Buying tips—boilers, commercial

What should you consider when buying a boiler?

A commercial boiler is a long-term investment. Properly maintained, your unit can last 30 years. So, it is important that you consider more than just price when shopping.

Consider the unit’s lifecycle cost.
Since fuel costs are by far the largest single lifecycle cost of a boiler, choose the most energy-efficient unit that meets your particular needs.

Consider condensing.
Yes, condensing boilers cost much more money than conventional units. But they are significantly more energy-efficient (90-96 percent efficient compared to 70-85 percent for a conventional unit). The savings you realize from a condensing unit will help to repay that cost difference in as little as five years.

As well, condensing boilers are well suited to specific applications. They are particularly effective, for example, at delivering low-temperature hot water for space heating.

Use a modulating boiler.
A boiler that fires at a single input rate heats water by switching a flame fully on and fully off. This method, however, consumes a large quantity of fuel and is highly energy inefficient. In a modulating boiler, the flame is fired to match the boiler load.

Integrate small boilers.
Check your boiler size. Some businesses install too-large boilers to accommodate periods of peak demand and anticipated expansion, but this practice is highly energy inefficient. When retrofitting your boiler systems, consider sequencing several smaller boilers. Fire all in parallel during peak periods and run only the ones needed during periods of low demand.

Try heat cascading.
Multiple high-efficiency condensing boilers can be installed in cascade to satisfy even the largest commercial heat demands. This boiler configuration provides a highly effective and extremely efficient heating system. The boilers are configured to automatically optimize heat, efficiency, and hot water supply to the demands at any particular time. This system of multiple boilers also provides security against interruption of heat, with multiple boilers available as back-up.