You’ve heard about boilers’ radiant heat, and maybe you’ve even felt it for yourself. You know how cozy boilers can make a house feel, but do you want to spend that kind of money?
There are two main types of central heating: furnaces and boilers. For decades, Americans have largely used furnaces. They’re cheaper to buy, and many builders are looking to save where they can. However, boilers might be able to save you big bucks in the long haul.
Both furnaces and boilers come with various efficiency ratings and price points, but boilers are overall costlier to buy. Is a high-efficiency model really worth it?
The answer is yes — at least for some people. Since high-efficiency boilers are more expensive upfront, only consider buying one if you plan to be in your home for several years. Otherwise, you may never recoup your investment.
Also consider what type of fuel is available (which is dictated by your local fuel supplier). Oil and gas are different prices. The Department of Energy/Energy Star government website has calculators available so you can compare estimated costs for powering different appliances.
Fresh Start or Remodel?
If you’re in the fortunate position to be building a home from scratch, now is the time to make the decision between boiler and furnace ― it’s much easier to go with a boiler and radiant heat now, rather than save money on a furnace and plan to switch to a boiler later.
Boilers are especially tricky to install, since they require piping to be perfectly situated under floors and sometimes in walls.
Furnaces, of course, rely on a vent and duct system. Both systems require a lot of planning and labor upfront, and it’s a decision you want to make only once.
If you’re remodeling a home, it’s often easier to stick with whatever heating source was originally installed. Don’t let the sticker price of a high-efficiency boiler scare you off, though. Do your research. Calculate how much heating energy you use and how much the monthly bills will be with a furnace versus a boiler, and let these factors drive your decision.
It’s not unusual for a good boiler to cost thousands more than a furnace. However, you can save a little immediately by choosing a model that has an Energy Star/Green Star rating. Check with your CPA to see about green appliance tax credits, deductions and write-offs.
If you’re on the fence and driving yourself crazy with calculations, ask yourself a few key questions like:
- Do you live in a region that’s especially cold for several weeks or months out of the year?
- Are you always cold when nobody else is?
- Are you pretty sure you’ll be in this home for many years?
Ultimately, only you can decide. Rely on local experts for help and recommendations, and give Roberts Mechanical a call for a free consultation about boilers and furnaces.