Gas and oil boilers provide warm, even heat throughout your
home by circulating steam or heated water through a system
of pipes and baseboard or radiator-type heat exchangers.
Boilers provide warm, even comfort without drafts because
it's not a forced air system. Instead, warmth "radiates"
throughout your home without causing much of the dryness associated
with heat from a forced-air system (furnace or heat pump).
A boiler's efficiency rating, or AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization
Efficiency) tells you how efficiently the boiler uses fuel
(gas or oil). The government-mandated minimum efficiency for
boilers is 78% AFUE. Higher efficiency boilers are rated as
high as 90% AFUE.
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How They Work
The heat is created by burning gas or oil inside your furnace.
Hot gases that are created pass through curved metal tubing
called a heat exchanger and then out of your home through
a metal or plastic vent pipe. At the same time, the air that
circulates through your home passes over the outside of the
heat exchanger and takes on the heat from the hot metal. The
warm air is then circulated through your home.
Purchasing a brand name that has a reputation for quality
and reliability can save you headaches and extra expense down
Some mid- and high-efficiency furnaces offer additional features
that provide greater comfort, as well as additional energy
Two-speed furnaces can run on low speed up to 90% of the time,
so they operate more quietly and run for longer periods of
time than single-speed furnaces. Longer operating periods
translate into fewer on/off cycles, fewer drafts and much
smaller temperature swings -- only one or two degrees instead
of the four-degree swings common with single-speed furnaces.
Plus, better air circulation helps prevent air "stratification"
— warm air rising to the ceiling and cold air settling
on the floor. In short, you get consistent, even heat throughout
Variable-capacity furnaces provide the ultimate combination
of comfort, efficiency and quiet performance. In addition
to the benefits of two-speed furnaces, they offer "smart"
motors than can monitor your home’s comfort needs and
automatically adjust the volume and speed of air to provide
the most efficient heating or cooling. They operate so efficiently
that they can actually increase the efficiency rating of your
central air conditioning system and offer you added energy
savings when you use continuous fan operation in any season.
A furnace’s efficiency rating, or AFUE (Annual Fuel
Utilization Efficiency), tells you how efficiently the furnace
uses fuel (gas or oil). In general, higher efficiency furnaces
mean lower monthly operating costs for heating.
Higher efficiency furnaces offering AFUE ratings
of 80%, 90%, or up to 96% are also available to help reduce
monthly heating costs.
Usually, the higher the efficiency, the more expensive the
inital cost of the furnace. If you live in a cold climate,
you will probably see the higher cost of a high-efficiency
furnace paid back through lower utility bills in a few short
years. Pro-Air can use heating data from your area to help
you determine about how long it would take you to recover
the additional cost in energy savings. Of course, after the
payback, you continue to save on your energy bills for the
life of the system.