Definitions, Terms, and Technology for Residential Boilers [NEW]

The majority of Irish homes are heated by furnaces or boilers. As the weather begins to cool, our natural instinct is to wonder if our homes are prepared for the next heating season.

This handbook is designed for homeowners who use a residential boiler as their primary source of heat or who are considering upgrading an existing boiler. Among other things, we discuss the finest residential boiler suggestions, benefits, boiler system house safety, service, and maintenance.

Because heating and cooling consume half of your home’s energy (according to Energy Star), making smart decisions regarding your heating system can improve your power expenses (not to mention your comfort). We want to make sure you have access to the most dependable, energy-efficient products available so you can live comfortably.

How Do Boilers Function?

A boiler system boils water in a tank to produce hot water or steam, which is then circulated through pipes and radiators to provide warmth.

The majority of domestic boiler systems provide hot water heating. Steam heating systems are seen in some older and larger residences. During the chilly winter months, both steam and hot water heating systems are good for keeping your home warm.

A boiler is usually placed on top of a burner, which burns fuel to generate heat. Natural gas, which is frequently piped into the house through a pipeline that runs beneath the streets or highways, is the most common fuel for boilers in Ireland. The most popular fuel used in rural regions without natural gas lines is propane gas, which is stored in a big tank in the yard of the house. Propane typically costs more than natural gas.

Boilers heated by fuel or heating oil can be found in several parts of Ireland. Oil-fired boilers are extremely rare outside of northeast Ireland, and many have been converted to burn natural gas or propane. Natural gas and propane are commonly used fuels because they are less expensive than gasoline or heating oil.

Operating a boiler costs about the same as operating a forced-air system, although forced-air systems are usually less expensive to install. Because they can supply more heat, boilers are more frequent in colder places.

Identifying the Different Types of Boiler Systems

Boiler systems are divided into two categories: steam boilers and hot water boilers. A steam boiler system boils water to produce steam, which is then pumped through the house’s radiators, whereas a hot water boiler system heats water and pumps it through the house’s radiators or baseboards. In many situations, this will also heat water for other household uses like bathing and cooking, obviating the need for a separate hot water tank.

When looking to buy a boiler system, you should think about how efficient it is to operate. The percentage of fuel consumed to generate heat depends on how efficient your new system is. The more effective the boiler system is, the more money you’ll save on your heating bills.

There are two sorts of boiler systems when it comes to efficiency: basic efficiency and high-efficiency. Standard efficiency systems are slightly less expensive, but they are less energy efficient, with an average efficiency of roughly 84 percent. A boiler with an energy efficiency of more than 90% is referred to be a high-efficiency system. These boilers are usually Energy Star certified.

An Energy Star is a federal government certification that a boiler has an energy efficiency rating of over 85%. Not all Energy Star items are eligible for federal tax credits, contrary to popular perception.

Boilers with high efficiency vs. standard efficiency

If your system is more than ten years old, replacing it will almost certainly save you money. However, determining which boiler is ideal for your home can be difficult.

What Characterizes a High-Efficiency Boiler?

A boiler heats water that is then distributed through radiators, radiant floor systems, or a coil. Some of the energy required to heat the boiler, whether it is fossil fuel or natural gas, is lost in the process of conducting in a typical boiler.

A high-efficiency boiler is designed to capture heat that is escaping and return it to the home.

What Is the Importance of High-Efficiency?

Fuel is wasted when efficiency is low. The efficiency of boilers older than ten years is about 50–75 percent. That means they use 50–70% of the fuel to heat the house, with the remaining 30–50% going to waste.

A high-efficiency boiler will benefit the environment as well as save money on fuel. It produces less pollution since it uses less gasoline. Heating accounts for 29 percent of your home’s fuel consumption, according to ENERGY STAR calculations. That percentage can be significantly greater in colder climates. Having an efficient heating system is the most important thing you can do to lessen your home’s environmental impact.

What’s the Difference Between High and Standard Efficiency?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, all new boilers must display the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) so that consumers can compare them.

The results are as follows:

  • The AFUE of old, low-efficiency boilers ranges from 56 percent to 70 percent.
  • The AFUE of new Minimum Efficiency Standard Boilers is 78 percent.
  • New mid-efficiency boilers have an AFUE of 80-83 percent.
  • The AFUE of new high-efficiency boilers ranges from 90 to 98 percent.

Energy Costs of High-Efficiency Boilers vs. Standard Boilers

Because high-efficiency boilers are so efficient at converting fuel into usable heat, they require less fuel to heat your home, lowering the cost.

The amount you save will be determined by the AFUE of the boiler you’re replacing. According to the Irish Department of Energy, replacing an outdated boiler with a new high-efficiency one will cut your fuel expenditures in half.

Replacement of High-Efficiency vs. Standard Boilers

Installing high-efficiency boilers is often more expensive than installing ordinary boilers. Here are some of the reasons:

  • A high-efficiency boiler unit has a greater initial cost.
  • It may be more expensive to retrofit a home to accommodate a high-efficiency boiler.
  • Because of their more intricate technology, high-efficiency boilers may be more expensive to repair and install.

Many homes can offset these greater expenditures by purchasing a smaller, high-efficiency boiler, which is less expensive.

The Terms You Must Understand

Shopping for a new boiler system can be perplexing because you’ll be greeted with a plethora of jargon you may not be familiar with. Understanding the meanings of some of these terms might assist you in being more prepared and locating the best boiler for your needs.

Here’s a rundown of some often used boiler terms:

  • Heat Exchanger: A heat exchanger is a device that turns energy into heat.
  • When the boiler is turned on, the pilot light is automatically lit with electricity.
  • Standing Pilot Light: In these types of systems, the pilot light is always on.
  • Boiler Pressure Valves: This mechanism allows the boiler to release pressure. One is necessary for all boilers.
  • When the boiler is not in use, this mechanism turns it off automatically, saving energy.
  • LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) is the name given to propane by boiler makers.
  • This is an electronic thermostat that matches the temperature outside to the temperature of the water in the boiler.
  • Water is constantly going through the boiler with infinitely modulating capacity.
  • The pressure of water passing through pipes is referred to as water velocity. Higher water velocity usually means less trouble and smoother functioning.
  • Heat and Power Boiler: This is a boiler that produces heat and hot water as well as a small quantity of electricity.
  • Hydronic Heating is a fancy word for hot water heating that is sometimes used.

Condensation vs. non-condensation and sealed combustion vs. non-sealed combustion are discussed in Consumer Reports’ Boiler Buying Guide.

Condensing and non-condensing boilers are both available. The waste heat from a condensing boiler is used to warm cold water entering the boiler. Because they can heat a large amount of water while running at a lower temperature, condensing boilers are excellent energy savers.

Non-condensing boilers run at higher temperatures, and some of the heat is vented to the outside. Non-condensing boilers are 80 to 88 percent efficient, but condensing boilers are more than 88 percent efficient.

“Boilers are classified as either sealed or non-sealed combustion units. You should purchase one with sealed combustion, which allows outside air into the burner while still directing exhaust gases outside. Non-sealed combustion boilers pull warm air in and then send it up the chimney, wasting the energy that was used to heat it. Furthermore, sealed-combustion boilers do not release harmful gases into your home.

What to Think About Before Buying

When buying a new residential boiler, there are various factors to consider. Because there are so many choices, it’s critical to understand which ones are ideal for you.

Size, venting technique, and efficiency are the top three factors to consider.

Consider Your Climate Size

When it comes to size, too big or too little can be problematic. A boiler that is too tiny will not perform well, while a boiler that is too huge will waste energy. The climate you reside in is a good general rule of thumb for choosing the size you require. In a warm climate, estimate 20 BTU per square foot, 35 BTU per square foot in a moderate temperature, and 50 BTU per square foot in colder climes.

Importance of open-air ventilation

Residential boilers that exhaust directly into the chimney can be installed in tighter spaces. If the boiler is forced to exhaust through a venting system, it must be placed in an open area where it can gather air to use.

Check Your Numbers for Efficiency

Your boiler will have an EnergyStar rating if it is energy efficient, which will save you money. Look for an oil boiler with an efficiency rating of at least 80% or a gas boiler with an efficiency rating of 89 percent to 98 percent. Electric boilers typically operate at 100 percent efficiency because they produce no waste.

Boiler System Benefits and Modern Technology

When compared to a forced-air furnace, there are numerous advantages to using a boiler system. Modern boiler systems are more efficient and offer more heat than forced-air furnace heating systems when properly installed.

If your home has an older boiler, you should consider replacing it with a contemporary boiler system. Boilers today are smaller and more efficient than those of the past.

Modern boilers are up to 95% more efficient than previous types, giving you more heat and hot water for less money.

Modern boilers also have pilot-less ignition. Being without a pilot light

Both the risk of explosion and the chance of wind are eliminated.

destroying your pilot light

Combination hot water heating systems are increasingly standard on modern boiler systems.

to avoid the use of a separate hot water tank This is a huge benefit for households because having only one device to heat water saves money. This cuts down on the quantity of oil or gas used to heat and hot water your home. There are also cost savings in terms of installation and maintenance because there is only one device to install and maintain.

Modern boiler systems use computerised electrical modules that enable unlimited modulation to prioritise hot water while keeping your home warm. This cutting-edge technology helps you to further minimise your energy bills.

An outside temperature reset is available on many modern boiler systems. The

The outdoor temperature reset is connected to an outdoor thermostat that keeps track of the temperature.

the outdoor temperature The boiler adjusts the temperature automatically.

The temperature of the water changes when the outside temperature increases and falls, keeping your home pleasant all year and lowering energy expenses even further.

Modern systems now come with self-diagnosis technologies that let you check the health of your system with a single button press on your control panel. This makes servicing your boiler system much easier.

The Most Common Boiler Problems [and How to Fix Them]

When your system is first turned on for the season, there may be a few minor issues. Unfortunately, you frequently find out about these common issues while it’s already cold outdoors, making the need to remedy the situation even more pressing.

Let’s start with the most frequent issues you might experience before looking at a newer, more energy-efficient boiler.

You must first determine the sort of boiler you have. The majority use natural gas or heating oil to generate steam or hot water, and they are either condensing or non-condensing. While the controls on these systems differ, they both use a boiler.

Determine whether you have a hot water boiler or a steam boiler as your first step. It’s a steam boiler if there’s no circulator (pump on a hot water heating system) or if one side of the boiler has a clear glass tube. If you need to call a technician, this information is useful.

Before calling a professional technician, go over this fast checklist.

1. Check the Pilot Light

A draught blowing out the pilot could be the source of the problem. It could also be a clogged gas supply nozzle. If you have a hot water or steam boiler, you should consider checking the pilot light.

2. Check for Pressure Loss

A water leak anywhere in the system is the most likely cause of this. However, a malfunctioning pressure relief valve could also be to blame. It’s advisable to contact an expert to establish the source, since they will be able to diagnose and solve the problem more rapidly than you can.

The water level in the steam boiler can be checked using the sight glass. 3/4 of the way up the sight glass should be full.

3. Is it possible that you have a faulty thermostat?

Thermostat malfunctions are exactly what they sound like. If yours is inaccurate or not functioning properly, it must be replaced. This is usually something you can replace on your own.

4. Is the boiler making a deep rumbling noise?

The noise you’re hearing is known as “kettling,” and it’s not a good indicator for your boiler’s health. Limescale buildup within the boiler’s heat exchanger is probably at the top of the list of the most prevalent boiler problems. That issue will be resolved by cleaning the system. To “err on the side of caution,” it’s usually preferable to call a specialist.

Boiler Safety System for the Home

If you heat your home with a boiler, you should inspect it for safety every fall. It’s a good idea to examine the boiler at the start of the heating season and once a month while it’s running.

The boiler pressure relief valve is the most important thing to inspect. This mechanism releases surplus steam or hot water, preventing pressure from building up inside the boiler and causing damage. These valves resemble pipes and can be found almost anyplace on the boiler.

Simply take a look at this valve and the surrounding region. If you haven’t seen any water or steam coming out of it recently, you should contact a professional boiler repair provider.

Check to see whether the valve isn’t clogged and if there’s anything nearby that could be injured by the steam or hot water jets.

through the relief valve Above all, make certain that there isn’t any way that

Any object that comes into contact with steam or water from the boiler pressure relief valve may be damaged.

many types of electrical wiring or devices

It’s also crucial to ensure that no one will be sitting, walking, or working in areas where steam or hot water from the boiler pressure relief valve could harm them.

When correctly operated, modern boilers are exceptionally safe devices that provide no fire risk. Carelessness, unfortunately, can convert a boiler into a fire hazard. To avoid a fire hazard, make sure that nothing is sitting on or next to the boiler, and that objects such as paper, plastics, flammable liquids, wood, wooden goods, cardboard, cardboard boxes, clothing, and chemicals are kept away from it. Keep children and pets away from the boiler at all times. If you have a separate boiler room, keep it secured so that they can’t access it.

Tips for Keeping Your System Running Smoothly

An yearly service inspection is required for your boiler system. Boilers must be serviced to guarantee that your system is operating properly. When boilers fail, they can be extremely dangerous, and steam boilers might even explode if not properly maintained. This means that a boiler should be serviced at least once a year by a homeowner.

Contrary to common opinion, a boiler service does not have to be performed at the start of the heating season. During the summer, when the boiler is not in use, you can get it serviced. All you have to do is make sure that the boiler service is performed at least once a year.

A qualified and licenced boilerman is required to perform an annual boiler system service inspection.

A professional will evaluate the performance of your system and your boiler; if anything is incorrect, it will be corrected right away.

It is suggested that you have your boiler serviced at least once a year. If you move into a new house with a boiler, you need also have boiler service. Never turn on a boiler in a new home (especially one with an older boiler) without first having it inspected by a boiler professional.

If the boiler hasn’t been serviced in a while, it’s also a good idea.

used for a long time If a house has been vacant for more than a few months and the boiler has not been used, it should be assessed.

before you begin. Boilers in abandoned houses could be filled with water in some situations.

Before they can be started, they must be drained.

Most states require technicians who operate on boilers to have a specific state licence. Boiler technicians will also require specialised training and tools in order to work on boilers.

Many HVAC technicians will be unable to work on this project.

Because they are qualified to work on forced-air heating systems, boilers are used. This means you’ll need to choose a boiler-equipped heating and cooling provider.

There are technicians available. When scheduling a service call, make sure to request the boiler technician.

Maintenance Tips for Boilers

Maintaining your boiler properly can save you money while also keeping your home secure. Modern boilers are fairly foolproof technologies that don’t require much attention, thus boiler maintenance is actually easier.

1. Conduct a boiler inspection once a year.

If you don’t use your boiler during the summer, you should have it inspected before the heating season begins. The optimum months for this are September and October (or when it gets cold in your area). The inspection does not have to be thorough or serious; all that is required is a thorough examination of the boiler.

Check for any fractures or damage, as well as any water leaks from the boiler. It shouldn’t be too difficult. All you have to do is look at the boiler closely. Keep in mind that you may need to use a flashlight if it’s kept in a dark cellar. After that, you should turn on the boiler and fire it up. Then you should keep an eye on the boiler while it’s running. This is necessary in order to check for leaks and other issues.

If it’s a hot water boiler, make sure no water is leaking, and if it’s a steam boiler, make sure no steam is escaping. If you see a fracture or leak in the boiler, turn it off immediately and contact a maintenance technician. Never use a boiler that has a crack or leak.

2. The Boiler’s Pressure

When you turn on the boiler for the season, check the pressure. On your boiler, there should be a pressure gauge. The pressure should be specified in your boiler manual. If the boiler pressure varies, boiler maintenance may be required. It is a good idea to inspect your boiler once a month while it is in use. Check for leaks and cracks, just like you would in the fall when inspecting the boiler. If you notice any damage, turn off the boiler and call for service.

3. Maintain the clearance of the boiler

When the boiler is turned on, keep the area around it clear. It’s a fire hazard to have anything that could melt or catch fire close to the boiler. Furniture, papers, appliances, paint, aerosol cans, gasoline, and other similar materials should all be kept as far away from the boiler as possible. You should also maintain the area around the boiler free so you can inspect it properly. You should be able to quickly access the gauge and pilot light in particular. In the event of an emergency, it’s also critical to keep the space free.

4. Arrange for a boiler servicing.

Every year, it’s a good idea to get your boiler serviced by a licenced professional. This is something that many people do in the fall, just before the heating season begins. Keep in mind that you can have your boiler serviced at any time of the year. Because boiler specialists are generally in high demand during the fall, it may be preferable to schedule an appointment later in the season or during the summer.

Based on customer feedback, the best boiler options

Furnace Compare analysed hundreds of customer evaluations and compiled a list of the best furnaces based on what they said.

You can read the complete reviews on their site, which is linked below, but here are their top five home boilers on the market right now.

1. American Standard has three home boiler lines: two are gas-fired and one is oil-fired. It is recommended by 90% of consumers, and American Standard is ranked sixth out of 82 boilers.

2. Bosch-This boiler garnered 100% good feedback from customers and was ranked #5 out of 82 boilers. Bosch offers nine gas tankless water heater models, including the Energy Star-rated Greentherm C 1050 Condensing and Greentherm C 950 ES Condensing.

3. CHS Slant/Fin #1 of 6 Slant/Fin Boilers The Slant/Fin CHS is a modulating condensing gas boiler with a 95 percent AFUE efficiency rating. Slant/Fin produces a variety of high-efficiency home gas and oil-fired boilers, including various Eutectic models that the company claims are the quietest in the industry.

4. Westinghouse—This boiler received 89 percent of consumer recommendations, placing it fourth out of 82 boilers. The Westinghouse brand offers a variety of air conditioning, furnace, and heat pump choices.

5. Lennox-At # 19 out of 82, it rounded out the top five. Lennox offers three different boiler series.

Residential boilers are becoming increasingly popular, and they may be the best option for your family. They are “no longer the behemoth in the basement with clanking radiators in each room,” according to Lifestyle Comfort Solutions. “Today’s residential boiler is compact, and comes in a variety of efficiency ratings, with at least 80 percent AFUE mandated by law.”

For the year 2022, Energy Star covers the most efficient boilers. This year’s leading edge in energy-efficient goods is represented by these remarkable gas and oil boilers. Visit kildareplumbingandheating.ie to see the whole list.

Michael Caine

Michael Caine is the Owner of Amir Articles and also the founder of ANO Digital (Most Powerful Online Content Creator Company), from the USA, studied MBA in 2012, love to play games and write content in different categories.