Both a boiler and a forced-air furnace will heat your home efficiently -- as long as they're high-efficient models. Unfortunately, older units, boilers especially, are typically far from energy efficient. If you're thinking of investing in a boiler, buy one that's new and Energy Star certified to get the best value and performance. If you're not up to date on your boilers, here are few answers to your commonly asked questions:
How Does a Boiler Provide Warmth?
Boilers act as a central unit to heat water. In the past, boilers actually boiled the water, but more efficient versions only heat it to a temperature warm enough to radiate heat. The heated water is then circulated throughout your home through wall and floor pipes and radiators. Because they no longer have to produce enough heat to bring water to a boil, they're much more energy efficient than older models.
Which Type of Boiler is Most Efficient?
Depending upon the type of boiler you install, your savings will vary. The most efficient boilers run on natural gas, with propane a close second. Boilers that require oil or electricity to operate are among the more expensive versions to run.
What Does It Cost to Install a Boiler?
Several factors will determine your overall costs when installing a boiler, but HomeAdvisor gives a national average estimate of around $5000. More efficient models cost more, as do sealed-combustion types that have a lower overall risk of leaking carbon monoxide into your home. Some areas of the country require permits before a residential boiler can be installed. This will raise your cost of installation as well. The bright side to all this, however, is the instant savings you'll notice on your monthly energy bill.
Whether a boiler is the right choice for your residential heating needs depends on a variety of factors, including those listed above. A decent investment is typically required up front, but you'll enjoy savings in the future. Modern boilers tend to take up less space than a forced-air furnace, and if they're properly installed, they require little in the way of upkeep and repair as long as you follow a good preventive maintenance regimen. Have a professional like Reagan-Riter Boiler Works Inc in every so often to lubricate the pump and to vent and drain both the radiators and the unit itself.
Making the change to hot-water heat requires little adjustment. Your home will stay warm and cozy, and only your high energy bill will notice a decline.