Boilers are unsung heating heroes

Boilers are unsung heating heroes

The boiler is one of the most reliable forms of heating a home in New York.

The basic boiler is built for cold weather, and it’s getting even better.

Today’s boilers score as high as 98.5 percent on the annual fuel utilization chart, meaning you waste very little fuel. It’s a huge improvement over boiler efficiency of 66.5 percent, which wasn’t so long ago.

Let Consumer Reports do the math:

“New boilers must have an AFUE rating of at last 80 percent, and high-efficiency models are 90 to 98.5 percent efficient. The higher the rating, the higher the equipment cost, but the lower the operating cost.

“For example, say your current boiler’s AFUE score is 65 percent and you pay $1,300 a year for fuel bills. If you install a high-efficiency natural gas system with an AFUE of 90 percent, your total yearly savings should be about $364,” the magazine noted.

Since boilers last 15 to 30 years you will recoup the cost of installing a new model – and you will be helping the environment by being so energy efficient.

Boiler basics

Boilers, also known as central heat, are usually fueled by natural gas or heating oil in New York, but they also can handle electricity, propane and even biodiesel.

Boilers heat water and then use a series of pipes to transport hot steam to radiators or to transport hot water to radiators and radiant heating systems.

There are several types of boilers, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

Hydronic Boiler

The hydronic system uses circulating water. Its very effective gas boilers heat water and pipe it to radiators throughout the home. After the water is used it is reheated and circulated again.

In blizzards New Yorkers especially appreciate the hydronic heating system because it can be adapted to melt snow on driveways and sidewalks.

Steam Boiler

Steam produced by a boiler can be used for space heating, drying, humidification, power generation and other purposes, such as sterilizing medical equipment. Steam boilers are commonly used by industries as well as homes.

Combi Boiler

“Combi” is shorthand for the combination of a high efficiency water heater and a central heating boiler in one unit.

Because it heats water directly from the mains, you don’t need a tank or cylinder to store water. This space saving is often a big reason to buy a combi.

High-efficiency Boiler

Thanks to modern technology, manufacturers now can make boilers that deliver AFUA of 90 percent or more.

The downside: They cost more than boilers that have AFUA scores of 80 to 85 percent. On the plus side: They cut fuel use and help the environment.

These are decisions you must make on the basis of your budget and your needs.


Whatever the form, a boiler needs periodic maintenance to stay at peak efficiency.

This includes cleaning and inspecting the burners, testing and adjusting valves, checking the safety, and making sure flue gasses are properly ventilated.

Our technicians are experienced in installing, maintaining and repairing boilers. We serve Long island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.