To keep warm and cozy in winter, do you choose a furnace, heat pump or boiler? At Aspen Creek Heating and Air, serving north Denver, we want you to have an efficient system, one that offers energy savings and provides the right amount of warmth for the size of your home. So, let’s have a closer look and see what a furnace, heat pump or boiler will do for your space.
With a furnace system, heat is generated via coils. A motorized blower forces air out, circulating it around past the coils and out through the ducts, providing you warmth. With electric furnaces, you will find that they are smaller but often less efficient than other types of furnaces. On the other hand, gas furnaces require the use of natural gas and regular maintenance to ensure that no gas or carbon monoxide is leaking into your home.
It is also important to have the furnace system adequately sized to the house, as a furnace with too big of a capacity will use extra power, and an undersized furnace will not efficiently heat the home to its potential. Homeowners can also add options such as humidifiers and/or air purifiers.
Furnaces can use a few sources, such as propane, natural gas or electricity. More expensive initially, environmentally friendly options include oil, geothermal furnaces, and solar-powered.
Be sure to check out the energy efficiency ratings when looking to purchase a system. For example, a furnace with an AFUE (energy efficiency) of 60 converts 60% of the fuel consumed to heat and loses 40% in the combustion process. Aspen Creek Heating and Air can help with those options and make your furnace buying decisions easier.
A boiler does what it sounds like. It heats water until it is hot, plain and simple. The hot water then flows through pipes to the various radiators or baseboard heaters within your home, which will produce the heat that will warm the room. A boiler will provide heat to your entire home. They can be on the pricey side, but your heat costs will often be much lower, which may even out the expense of a system.
When choosing a furnace, heat pump or boiler, remember that boilers will need some type of fuel to keep them running efficiently. The most common being oil and natural gas. If your boiler is outdated or running inefficiently, fuel costs can add up. The amount of space a boiler will need is significant. You will also need to keep an eye on your energy and fuel bill when running your heat this way. Using a boiler with an electronic ignition could help you save energy costs when purchasing a boiler.
Comparing Furnaces and Boilers
When comparing options, observe the AFUE ratings, as well as some of the equipment features. Below you will see the difference between low-efficiency and high-efficiency features when comparison shopping for furnaces and boilers.
- Low efficiency: With low-efficiency systems, there is a natural draft that creates a flow of combustion gases, a continuous pilot light, heavy heat exchanger, and a 56-70% AFUE rating.
- Medium efficiency: With a medium-efficiency system, the exhaust fan controls the flow of combustion air and combustion gases more precisely. There will be an electronic ignition instead of a pilot light. It’s also compact in size and lightweight in order to reduce cycling losses and offers a small diameter flue pipe. You should see an 80-83% AFUE rating.
- High efficiency: With high-efficiency systems, flue gases condense in a second heat exchanger for extra efficiency. It has sealed combustion and a 90-98.5% AFUE rating.
Heat pumps will either increase or lower temperatures within a room in your home. They use electricity to move warm air from space to space, wherever it’s needed. It can help with keeping your most used rooms warmer in the winter and cool them down in the summer.
However, heat pumps do not generate heat themselves. You would typically need to live in a warmer climate and our cold Colorado winters may be a bit too extreme for a heat pump. The colder the air outside of the home, the harder the heat pump has to work. If your primary heat source is wood burning stove or fireplace a heat pump could be a possibility, but you’ll need an expert to make the best determination.
So, if you’re interested in a heat pump to improve your energy efficiency within the home, talk to our experts before replacing the existing furnace and/or air conditioner you currently have.
Upkeep and repairs for a furnace, heat pump or boiler should always be done by a professional such as Aspen Creek Heating and Air. Here are some general guidelines that will need to be performed at least twice a year, more if utilized a lot.
- Check the condition of your vent connection pipes and chimney. Parts can deteriorate over time.
- Chimney problems can be expensive to repair and may help justify installing new heating equipment that won’t use the existing chimney.
- Check the heat exchanger. Leaky boiler heat exchangers leak water but are easy to see.
- Furnace heat exchangers mix combustion gases with house air when they leak, for safety reasons, it is imperative to have them inspected.
- Adjusting the controls on the boiler or furnace. This will provide the best water and air temperature settings for both efficiency and comfort within the home.
- Replacing or retrofitting your existing heating system. Have the technician perform a combustion-efficiency test
- Maintain proper ventilation for a furnace, heat pump or boiler
- Some fan-assisted, non-condensing furnaces and boilers, installed between 1987 and 1993, may be vented horizontally through the high-temperature plastic vent pipe, this has since been recalled and will need to be replaced with a steel vented pipe.
So, you have weighed some of the options, and now you want to decide on a furnace, heat pump or boiler. Well, all have their pros and cons, and will depend on your situation and space available within the home. Aspen Creek Heating and Air are the HVAC specialists, and we want to ensure you make the correct decision when it comes to heating your home. Give us a call today for an estimate and some great advice.