Furnaces, Boilers, And Radiant Heat

Forced Hot Air Radiant Heat Health & Safety Efficiency

Massachusetts residents are well aware of how harsh old man winter can be.  Choosing the right size and type of heating system for your application will have a huge impact on your comfort and utility bill.  Choosing the right contractor who will install it properly will ensure that you have less future headaches, a cleaner more professional appearance and can save you space in your utility room.

Forced Hot Air Furnace

Furnaces burn fuel (gas or oil) and pass the burnt air / exhaust through a series of pipes before exiting the building.  Air from the home is passed across these pipes (called a heat exchanger) where it picks up heat and cools the exhaust of the furnace.  After being heated it is then pushed through duct work and spread throughout the house.  The real advantage to forced hot air systems over radiant heating systems is that the air in the home can be adjusted very quickly.  If you come in from work and want to raise the temperature of the house from 60 to 75 degrees it only takes a few minutes to reach temperature.  The disadvantage is the system does not heat the objects in the room so the building looses temperature quickly as well.  Forced hot air systems have to cycle (turn on and off) more often in order to keep the air temperature in a comfortable range around the target thermostat temperature.  Another advantage is that duct work and a fan is in place so it is very easy to add air conditioning to the system.

Radiant Heat

Residential Boiler Installed by Jay Moody Heating and Air Conditioning

Residential Boiler Installed by Jay Moody Heating and Air

Radiant heat is created when water is raised to a suitable temperature and then circulated throughout the house either in baseboard radiators or in floor piping.  Radiant heat is without a doubt the most comfortable heat.  Whether it be baseboard radiators or in floor heat, radiant heat warms the objects in the room and only later the air becomes warm.  This causes a much more stable slower temperature fluctuation.  Baseboard radiators need a water temperature above 165 degrees F to create the convection across the thin metal fins.  Heated flooring is normally kept at a much lower temperature between 105 degrees F and 120 degrees F.  It is perfectly acceptable to use one boiler and have both baseboard heaters and in floor heat.  The two separate temperatures are controlled by a mixing valve and individual pumps for each circuit.

Health And Safety

Everyone has heard of the dangers of the invisible gas carbon monoxide.  Preventing this and other hazards starts from the initial design and installation of your boiler or furnace system.  We make sure you have enough fresh air available to the furnace as well as ensuring the exhaust piping is done to code (or better).

Furnace and Boiler Efficiency Ratings

The AFUE is the most widely used measure of a boiler or furnace’s heating efficiency. It measures the amount of heat actually delivered to your house compared to the amount of fuel that you must supply to the furnace. Thus, a furnace that has an 80% AFUE rating converts 80% of the fuel that you supply to heat — the other 20% is lost out of the chimney.  Note that the AFUE refers only to the unit’s fuel efficiency (i.e. natural gas, propane of heating oil), not its electricity usage.

The US Department of Energy determined that all furnaces sold in the US must have a minimum AFUE of 78%, beginning January 1, 1992. Mobile home furnaces are required to have a minimum AFUE of 75%.  Higher AFUE ratings will be required for furnaces and boilers sold after September 2015. These include:

non-weatherized gas furnaces: 80% AFUE

weatherized gas furnaces: 83% AFUE

mobile home gas furnaces: 80% AFUE

oil-fired furnaces: 82% AFUE

gas boilers: 84% AFUE

oil-fired boilers: 83% AFUE