Boiler Maintenance & Repair in St Louis
They don't make 'em like they used to, and the modern home - or business owner can be thankful for that. Oh, the basic functioning is still the same. A boiler furnace heats water to deliver heat throughout the home, transported either via water or converted steam. Steam travels through a system of pipes to a radiator, where the heat is released into the home, while the steam is condensed back into liquid to travel back to the boiler for more heat. A water-based boiler system distributes heat by channeling heated water through coils, a radiated floor system, or through baseboard radiators in the home.
Many older boiler systems had fuel efficiencies somewhere in the neighborhood of 56% to 70%, leaving a little something to be desired in the form of fuel economy. Nowadays, new boiler systems operate with as high as 98.5% fuel efficiency, converting nearly all fuel consumed into comfortable heat for the home. Steam boilers operate at higher temperatures than hot water boilers, which tends to make them less energy-efficient, BUT the good news is that high efficiency versions of both types of boilers are currently available on the market.
RETROFIT OR REPLACE?
With boiler prices being what they are, if you have an older boiler system that is otherwise sound, it may be possible to have it retrofitted, or modified, to improve its safety and increase its efficiency. However, please note that retrofits are fuel-specific upgrades that must be compliant with your system. If your system is very old and replacement is eminent within the next several years, it may be prudent to weigh the cost of a new heating system against the expense of retrofitting your existing one. If your current boiler is oversized, or just worn out and inefficient, then a modern high efficiency model is the best option. If your system was born a coal burner that was later converted to gas or oil, it's time for replacement. If you have a newer, more efficient system, it may still be over-sized for your home or business. There are modifications that can reduce its operating capacity to the proper degree.
Before choosing to modify or replace your heating system, the first step should be to improve the energy efficiency of the home as much as possible. These improvements will save money on the cost of your new system, as a smaller unit will now be able to heat your home or business sufficiently.
When it's time to replace, have a heating professional properly size your boiler system to your home or building. A properly sized unit will operate at maximum efficiency. Look for the Energy Star label on products you're considering.
When preparing for a new heating installation, shop for a sealed combustion boiler. A sealed-combustion unit will draw outside air directly into the burner and will dispense combustion gases directly outside the home. A sealed combustion unit will eliminate the risk of dangerous combustion gases such as carbon monoxide entering your home. However, it's important to note that high-efficiency and sealed-combustion units produce an acidic exhaust that is not suitable for older or unlined chimneys. Exhaust should be vented through a new flue system or the existing chimney should be fitted to accommodate this type of exhaust.
New boilers are designed with more efficient control than ever before. In the old days, there were two options: on or off. New models have evolved into highly sophisticated and efficient units with burners that can turn down to a fraction of what was previously possible. Modulating control allows the unit to run at a lower or higher rate, depending on load demand. This ability greatly increases efficiency while decreasing the cost of fuel and maintenance.
Energy costs are, without doubt, a priority issue for commercial building owners and managers. One major factor with boilers is the power required for pumping. On a large commercial unit, these costs can pile up quickly. A well-coordinated variable-speed system with integrated controls can, over time, reduce electrical costs significantly.
No two systems are alike. It is extremely important that a boiler system is ignited, maintained, and operated by properly trained and qualified personnel. An annual inspection and cleaning done to the manufacturer's specifications is highly recommended to keep the system running at peak efficiency.
For more information on maximizing the efficiency of your current boiler system, or if you are considering an up-to-date model, please contact our team of heating professionals who will be happy to assist you! Please call 314-849-7900, or contact us.