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Will a Boiler Reduce Home Heating Costs?

You have several choices and considerations when it comes to heating your home in Vancouver: a gas or electric furnace, simple baseboard heaters, a gas or wood-burning fireplace, radiant in-floor heating for some rooms, or perhaps even installing geothermal. With this in mind, it may surprise you that more people are again considering installing a boiler to heat their home. The new generation of boilers are efficient and reliable, and have several advantages over other heating options. Here is some information on your home heating options and why a boiler might be your best choice.

If you need help from a professional heating company – and every home heating system will require the assistance of a professional at some point – contact A1 Drainage, Plumbing & Heating anytime, from anywhere in Metro Vancouver. As one of the most referred companies for Vancouver heating repair and installations – including boilers – A-1 provides professional advice along with uncompromising service.

Boilers: A boiler works by heating hot water, usually by gas, and then distributing it to radiators, baseboard units or radiant heat tubes that can be placed under the floor. Though not as popular as furnaces, a boiler system can be very efficient and makes an excellent choice if you do not need central air. Some homeowners simply prefer the "feel" of radiated heat vs. forced air from a furnace. This type of heat also has some health benefits when compared to heat being blown through dirty ducts. More people with dust allergies or breathing problems are choosing boilers because of this problem.

The cost for installation of a boiler is dependent on the system installed, but it can be considered cost-competitive to installing a furnace and duct system in new homes, when everything is factored. However, the cost of installing radiant heat in the floor from a boiler (see below) is significantly higher than electric in-floor heating.

Furnace: This is still the most popular choice for heating a home. A furnace can be powered by gas, electricity, oil or propane. It’s a simpler system that uses a fan to drive hot air through your ductwork and into your home. New furnaces are now much more efficient than in the past but any forced air system that must travel through several meters of ductwork will be somewhat inefficient. And then there is the cost of cleaning and maintaining the ductwork to keeping the system at peak efficiency.

One other advantage of a furnace is they can be used for central air conditioning in the summer as well.

Baseboard Heaters: Electric baseboard heaters are another home heating option to consider. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, and can be used selectively to add fast heat to some hard to heat areas of your home. The biggest drawback of course is the cost of electricity in powering them. Some people complain of the unevenness of the heat and the smell from a dusty baseboard heater.

Radiant Heating: Radiant heat comes in three different types and can be installed almost anywhere, but the most popular is electric in-floor radiant heating. It is more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air heating because no energy is lost through ducts. Other than electric and forced air radiant heat, you have the option of a hydronic (liquid-based) system connected to a boiler. Radiant hydronic in-floor heating is often considered the most comfortable method of heating a house. The downside to this system is that installation is costly unless it is a new home or new flooring is being installed. However, it is a system worth considering for comfortable, efficient heating that may also add significant resale value to your home.

Please contact A-1 if you have other questions or other tips on installing boilers in Vancouver.