Are you looking for the most energy efficient way to heat your home? Forced-air furnace systems are a popular option, but residential gas water boilers will provide you with better indoor air quality, more comfortable heat, and greater energy efficiency.
U.S. Boiler Company is the leading North American manufacturer of home heating equipment. We have introduced more new, high efficiency products over the last few years than any other company in the history of hydronic heating.
We offer a broad selection of ENERGY STAR®-certified gas-fired residential boilers, high efficiency oil-fired boilers, condensing boilers, three-pass, oil-fired steam boilers, hot water heaters, and radiators.
Forced Air Furnace or Hydronic Heating
Furnaces produce heat through the combustion of natural gas or heating oil in the furnace’s burner. The air is pushed via a blower across heated coils where it is then delivered to rooms in the home through the home’s ductwork system. The combustion gases created by burning the fuel are vented through the chimney or, with high-efficiency furnaces, through a wall.
Hydronic heating systems, also called boilers, use water to transport heat from where it’s produced to wherever you need it, by pumping it through a network of pipes to baseboards, radiators and radiant flooring systems. Most boilers run on natural or liquid propane gas, or home heating oil.
Here are the main differences between forced-air and hydronic heating systems:
- Air Quality – Forced-air furnaces blow air around, causing dirt particles to be deposited on walls, furnishings, curtains and drapes. To keep the air reasonably clean, you’ll have to use filters, which will need to be cleaned and changed. Hydronic systems heat water which radiates heat outward, keeping the air (and your home) cleaner.
- Humidity – Forced-air heat is quite dry because any moisture in it is removed during the heating process. Boilers are able to maintain more comfortable humidity levels in dry winter months.
- Temperature Control – Boilers typically provide better temperature control because the design of the system allows better control than forced air systems. Separate floors or even individual rooms can have their own temperature control settings. Homes with furnaces typically experience spaces within rooms, which are colder or hotter than others. In addition, heat remains within a hydronic heating system after the boiler is done cycling. Rooms in homes with forced-air systems begin to lose heat as soon as the system shuts off.
Finally, one of the most recognized methods of determining efficiency is the AFUE rating of the heating product. Gas hydronic heating systems usually have an AFUE rating of 82% or better. The Burnham ES2™ cast iron gas-fired boiler achieves an 85% AFUE rating. Our super-efficient condensing gas boilers, such as the Alpine™ and ALTA boilers, offer AFUE ratings of 93-95%.
As you can see, the most energy efficient systems are our residential gas-fired condensing boilers. Keep in mind that many old boilers and furnaces have AFUE ratings of less than 60%, so upgrading to a new system could lead to a sizeable drop in your monthly energy bills.