If you're planning to upgrade your boiler soon, Energy Star-qualified boilers give you a good place to start your search for modern, efficient equipment. The Energy Star label is found on boilers and other equipment that are among the most efficient on the market. To qualify for the label, boilers must meet specific standards. Before you start shopping, get familiar with these standards and with the technology used in high-efficiency boilers.
A boiler's annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE, indicates its efficiency at turning fuel into heat over the course of the season. Energy Star-qualified boilers have AFUEs of 85 percent or higher. This means they turn at least 85 percent of their fuel into heat. Although this is 6 percent greater efficiency than the federal minimum standard, boilers with much higher efficiency ratings also exist.
A conventional atmospherically vented boiler draws in indoor air for use in combustion. This wastes conditioned air, creates uncomfortable drafts and poses the risk of carbon monoxide leaks. A sealed combustion boiler pulls in outdoor air for combustion, which minimizes drafts and reduces the chances of carbon monoxide leaking. High efficiency boilers typically use sealed combustion.
Less efficient boilers use a single heat exchanger to draw heat during the combustion process. Any heat that isn't drawn out escapes up the flue to the outdoors. Today's more energy efficient boilers contain a second heat exchanger to extract heat the first heat exchanger missed. These boilers, known as condensing boilers, reach AFUEs of 92 to 98 percent.
A continuously burning pilot light wastes fuel, so high efficiency boiler models use electricity to ignite the burners. Several types of electronic ignition exist, but hot surface ignition (HSI) is the most common. A hot surface ignitor contains a wire similar to a light bulb filament that becomes hot and ignites the gas flowing over it. Nearly all Energy Star-qualified boilers use electronic ignition.
If you're in the Greater Cleveland area and looking to improve your home heating system, get in touch with us at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling, Inc.
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for over 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. Paul is the Chairman of COSE's Energy Advisory Council. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.