Gas Heating Systems
Modern gas heating systems are a leap forward in efficiency, but only if they’re set up right.
Condensing boilers are gas-fired boilers that achieve efficiency by condensing water vapor in exhaust gases and recovering latent heat that would normally be lost up the flue. By doing so, they can achieve efficiency of 90 percent or higher, but this is only true if the system is designed and installed as intended.
Condensing boiler technology is designed to maintain temperature in your home just like the cruise control option on your vehicle maintains a constant speed and conserves fuel.
While conventional boilers only stop or go at full capacity, your condensing boiler can run at 20 percent of capacity, 100 percent of capacity, or anywhere in between depending on demand. The ability to modulate is especially efficient when your system features an indirect domestic hot water heater, which will require year-round operation.
Outdoor Reset Controls
Properly installed outdoor boiler reset controls help your condensing boiler anticipate demand, which prevents the unnecessary combustion of fuel. It signals the boiler water to run slightly cooler in mild temperatures and slightly hotter during the coldest parts of the winter. This allows for maximum boiler efficiency and indoor comfort.
A boiler distribution system is designed to keep a home warm on the coldest days of the year. Since a boiler seldom operates in design conditions, turning down the boiler water temperature can:
- Improve boiler efficiency by reducing heat temperature needed
- Improve indoor comfort with more consistent or less intense heat coming off radiators
- Reduce standby losses from pipes
Tips for Comfort
- Set it and forget it: Set your home to a comfortable indoor temperature and let technology adjust your boiler’s water temperature in response to the outdoor temperature.
- Consistent temperature: Don’t be surprised if your radiators or baseboards don’t seem as hot as they once did. Since your boiler water temperature is lower your distribution system may be cooler, but your indoor air temperature should remain consistent.
Changes may need to be made to your current heating system setup to accommodate a condensing boiler, specifically for the differences in exhaust. Much of the vapor that previously went up the chimney will now be liquid condensate that will go down a drain. And any exhaust piping (including drains and chimneys) will need to be made of materials that can stand up to corrosive condensate and vapor, like stainless steel.
Not only do modern furnaces save energy, they pollute less and boost comfort by producing heat more steadily than older furnaces, and choosing an energy efficient option can make a big difference. While the lowest efficiency allowed by current federal standards is 78 percent, high efficiency gas furnaces can hit efficiencies of 95 percent or more.
Save Even More With an Efficient Furnace Fan
Often referred to as a brushless DC electric motor or a permanent magnet motor, an electronically commutated motor (ECM) uses a built-in inverter and a magnet rotor to achieve greater efficiency than AC motors. Used in furnace fans or boiler pumps, ECMs can more than double the efficiency of non-ECM fans or pumps. Most efficient furnaces today have these fans built in.