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How to Pick a Residential Boiler
Home Boiler System Overview

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A boiler is a central heating system that uses hot water or steam, which is transported through a piping system and to radiators, to heat a home.

One advantage of choosing a residential boiler system is the even distribution of heat. Hot water and steam transfer heat more effectively than air by keeping the heat closer to the ground. Another advantage is efficiency. Boilers require less energy to heat a home than forced-air systems because hot water and steam hold heat longer than air.

Residential boilers also provide flexibility by allowing for zoning different areas of the home. This way, each zone can be kept at its own temperature, maximizing comfort and reducing energy costs for areas where additional heat isn't needed.

Choosing a Residential Boiler System

A boiler can transfer heat using hot water or steam as its medium. These mediums are not interchangeable, so it is important to know what the existing pipe system is designed for.

Fuel Type
A residential boiler system is made to use one of the following as its fuel source: natural gas, liquid propane, oil, or electricity.

Vent Type
There are three venting options for a residential boiler; direct vent, chimney vent, and power vent. Each type has a different method of removing gasses and is chosen based on the home’s construction and desired efficiency of the new system.

Net I=B=R Capacity (BTU) or DOE Heating Capacity (BTU)
Steam boilers are often sized based on their Net I=B=R capacity. This BTU amount factors in piping loss, combustion efficiency, and an extra pickup factor. DOE (Department of Energy) heating capacity also factors in combustion efficiency and is commonly used to size hot water boilers.

AFUE (%)
A boiler’s AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) percentage describes its efficiency. The higher the percentage, the less energy is wasted and the more efficient the model is.