Residential Boiler Guide: What to Consider Before Buying – Part 3 of 4

chimney and boiler flue
If you have an older boiler in your home, you should really consider installing a modern boiler system. You will find these newer models to be smaller and far more efficient than their older counterparts. In fact, some modern boiler systems can be up to 95 percent more efficient than older models, delivering more heat and hot water at a much lower price.

Modern home boilers come with combined hot water heating systems – which eliminates the need for a separate hot water tank. Driven by computerized electronic modules that provide continual modulation, these dual systems use less fuel to provide heat and hot water to your home. In addition to saving you money on installation and maintenance, modern boilers have pilot-less ignition. Not only will the wind not extinguish the pilot light, pilot-less systems eliminate the risk of explosion.

Have you decided that upgrading to a modern boiler system makes sense for you? Get ready – you’re about to be inundated with hundreds of options! Narrowing down which boiler system is right for you is a matter of determining your needs and finding the model that is the closest fit.

In a nutshell, the most important things to consider are size, efficiency, and venting style.


The size that will work best for your needs has everything to do with your climate. The formula for determining the size you need is as follows: figure 50 BTU per square foot for a cold climate, 35 BTU for moderate, and 20 BTU for a warm climate. Interestingly, a boiler that is too large for your situation will create just as many issues as one that is too small. While a boiler that is too small won’t heat your space adequately, one that is too large will just waste energy.


EnergyStar ratings make determining this characteristic of your boiler easy. Just look for an oil boiler with at least an 80% rating, or a gas boiler that runs at an 89% to 98% efficiency. Boilers that run on electricity normally run 100% efficient because they produce no waste.

Venting Styles

If your boiler will be located in a smaller, closed-in area, it can be vented directly through the chimney. It will need to be located in an open area that allows it to gather air if the boiler you select is vented by forcing air through a venting system.

Many modern boiler systems feature an outdoor temperature reset that automatically calibrates air and water temperature as the outside temperature rises and falls, keeping your residence comfortable all year round and using only the amount of energy needed. So think about upgrading to a modern boiler system as an investment versus an expense– chances are you’ll receive dividends in energy savings and comfort right away!