Upgrade to a Higher-Efficiency Boiler
If you live in an older or historic home, you are likely familiar with the classic look of an old boiler. About nine million homes across the United States use a boiler to heat their homes. Boilers traditionally live in the basement or crawlspace and require heating oil, natural gas, or electricity to heat the water in the boiler. The heated water or steam then heats the home through radiators or a radiant floor system. Boilers are different from a furnace as a furnace heats the air and distributes this through ductwork.
The technology of modern boilers has come a long way in efficiency in recent years, so as your boiler ages, you may be thinking about a not-so-distant future where you are scheduling a boiler replacement for your home.
Comparing Boiler Efficiency: Then & Now
The efficiency of a boiler is measured by what is called an AFUE rating. AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency, which measures how much fuel your boiler can convert into heat over the course of a year. So if a boiler has a 100% AFUE rating, that means that there was no fuel wasted in the process of creating heat through combustion.
According to Energy.gov, older lower efficiency boilers had an AFUE rating of between 57% and 70%. The current minimum standards for boilers are set at 82% AFUE for gas-fired boiler equipment, and to be ENERGY STAR certified, a gas boiler needs to meet a minimum standard of 90%. However, the best, energy-efficient boiler systems these days can reach up into the 98.5% range!
The Benefits of Upgrading to a High-Efficiency Boiler
So are high-efficiency boilers worth it? It will depend on the state of your current boiler, but there are savings to be had by upgrading your heating system. For example, if your existing boiler has an AFUE rating of 70% and you pay about $1500 a year in your fuel heating bills when you upgrade to a boiler with an AFUE rating of 90%, you may expect to save about 20% on your heating costs for the year or about $300.
When you combine fluctuating gas prices with the standard 15-30 year life expectancy of a high-efficiency boiler, the savings add up. Depending on your annual heating costs, the cost of the boiler and installation, which can range from $2,708 to $7,794 with most homeowners spending about $5,174, can be offset by the savings you see on your heating bill each year.
Plus, by using less fuel, your new boiler is reducing your carbon footprint for years to come! Upgrading an oil boiler from 57% to 90% AFUE saves 2.5 tons of carbon emissions each year. Not only is the carbon footprint reduced, but the physical footprint of a high-efficiency boiler vs. standard boilers has also gotten much smaller, which can also make replacing your outdated boiler that much easier. By taking up less square footage, a new boiler will be easier to maintain over its lifespan.
PACE Eligible Units
If you are a homeowner looking at improving the energy efficiency of your boiler system, you now have access to upfront financing for your home heating upgrades! Upfront high-efficiency boiler prices can intimidate homeowners out of replacing their outdated boiler heating systems, forcing them to continue paying repair costs year after year and missing out on the potential savings of an energy-efficient replacement. Fortunately, boilers that meet specified AFUE requirements (along with many other home improvement projects) qualify for the 100% upfront financing of PACE.
Boilers that meet the following AFUE standards may be eligible for PACE financing from Renew:
- Gas: AFUE greater than 82%
- Oil: AFUE greater than 84%
- Steam: AFUE greater than 80%
*May not be eligible in all regions/areas
How PACE Financing Works
With PACE financing, 100% of the cost and installation of a higher-efficiency gas boiler, steam boiler, or oil boiler is covered with no money down. This means you can start saving on your heating costs and your carbon footprint as soon as possible, with a fixed, low-interest rate that is paid back over time as part of your property taxes.