It’s Getting Hot In Here: A Short but Complete Guide to Oil Boilers

It's Getting Hot In Here: A Short but Complete Guide to Oil Boilers

When setting up any kind of heating system, most homeowners want to know the details about cost and efficiency, which work hand in hand. If you want to get more out of your heating system, oil boilers give you some of the most efficient systems for keeping your home warm. As an alternative to gas heating, they’re one of the best options for homes out in the country.

Here is a complete guide to everything you need to know about oil boilers and how they offer efficient heat.

They Usually Produce Hot Water or Steam

A boiler is a valuable way to produce heat in your home. You can use it to produce either steam or hot water. You’ll need to pick which is most important for your home before you start moving forward with picking which one is best for you.

If you don’t know which type of boiler is ideal, then you should have a pro come by and look at your setup. Deciding between a steam or hot water boiler is foundational to the type of oil boiler that you install.

Your radiators are going to be one of the major factors in determining what your set up is. Radiators are set up for a steam bases system that’s going to have an air vent. The vent allows the air to escape and for steam to fill the radiator up.

Look at how many pipes are connected to your radiator. When systems have just one connection to the radiator, those are usually steam-based systems. When there are more pipes, it could be either steam or hot water.

If you’ve got radiant floor heat, you probably have a hot water system.

Steam filled boilers give you access to look at how they’re doing via a “sight glass”. These glass tubes are mounted on the side of the boiler and help show how much water is currently in the boiler.

They Can Use Different Fuels

When you’re looking for a boiler, there will be a variety of different types that use a variety of different fuels. You could choose natural gas, liquid propane, or an electric one. We’re going to be talking mostly about oil boilers, but it’s important that you know the difference when you’re working on finding one.

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In areas where natural gas is harder to find, there is a higher likelihood that you’re going to find an oil boiler. While some regions will have access to wood, coal, or biomass, fuel boilers offer a reliable option for a boiler that provides steady heat through cold months.

Oil boilers can save money when fuel is available. IT’s often much cheaper and can burn more efficiently than other types of fuel. An oil boiler supplies a steady stream of heat that can help you to stay comfortable throughout the year, with more reliability than other types.

If you want to know more about how they’re fueled, check out what Oil4Wales has to say.

Venting Matters

One of the most important elements of any boiler system is in how the air is vented. While you burn fuel, you need to ensure that there is adequate venting to get rid of combustion gasses. You could have powered venting, where the exhaust is drawn out, chimney venting where it naturally escapes, or direct venting for sealed combustion.

When you’re trying to choose the right option for your existing boiler, you need to consider how your home is built and the efficiency you’re looking for.

Chimney boilers are vented and they reject gasses through a verticle channel. You need to have a specific kind of size or height when it comes to constructing your chimney so that you ensure proper ventilation.

When a home doesn’t have a chimney already installed, it’s costly and even quite disruptive to install one. The better way to ventilate in these cases is through power venting. When you use a power-vented boiler, you can use a built-in blower to pull air in and push out gasses.

Sealed combustion is the solution that modern homes are using. When there’s no way for exhausted air to be replaced, the boiler won’t operate, so the system needs to be adequately set up.

Efficiency Varies

Boilers are well known to have a high degree of efficiency. However, within that range of efficiency, you could get a boiler that has an 80% efficiency or one that goes as high as 96%. This means that the more you spend on an efficient boiler, the less you’ll spend on wasted fuel.

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While 80% efficiency is pretty standard, it’s important for you to use a more efficient boiler if you want to get the most out of your fuel.

High-efficiency boilers use higher quality materials, often with stainless steel or aluminum heat exchangers. This gives more efficiency and longevity overall. Most of the highest efficiency boilers are going to be direct-vented but some are going to be power vented.

Condensing Maximizes Heat

When you’re setting up a high-efficiency boiler, it’s going to be using a process called condensing to maximize the heat that you can get. The chemistry of combustion and the energy released as vapor turns to water is taken advantage of so that no energy is wasted.

These boilers are 10% more efficient than the ones that don’t use this system.

Condensing boilers are great for high-temperature systems and bring a level of efficiency that saves time and money. If you’re looking for an oil boiler system that performs radiant floor heating, you’ll find that you can get better heat with lower temperature water.

Oil Boilers Offer High-Quality Heat

When you’re looking to make sure your home is warm throughout the coldest of months, oil boilers are a fantastic option. They ensure that you get high-efficiency heat that’s easy to produce and inexpensive to fuel.

If you want to lower your carbon footprint, even more, check out our guide to solar panels.

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