There are a few things to consider when choosing a boiler. Take a look at the following tips on finding the best boiler to suit the needs of your home and family.
Gas, Steam or Electric
As of January 2013, all boilers manufactured will have to be high efficiency. This positive change (for both the environment and our pocketbooks) has come about due to changes in the AHRI (Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute) standards. The new standards will take effect in 2013 for non-weatherized furnaces, and in 2015 for air conditioners, hear pumps, and weatherized furnaces.
This is something to note when seeking your new boiler. The first thing to do when choosing the best boiler for your home is to consider your options which include electric, oil, gas, steam or hydronic. There are even solar heating systems available now for certain types of homes. The difference between boiler types is broken down below:
- Electric: Typically the most costly due to the price of electricity, the electric is also often the most common found in a variety of home sizes and types. They are small and compact. However, consider that they will not function properly if the electricity goes out in a winter (or any other type) of storm.
- Oil: Used in many home types, the oil boiler heats using a motor. A thermostat is used to regulate the temperature within your home. This type of boiler is used in homes of varying sizes.
- Gas: Gas boilers are probably one of the most inexpensive and require the least amount of maintenance over time. They take less time to heat up than electric boilers. They also take up very little space and are ideal for smaller homes. Also, newer models of gas boilers tend to be far quieter than their predecessors.
- Steam: Steam boilers are losing demand, as there are now far better and more efficient boilers available. A steam boiler requires a steam-to-water heat exchanger, which naturally results in the loss of some heat.
- Hydronic: The evolution of hydronic boilers have brought about maximized efficiency. They are used for building heat or process hot-water applications. However, with highly fuel efficient boilers saturating the market these days, finding the right boiler regardless of the system you need is fairly simple. A hydronic boiler has a closed-loop system. This results in the constant circulation within the system.
Everyone’s home is different. Be sure to choose the proper size boiler for the space it will be accommodating while still making sure it is properly serving its purpose.
Large Home: If you have a large home, a system boiler is a good bet. A system boiler is designed to work on the principle of stored hot water. You will therefore need space for the hot water storage tank. A system boiler also offers good water pressure, and the ability to run hot water from numerous outlets at once.
Small Home: If your home is small, you may want to look into a combination boiler. These are designed to heat water directly from the mains and take up less space. They also do not us an external hot water tank. However, the ongoing stream of hot water may be interrupted if another outlet is used simultaneously. They offer instant hot water without the wait.
With a variety of boilers available, comes a variety of pricing. Budget is very important when choosing a boiler for your home. While you obviously want the best product for your dollar, this is one item for your home you do not want to pinch pennies on.
That being said, you should also consider other fees such as installation fees or removal of old equipment fees that may be in addition to your overall boiler purchase: Boilers can be costly, so it is best to discuss all of the options with a knowledgeable and establishing heating engineer. Do some online research as well, to assure you are paying the best price for your boiler.
Make your main concern the operation cost instead of the initial cost of your new boiler system. This unit will be getting a lot of use in the winter months, and therefore you should take into consideration that proper maintenance will help you avoid additional expense down the road.
Choosing the right boiler for your home to withstand years of use, particularly in the winter months, is a simple matter of doing a little research and knowing what you need. There are plenty of options on the market from which to choose and with proper selection and care, one is sure to bring positive enhancement and comfort to your home year-round.
Brian Murphy, Audubon Plumbing Supply – Leading supplier of Gas-fired, oil-fired and hydronic boilers.