Looking to upgrade your old boiler before the Ohio winter sets in? If your unit is more than 10 years old, you’ll probably want to find a more efficient model to keep your utility costs down and the operating efficiency up. You’ll be amazed at all the cost-saving improvements that have been added to modern boilers. Here are three boiler upgrades you might want to consider.
Your older boiler may have been designed to achieve an annual fuel utilization efficiency rating (AFUE) of around 70 percent. As it has aged, its efficiency has probably gone down. Newer boilers, besides saving you money on your utility bill, are also safer and more reliable. In our climate, with our long, cold winters, it’s a good idea to invest in an Energy Star-rated appliance with an AFUE of at least 90 percent. Energy Star is the government’s program for recognizing and rating the most efficient appliances on the market.
A condensing boiler uses the heat from water vapor, or condensation, produced during combustion, rather than exhausting it through the flue. The AFUE for a condensing boiler is usually 10 points higher than non-condensing models. Condensing models are top of the line in efficiency and cost more, but they can save you money in utility costs over the estimated 15- to 30-year life span of the boiler. Condensing boilers do need to be vented in a special way because they produce acidic condensation.
A sealed combustion boiler draws outside air into the burner while combustion gases are sent outside, without needing a damper or draft hood. Non-sealed units draw hot air into the unit and then, after combustion, send it up the chimney, wasting the energy that heated the air. The sealed combustion process is more efficient and also safer, in that no dangerous combustion gases are introduced into the home. Backdrafting is always a possibility with non-sealed boilers.
To learn more about boiler upgrades, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. We’ve proudly served Greater Cincinnati since 1910 and look forward to handling your heating and cooling needs!
When it comes to heating your home, you know the equipment can’t last forever. There will come a day when it’s time to research a boiler upgrade, but is an upgrade worth it? How do you know when it’s time to upgrade, and what features should you look for in replacement equipment?
Benefits of a Boiler Upgrade
Replacing a broken or inefficient boiler with an upgraded model comes with several benefits, including:
- Lower fuel costs in response to more efficient operation
- Fewer greenhouse gas emissions for a lower environmental impact
- Better home comfort in the bitter cold Ohio winter
- Improved reliability and safety
- Higher home resale value
Knowing When to Upgrade
A boiler replacement requires an investment. Watch for these signs that indicate now’s the time for a boiler upgrade:
- The boiler is more than 15 years old.
- The boiler is hot to the touch or the boiler room heats up even when it’s not generating heat for your home.
- You recently finished a home add-on and the boiler isn’t adequately heating the newly expanded footprint.
- The boiler can’t keep up when it gets too cold outside, meaning it’s undersized.
- The boiler short cycles, resulting in dramatic temperature fluctuations. This means the boiler is oversized.
- The boiler has outdated, inefficient features, such as a pilot light or operating control box with no digital readout.
What to Look for in a Boiler Upgrade
Get the most from a new boiler by shopping carefully for your upgrade. Consider the following:
- Fuel type – In general, it’s most cost effective to replace your home’s boiler with one that uses the same fuel. If you already have a natural gas line, this is the likely best fuel choice. Oil, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and electricity are viable alternatives.
- Efficiency – Opt for the highest efficiency boiler possible for the lowest operational costs. Condensing boilers are 90 percent or more efficient.
- Quality installation – Even the best boilers won’t perform at their peak without proper installation. Leave the job to a qualified professional for the best results.
To learn more about choosing a boiler upgrade, please contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. We’ve proudly served Ohio residents since 1910.
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Boiler troubleshooting may get the heat flowing in your home again — or not. While correcting some simple operational issues is possible for the skilled do-it-yourselfer, repairs should be left to a qualified service technician for safety’s sake. In that case, troubleshooting common boiler problems is an effective preliminary step to calling in professional help. By checking the most obvious causes yourself, you’ll be able to pass on some useful facts to the technician when he arrives.
It’s a No-Brainer, But …
Any Signs of Life?
If your boiler has a controller and an LCD display screen, check to see that the screen is lit and receiving power. If it’s not, you may have an electrical failure or a defective circuit board in the controller. If the screen is lit, check for any fault codes or error messages that may be displayed. Write them down and pass them on to the HVAC contractor when you call. If the display screen and other indicator lights are dark, go to the electrical panel and look for any tripped circuit breakers. If you find one, reset it and check the boiler again.
Check the Gas and Pilot Light
At the boiler, the main gas valve should be in the “open” position. If it’s not, call your HVAC contractor and inquire why. If work was recently performed, it may have been inadvertently left closed. Verify the reason before you turn on the gas.
If the system incorporates a standing pilot light, see if it’s lit. If not, follow manufacturer’s re-lighting instructions. Frequently, a defective thermocouple will extinguish the pilot and prevent re-lighting. In that case, you’ll need professional help.
Newer boilers utilize electronic hot surface ignitors instead of standing pilot lights. Usually, there’s a conspicuous reset button you can try to revive an electronic ignitor. If you have no luck resetting, your HVAC contractor can handle it.
When basic troubleshooting doesn’t solve common boiler problems and restore heat, contact the pros at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
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