnace, do not simply opt for a model that is similar to the old one. Instead, do some research study as the one that came with the house might not have been the proper size.
High effectiveness heaters can be really pricey. The payoff, however, is in the long term due to the fact that they will ultimately save you money on heating bills. If you live in a colder environment where the heating system will be running for extended amount of times, buying a high efficiency design may be ideal. If, nevertheless, you do not often utilize the system typically, a less effective design will likely conserve money. In order for the investment to settle, you will certainly need to determine the energy savings with the extra cost of the unit. Occasionally this might take a very long time to be beneficial.
After determining the size and efficiency of the device required, begin researching expenses. Also consider installation which is generally performed by a certified A/C service provider. Search for the very best possible price and get numerous quotes for contrast. Choose the one that has the best costs with the wanted features.
Buying a heating system can help reduce energy expenses while keeping your house warm throughout winter. With a little research study, purchasing a brand-new furnace does not need to be tough. Ensure you are purchasing the proper size heating system for your house. Figure out the level of efficiency that will certainly conserve the most cash. Then, search and get quotes for the best cost.