Efficiency is the word of the day. Today, it’s all about cars and lights bulbs. Last month, though, it was residential boilers and furnaces. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) increased standards for furnaces and boilers in a final rule sent to the Federal Register on November 19. The new standards will apply to:
- Gas-fired boilers
- Oil-fired boilers
- Non-weatherized and weatherized gas furnaces
- Oil-fired furnaces
- Gas furnaces for mobile homes
Though the standards won’t be effective until 2015, the DOE plans to improve efficiency for 18 appliances over the next five years.
Gas-fired boilers and furnaces can be retrofitted with upgrades such as adding vent dampers that prevent chimney loss, installing intermittent ignition devices that save fuel costs, and reducing the size of the gas burner orifice. However, most of these retrofits involve complex installation that should only be performed by professionals. Replacing an older furnace with a new model may sometimes be the smarter choice to avoid future repairs. CalFinder’s certified heating contractors give free estimates for installing these expensive, hidden systems that will provide long-lasting comfort in your home when set up correctly.
Considerations between retrofitting and replacement should also be taken when upgrading oil-fired boilers and furnaces. These furnaces can now be heated with oil blended with biodiesel.
When it comes to furnaces, remember that they should be sized to the heat loss of a home. A furnace that runs constantly in cold weather is more efficient that an oversized furnace that only needs to run for 10 minutes.