New heating equipment is much more energy efficient than older systems. However, you might not be in a financial position to purchase and install a new system just yet. If so, and you’ve got aging gas-fired heating equipment that isn’t keeping you as warm and comfortable as you might like, or isn’t working as efficiently as it should, check out the following tips that you and your licensed HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) contractor can do to improve its energy efficiency.
If you’ve got a gas-fired boiler, consider installing the following retrofits to make it more efficient:
- Vent dampers: Install these devices to close off the vent when the boiler isn’t firing actively. They prevent heat from escaping up the chimney, and work best with steam boilers and large systems.
- Adjustable aquastats: An aquastat controls the temperature of the water in the boiler. An adjustable unit makes it easy to lower the temperature from the typical 180 degrees to cooler levels, which helps you save energy when your heating needs aren’t as intense, especially in the fall and spring. The modulating aquastats sense the temperature outdoors and adjust the heat accordingly.
- Time-delay relay: This timer shuts off the boiler and allows the heated water to circulate throughout your home. The boiler turns on at a prescribed time. This helps you get the most heat from your system.
Older homes typically aren’t as airtight as newer homes, thanks to improvements in construction practices. Additionally, older homes typically have larger furnaces and boilers than are really necessary. Have you made improvements to your older home, to improve its energy efficiency, such as by upgrading windows, adding insulation and sealing air leaks? By working with an HVAC contractor, you also can make improvements to your gas furnace or boiler to improve your home’s energy efficiency, including:
- Changing a continuously burning pilot light to an electronic ignition device. A pilot light that burns round the clock uses more gas. Electronic ignition saves energy by igniting the gas only when the furnace needs to run.
- Derating the burners. This process makes the orifice to the burner smaller, which is way to size down your system capacity if you’ve made extensive improvements to your home’s energy efficiency.
If you’d like to learn more about making your furnace or boiler more efficient, contact Smoky Mountain Heating & Air. We provide residential and light commercial HVAC services for Asheville and the surrounding areas.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Asheville, North Carolina and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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