Do you find yourself turning the heat on one day and then off the next, and then snuggling up in blankets because you can’t stay warm the next day? If so, you’re not alone! The weather in Maryland has been a bit unpredictable over the last few years. One day we find ourselves using heat and the next we are using the A/C. Regardless of which you are using, one of the easiest ways to reduce expenses is to use energy-efficient equipment. When using the heat, a great place to start reducing your monthly bill is to evaluate your boiler and how efficiently it runs. Here are five easy tips to help save money on your monthly bills by making your boiler more efficient.
- Get an understanding of thermal efficiency. Your boiler draws in cool air, heats it up, and sends it out of the stack. The majority of heat is lost from your boiler in the stack, as gases leave the boiler. The goal is to create conditions that generate the smallest possible amount of flue gas (exhaust gas that is expelled) at the lowest temperature possible. A lower stack gas temperature is ideal because the higher the temperature, the more energy will be carried away by the flue gas. By doing so, you’ll have increased boiler efficiency.
- Tune the burner. For proper combustion of fuel inside the boiler, a certain amount of oxygen is required. If too little oxygen is present, the carbon in the fuel will be incompletely oxidized, making carbon monoxide. This causes less heat to be released because the fuel isn’t completely burned, which lowers fuel use efficiency. Low amounts of oxygen also generate soot, smoke, and carbon monoxide, all of which are extremely dangerous to one’s health. On the flip side, too much air also reduces efficiency because the extra air is brought in cold and sent out the stack hot, wasting heat. It’s critical to have a process that provides just enough air for the fuel to burn safely. The need for air can be measured using an O2 probe to measure the air in the stack and then tuning the burner has needed.
- Clean the fireside. As we mentioned previously, low amounts of oxygen can cause soot build-up. Over time, soot may build up on the fireside of the boiler tubes. The soot then acts as an insulator, reducing the heat transfer rate and increasing fuel use. Cleaning and inspecting your boiler tubes will ensure that the soot remains minimal and improves the overall efficiency of the boiler.
- Clean the waterside. Inspecting your boiler regularly will help you in keeping the waterside of your boiler clean and free of leaks. It’s important to clean out any mud legs or mud drums to ensure good heat transfer from the metal to the water. If not, the heat transfer will be impeded, reducing your boiler efficiency.
- Bleed your radiator. After your radiators have been inactive for a period of time or if you have drained your heating systems, you may notice you have a radiator that won’t heat. This means that there could be trapped air in your radiator causing it to malfunction. The New York Times recommends bleeding your radiators at the beginning of the season.
Using these tips to ensure that your boiler is as efficient as possible is the key to controlling your monthly bills. Having a knowledgeable company service your boiler regularly will help ensure this as well. At Quality Air and Heating, we can help you prolong the life of your boiler and help you prevent expensive repair costs down the road. Give us a call today so that we can help you keep your boiler efficient.