Almost every home in the United States is heated with either a furnace or a boiler. Furnaces distribute the heated air throughout a house using ductwork. Boilers either heat water or create steam, which is then circulated through radiators. For a home heated by a boiler, the efficiency of that system is vital to the comfort of the occupants — especially in northern states like New Jersey. What you should know about boilers: Boilers commonly are powered by electricity, fuel oil, natural gas, or propane. With rising costs, the expense of keeping your boiler operating is also rising. There are new high-efficiency boilers designed to substantially reduce energy consumption. By using less energy, you save money. Boilers contribute a vast portion of carbon emissions that find their way into the air we breathe. An efficient boiler system will produce less pollution while using less fuel. The efficiency of a boiler is rated by its annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), an established industry guide. The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1992 established requirements that small boilers operate at a minimum AFUE of 80 percent. The Energy Star program, run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, allows their label to appear only on boilers with an AFUE of at least 85 percent. If you are replacing an old boiler with a new high-efficiency unit, or if you are building a new home, the average number of years before the new unit will pay for itself in energy savings is between five and seven years. How a heating contractor can help: Your first step should be working with your contractor to make your home as energy efficient as possible. After this is completed, have your contractor determine the proper-size boiler to fill your needs. By doing the energy-efficiency improvements first, you may need a smaller boiler system. A properly sized unit will save money on the initial purchase, but also will operate more efficiently and use less energy. An experienced local contractor, such as Pipe Works Services, will help you determine the boiler system that best meets your needs. We will be happy to answer any questions you have concerning boilers. Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information, click here to download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. Pipe Works Services serves Chatham, NJ, and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website.