Choosing a new boiler for your home is an important decision. Making a wise choice can help you cut your home’s heating bill substantially. But, what is the difference between a condensing and a non-condensing gas boiler? Which boiler is most efficient? And which one is right for your home?
U.S. Boiler Company is a leading manufacturer of home heating equipment, water boilers, steam boilers, domestic hot water heaters, and radiators. Included in our extensive selection of heating products are high efficiency gas-fired residential boilers, including the only American-made atmospheric gas boiler, the ES2™, with 85% AFUE, and high efficiency oil-fired boilers.
Traditional vs. Condensing Gas Boilers
Traditional gas boilers burn natural gas or propane to heat the water in a home heating system. These boilers are vented to the outside via a chimney flue or vent pipe. Traditional boilers typically operate at higher temperatures, which means that a portion of heat is vented to the outside during the combustion process. Depending upon its age and type, a traditional non-condensing boiler will typically be 80% to 85% efficient.
Condensing boilers, are extremely energy efficient because they are able to provide ample heat for a home heating system while operating at lower temperatures. The result of operating at these temperatures is that condensation happens within the venting system of these boilers. Condensation can be harmful to the heat exchangers of traditional boilers, but the heat exchangers of condensing boilers are designed to operate in this manner and are not harmed by the condensation process. Lower operating temperatures result in less energy consumption and keep more heat in the heating system. Good condensing boilers can attain energy efficiency of 90% or more.
Boiler Efficiency Ratings
A boiler’s efficiency is measured by annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). This is the ratio of the boiler’s annual heat output compared to the total annual fossil fuel energy it consumes. An AFUE of 90% means that 90% of the fuel energy becomes heat for your home and the other 10% escapes either up the chimney or out through the boiler into the space where the boiler is located. The higher the rating, the greater your savings will be.
A recognized symbol of efficiency is the ENERGY STAR® label. For a boiler to qualify for ENERGY STAR®, the product must meet or exceed the EPA’s minimum efficiency ratings. For gas boilers, both the Burnham Alpine™ and K2™ boilers are ENERGY STAR® certified, and our Alpine™ boiler, at 95% AFUE, is the highest efficiency product we manufacture. For oil boilers, the MPO-IQ is ENERGY STAR® certified at 87% AFUE
Upgrading an 80% efficient boiler to our 95% efficient Alpine™ boiler or 94-95% efficient K2™ boiler can provide about a 15-20% savings in energy costs. This can equal one or more months of heating fuel costs for every year of the boiler’s operation.
U.S. Boiler Company has introduced more new, high efficiency products over the last several years than any other company in the history of hydronic heating. If you need more information about what a condensing gas boiler is or about energy efficiency and cost savings, browse our site for a professional heating contractor in your area who can help you decide what equipment is best suited for your home heating.