As we make the transition from summer to fall, it’s important for HVAC contractors to ask themselves—am I prepared to meet increasing consumer demand for energy-efficient heating?
In a marketplace that rewards companies that deliver products that are energy-efficient and cost-conscious, contractors should be up to speed on the latest offerings their customers may ask about—one of which being condensing boilers, an efficient alternative to traditional boilers that offer home heating and hot water.
So, what are condensing boilers and what benefits do they offer installers and consumers? Let’s find out.
What’s a Condensing Boiler?
A condensing boiler is a more efficient alternative to a traditional boiler and uses fuel to generate heat and hot water. In a non-condensing boiler, gases produced by burning fuel are released through a flue and, in turn, their heating potential is lost. A condensing boiler converts previously lost energy in the form of water vapor condensation into heat, recycling waste gas and delivering heating and hot water with high efficiency and low operating costs.
The condensing process allows these boilers to operate at up to 95% energy efficiency. By comparison, traditional boilers typically reach only 80-85% efficiency. They also consume 13% less fuel than a traditional boiler system. Plus, condensing boilers typically take up a smaller footprint than their traditional counterparts, offer increased control via digital dials and come with attractive installation rebates for homeowners and installers.
Between 2015-2020, Bosch Home Comfort’s own market research reports an average yearly growth rate in condensing boiler installation of about 6.8%, due to several financial incentives.
As upgrades become necessary in homes and businesses, many are opting for a condensing boiler to replace their traditional boiler and reaping the benefits. While condensing boilers can pose higher costs than traditional boilers up-front, their increased efficiency spurs savings over the life of the system, making them a popular and reliable long-term choice.
Additionally, there are several government incentives and rebate programs available for hot water boilers. Customers can take advantage of a 30% project cost tax credit through Energy Star that applies to Energy Star certified gas boilers with AFUE ≥ 95% or certain oil boilers.
While many of the benefits of condensing boilers lie within the operation of the unit itself, there are also some other tangible advantages, including:
- Floor-mounted or wall-mounted options, allowing for increased flexibility in smaller spaces.
- User friendly controls. While most traditional boilers offer On/Off operation, condensing boilers allow users to modulate burners and set temperatures based on outdoor conditions, allowing the unit to operate more efficiently.
- Easier installation. Condensing boilers have a smaller footprint than traditional options, and since they are not cast iron, they are easier to maneuver and set up in a home or business.
Condensing boiler technology has already been widely adopted in the industry and in homes and businesses across the country. Educating the public on their options for heating and hot water, as well as on maintenance and care for condensing boilers, will be key to continued growth and adoption.
Neglected maintenance is a major cause of failure for boilers. It is imperative consumers know what is required to service their systems, as well as who to call for maintenance and how often they need to schedule routine service checks.
The HVAC industry is sure to continue heating up in the coming years as more home and business owners consider making the switch to more energy-efficient comfort solutions.
Christopher Kyes is a Senior Product Manager for Bosch Home Comfort USA (formerly Bosch Thermotechnology), a leading source of high-quality, energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable heating, cooling and hot water systems. For more information, visit www.bosch-homecomfort.us.