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Heating Systems and Boilers – How they work and how to buy one.

If you’re like most homeowners in NJ, buying heating systems and boilers can seem overwhelming and confusing.  The simple four-step guide to buying a boiler below can help you choose the right model with confidence and ease.

1. Check the efficiency rating

By law, the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) must be displayed on all new boilers so that buyers can compare the efficiency of various models. The AFUE rates a boiler’s ability to convert the energy in its fuel into heat throughout the year. If a boiler has an AFUE of 85 percent, for example, this means that 85 percent of its fuel energy will be converted into heat for your house, while the other 15 percent will be lost. However, unlike with forced-air heating systems, you needn’t worry about heat energy being lost as a result of duct leaks.

2. Select the best fuel type

Although all-electric furnaces receive the highest AFUE ratings (usually between 95 and 100 percent), because of the higher cost of electricity, these boilers are usually not economical. Natural Gas is the more practical choice and as a result is the most commonly used fuel type for boilers. In the USA, the minimum allowable AFUE for gas-fired boilers is 80 percent, while high-efficiency Energy Star-qualified boilers must have at least 85 percent AFUE.

3. Pick efficiency features

It’s smart to look for the Energy Star label when buying a boiler. Condensing boilers are also a great option. Although these units are pricier, they will save you a great deal of money in the long run as they’re able to condense the water vapor produced throughout combustion and make use of the heat from the condensation. This can boost AFUE rating by as much as 10 percent. Sealed combustion boilers are another choice and promote savings by drawing the air outside directly into the burner as all combustion gasses are evacuated directly outside, eliminating the need for a draft hood or damper.

4.  Size it right.

Some people may think bigger is better when buying a boiler, but a boiler that is too big will keep you no warmer than a right sized one and will cost you more to operate. Sizing a boiler correctly for your home is a key factor in achieving the lowest overall cost for your heating bills. Crosstown recommends that you talk to a professional about this as he will know how to consider the many factors unique to your home or apartment.

For more advice on buying a boiler, please contact Lenny at Crosstown Plumbing and he will tell you exactly what you need.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Northern New Jersey area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about buying a boiler and other HVAC topics, call us at 800.709.6830

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