The best way to determine the size of the heating unit needed for your home is to have a heat load calculation done by a qualified heating technician. This calculation looks at the size of the structure, insulation, doors and windows along with your climate area for outdoor design temperature. A heat loss is then calculated to determine what is required for the furnace and the heating elements to heat the structure. It is an exercise worth the time and effort to know that you have the sufficient sized equipment and radiation to do the required job next winter, without oversizing the unit and losing efficiency.
Please read through here if you have any questions and see if they are already answered!
What size furnace do I need for my home?
Can I buy a boiler direct from the factory?
No. As a manufacturer of equipment we sell our product only thru wholesale distribution who in turn will supply the dealer trade in your area with our products along with all the other items your dealer will need for your system. We support the professional tradesmen to know that your new piece of heating equipment is installed and operating correctly for maximum efficiency and safety concerns. With today's installation codes, in many area's a piece of equipment can only be installed by a licensed plumber or heating technician, which is good for the industry and safety of all concerned.
What size boiler/furnace do I need for my home?
The only way to determine what your actual requirement is to have a heat load done on your home by a qualified heating technician. This calculation looks at the size of the structure, insulation, doors and windows along with your climate area for outdoor design temperature. A heat loss is then calculated to determine what is required for the boiler and the heating elements to heat the structure. It is an exercise worth the time and effort to know that you have the sufficient sized equipment and radiation to do the required job next winter, with out over sizing the unit and loosing efficiency.
How do the costs for natural gas, oil electricity and propane compare?
Costs for different types of fuels vary tremendously throughout the US, and therefore so does the cost comparison. The formulas below can be used to compare equivalent energy costs (price per 1 million BTU's) among different fuels.
Electricity: (insert price per kilowatt)* x 293 = Cost per 1,000,000 BTU's
#2 Fuel oil: (insert price per gallon)* x 7.21 ÷ rated efficiency** = Cost per 1,000,000 BTU's
Natural Gas: (insert price per therm)* x 10.0 ÷ rated efficiency** = Cost per 1,000,000 BTU's
Propane: (insert price per gallon)* x 11.0 ÷ rated efficiency** = Cost per 1,000,000 BTU's
* Price per unit of energy can be determined by contacting your local provider.
** Rated efficiency can be found on the heating product literature (AFUE efficiency).
Who should I contact to work on my boiler?
It is always recommended that the installer of the boiler be contacted first. If the installer is unable to be contacted or is unable to provide service, a qualified local heating technician should be contacted. In the hands of an inexperienced person, heating equipment can be dangerous, never attempt a repair yourself.
Should I have a CO detector in my home?
It is strongly recommended that at all homes be equipped with have at least one carbon monoxide detector. It is as important to have your fuel burning equipment serviced annually to prevent the possibility of Carbon Monoxide.
What should I know about carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that accounts for more deaths annually in the U.S. than any other poison. All fuel-burning processes can produce CO. This is not a something isolated to any particular fuel.
To protect yourself, always have your boiler, furnace and any other heating or cooking appliance installed properly and periodically serviced by a qualified heating technician.
We recommended that you have at least one CO detector in your home, and preferably, one on each floor.
Do I need a chimney liner for my new boiler?
In most cases, a heating contractor will install a chimney liner if the chimney has an oversized or deteriorated terra cotta (clay) liner. He will always install a liner if there’s an unlined masonry chimney. Both the National Fuel Gas Code (NFPA 54) and the National Installation of Oil-Burning Equipment Code (NFPA 31) compel the heating contractor to install the chimney liner in these circumstances.
As boilers have increased in efficiency, the temperature of the flues gases has gotten lower. This is good because you waste less heat up the chimney. If the flue gases cool too much, however, they will condense, and that can create problems. Condensation contains impurities from the fuel, which makes the condensed flue gases acidic and able to corrode most metal components. Brick, non-glazed clay and mortar will absorb condensation and deteriorate. If it’s cold enough, condensate will also freeze between boiler cycles, and that will cause materials such as mortar to pit. You may have noticed a course or two of brick at the top of an old chimney that’s apparently missing its mortar. That’s condensate damage. Over time, prolonged exposure to condensation may cause the chimney to become weak and unstable.
A chimney liner is useful for correcting an over-sized chimney. The liner reduces the surface area of the chimney, lowering the amount of flue gas heat lost to the chimney. It may not make sense at first, but the reduced chimney diameter will often result in better draft for the boiler.
Can I convert my boiler from oil to gas or visa-versa?
The simple answer is no.
Boiler manufacturers design most boilers to accommodate the characteristics of the intended fuel. A boiler meant to burn natural gas (a vapor) uses burners that simply can’t burn No. 2 fuel oil (an atomized liquid). There are power gas burners available from third-party manufacturers that can replace oil burners, but we don’t sanction any of these as suitable replacements for our heating systems and we don’t recommend their use.
There are dirt streaks above baseboard heaters. What is causing this?
It’s mainly dust, and often carbon soot from fireplaces, water heaters, furnaces, standing pilot lights, candles, cigarette smoke, cooking byproducts, and even automobile exhaust. The natural convection that occurs through a radiator during the heating cycle moves all of these gases through your baseboard heaters, and they often show up as stains on the walls above.
Do I have to register my warranty?
We recommend you register your warranty so we have your information on file should we ever need to contact in regard to a technical issue.
Why is my new oil boiler noisier than my old one?
The boilers designed today are more efficient then your old oil fired boiler that you replaced. This major efficiency is not only due to the internal design of the equipment so you get the maximum heat transfer but also the oil burner design that is the reason for the higher pitched noise of today's equipment. This noise is due to the fact that the oil burner is running at 3450 RPM (revolutions per minute) compared to the old unit that was only at half that speed of 1725 RPM. This new higher efficient design oil burner is going twice as fast and breaking down the oil into smaller droplets along with mixing it better with the combustion air for a higher efficiency. Your old burner may have been around 50-62% efficient, when your dealer adjust your new burner for maximum efficiency it should run around 83-85% combustion efficiency which is going to save you real dollars in fuel cost.
My new steam boiler cycles very frequently, what could be wrong?
A new steam boiler could be short cycling due to a number of reasons. The first may be something as simple as having installed a room thermostat that has an adjustable heat anticipator setting with in it. This setting needs to be at 1.2 for the longest cycle setting as possible allowed by the thermostat. The best thermostat for this is the standard Honeywell T87F round design unit that has this internal setting on the unit. The new digital thermostats of today are timed and many do not offer the option to give you a set point to satisfy the system requirements. The other item that can cause short cycling and surging is making sure the internal sections of the boiler are clean. This is done the best way by having your installer skim the top of your boiler water off via a skim tapping that he installed on the system during installation. A new boiler and pipes when manufactured have oil on them - this oil will float to the top of the water and cause the water line to rise and lower with in the boiler, this is happening due to steam looking to escape thru it during the process. With this oil removed the system will make steam and the boiler should not short cycle or surge.
The last item is that the piping around the boiler on both the supply and return systems (Near Boiler Piping) making sure that this is correct in both size and design for the Btu/hr of the boiler. Incorrect pipe size with allow the steam not to escape out of the boiler and cause the system to also short cycle.
The water in my steam boiler is fluctuating. How do I prevent this?
We call a fluctuation in the water line of a steam boiler surging. A small amount of fluctuation is common, but if it gets to be more than that, it can lead to water hammer and inefficient operation of the heating system. Severe surging would be a waterline that moves more than one-inch, or when you can see water running down from the top of the sight glass.
Oil on the surface of the water can cause violent surging when the water boils. Skimming usually cures this, and we’ve detailed how to skim in the installation manual of our steam boilers. It’s the only true way to rid the water of oil. Adding chemicals and draining the boiler may help slightly, but this will not work to remove all the oil from the boiler. Oil on the water’s surface will simply stick to the sides of the boiler when you drain the boiler, and then reappear as a problem when you refill the boiler.
To avoid surging, pipe, clean, and maintain your steam boiler as detailed in the boiler’s installation manual. Proper piping, cleaning and maintenance will insure the best overall performance and efficient operation of your steam boiler.
Hot Water Boilers
How do I rid my hot water heating system of air?
By having your heating technician install an air elimination system external of the boiler to remove air form the water system; this is installed on the main supply pipe as the water leaves the boiler.
Where is this air coming from you may ask. First let's review; what is water?
Water is H2O 2 parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, as the oxygen is being driven out of the water it needs to be removed via this air elimination system. If you have air in the pipes upstairs bleeders or automatic air vents can be installed by your technician at the pipe that drops down from the heating element back to the basement. This is where the air will collect since the pump is working to pump it back down stairs and the laws of physics make it always want to bubble back up to the highest point in the system making it a hard to remove with out the proper access.
Do I need a low water cutoff on my water boiler?
In many cases, the boiler is at the lowest point in the system, which means that there is little likelihood that the boiler will run dry. If radiators are below the top of the boiler, you’ll need a low-water cutoff. An example of this would be baseboard radiators near the basement floor, or in-floor radiant heating in the basement. Some states (New York and New Jersey, for example), and some local jurisdictions mandate their use, regardless of radiator location.
What is the normal operating temperature for a hot water heating system?
It depends on the type of hot-water heating system you’re working with. For instance, you’d normally set a hot-water baseboard heating system for a high temperature of 180° F. A radiant-floor heating system, on the other hand, can vary widely, with a supply temperature from 90°F to 130°F, depending on what type of construction and material is covering it (carpeting, hardwood flooring, and ceramic tile). The radiant designer takes all of this into consideration.
What would cause a popping or sizzling noise in my boiler?
Sediment accumulating in the bottom of the boiler sections, which is typically the lowest point in the hydronic heating system, can create a hot spot. The sediment acts as insulation and that leads to the hot spot. The sediment comes from poor feed water. Filter it, if necessary, and correct its pH level so that it’s in the range of 7 to 8.5.
The popping sound you may hear comes from water, trapped near the insulating sediment that turns suddenly into steam and escapes into the cooler, surrounding water, where it cools rapidly. The surrounding water rushes in to fill the void left by the condensing steam bubble and that’s what gives you the popping sound. A heating service technician can usually flush the heating system to get rid of the sediment. If necessary, he or she will use a boiler cleaner.
Can I use anti-freeze in my hot water heating system?
Yes. If the heat exchanger is made of cast iron, use an antifreeze designed for hydronic heating systems, such as propylene glycol (which is non-toxic), or ethylene glycol. Always follow the antifreeze manufacturer's recommendations when mixing a solution of up to 55%. Never use automotive antifreeze or any petroleum-based antifreeze in a hydronic heating system.
For aluminum heat exchangers, use only Intercool NFP-50 coolant. (Please contact customer service at 1-800-422-2436.) Some brands have corrosion inhibitors that break down more rapidly, or become ineffective at higher operating temperatures when they’re in an aluminum heat exchanger. Follow the antifreeze manufacturer's instructions to determine the proper ratio of antifreeze to water for the expected low temperature conditions, and for maintaining the quality of the antifreeze solution from year to year. Again, never use automotive anti-freeze or any petroleum-based antifreeze in a hydronic heating system. This type of antifreeze can damage hydronic heating system components.