When purchasing a heater, whether for initial installation or replacement, many homeowners and contractors fall into the low initial cost trap. They only realize later that the upfront payment belied the heavy costs later on. Taking note that heating system is an important system in the house, especially in the areas with extreme weather conditions, reliability should be the primary consideration when seeking the heating system. The following components do make up optimal reliability in the long-run.
The cost of energy is always on a continual rise. To ensure sustenance, and proper attendance to other important costs, there is a need to ensure energy efficiency. The heating system utilizes quite a significant amount of energy, especially in the colder months. Each heating system is rated via a system referred to as Annual Fuel Utilization Rating (AFUE). An AFUE rating of 90 indicates that the heater produces 90 units of heat for every 100 units of energy consumed. The higher the rating, the more efficient the heater is. With this in mind, ensure that you select the heater with the highest rating in your budget. Do note that a high AFUE rating is more environmentally friendly, and will save a significant amount of energy over the years of use. The following should suffice as guidance on the type to purchase under the various fuel types.
· For gas fuel, consider an AFUE rating of 95 and higher for those that live on the northern US. For the South, AFUE 90 will suffice.
· For oil-fuelled heaters, an AFUE 85 rating is okay.
· A 100 AFUE rating is acceptable for an electric powered heater
However, when making the above considerations, do note that natural gas is the least expensive of the three, with electricity being the most expensive.
Most heaters maintain full power running when the thermostat drops below a set heat level. An oversized heater continually switches off and on in the course of running. They offer high-energy use intervals. The inconsistency often results to more breakdowns and the need for repairs and maintenance. This ends up being pricey in the end. An undersized heater, on the other hand, fails in effective home heating. The attempts to keep up with the heating demands leads to higher fuel usage and faster depreciation of equipment. The factors to consider when determining the most reliable heater size includes the following
· Insulation: Well-insulated homes and heating systems are better at conserving energy. This translates to reduced demand on the system. The long-term benefits of effective insulation installations include low maintenance costs and reduced energy consumption.
· Number of occupants: More occupants of course mean more heating requirements. Ensure that you factor in the number of users when making the purchase.
· Size and shape of the space to be heated: The larger the house, the more the heating demand
· Air infiltration: This covers draft and air leakage
· Preferred temperatures and comfort levels
· Size and location of openings such as doors and windows
For the best in figuring out the above, consider consulting contractors who subscribe to international standard manuals and load calculation manuals.
Cost of the Heater
The cost of a heater is a perhaps the hardest to establish. Most manufacturers do not reveal the prices on request, unless for the commercial clients. Others offer varying quotes for contractors, companies and individuals. Of the three types, electricity powered heaters are the cheapest, with the gas powered variants being the most expensive of the lot. Consider the services of a professional contractor for a guide on the costs, including the installation costs.
· There are various features and ratings included in the modern heater designs that improve on the reliability. The Energy Factor indicates the efficiency of the heater, especially water heaters. The higher the rating, the more efficient the heater model. While this translates to a higher cost, the energy savings in the end are worth the initial cost.
· ENERGY STAR, a trusted government-backed symbol, stands for energy efficiency, cost savings and environmental conservation. When making the purchase, whether for replacement or initial installation, insist on ENERGY STAR approved models. The symbol inclusion implies that the product adheres to set standards and regulations.
· Modern heater models feature intuitive technology optimized for increased performance, reliability and energy efficiency. The features are geared to adjust the heat provisions as per your specific needs and use patterns.