Alberta residents who heat their homes with boilers have several options to improve efficiency. If your system is old, inefficient and possibly unsafe, a retrofit may be able to upgrade it. However, be sure to compare the costs of a retrofit with the costs and benefits of replacement.
Some retrofits apply to both gas and oil-fired systems, but some are fuel specific.
Energy savers for both gas and oil systems:
- Vent dampers. A vent damper closes the system’s vent when it isn’t firing. This prevents unnecessary heat loss through the chimney. Vent dampers are most effective with larger, steam boilers.
- Time-delay relay. This allows the equipment to distribute hot water throughout the system, without actually firing on. The boiler will fire on after a set period of time. By some estimates, a time-delay relay can reduce costs as much as 10 percent.
- Zone control. Send hot water where you need it most, and close dampers or valves off from areas that don’t require heating at the time.
- Aquastat modulator. Aquastats regulate the temperature of the water in accordance with the temperature outside. They’re also known as “outdoor resets.” You could simply adjust the temperature of the water yourself, but an aquastat removes the guesswork and stress, and can generate dramatic savings.
Gas system specific:
- Derating. If you’ve improved your home’s overall efficiency, your unit may be too big for your heating needs. Switching the gas burner orifice out for a smaller one can improve performance. This upgrade isn’t always permitted by building codes, and can be difficult, so it’s best to talk to your contractor first.
- Intermittent ignition. This upgrade can be installed to replace a continuously burning pilot light.
Oil system specific:
- Derating. Derating an oil-fired boiler usually involves switching out the potentially oversized nozzle for a smaller one.
- Barometric flue damper. If your system is losing a lot of energy through the chimney, a barometric flue damper could save money.
Not every retrofit can be done on every system. If you’re interested in increasing the efficiency of your boiler, call Arpi’s Industries. We’re proud to serve Alberta homeowners!
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about boilers and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.