Home Heating Questions & Answers

New Hampshire Master Plumber Gregg Merritt answers some of the most popular home heating questions.

Q: What is the most efficient home heating system?

A: The most efficient heating sytem today is radiant floor heating with a modulating gas boiler and an outdoor re-set. The least efficient system you can purchase is a forced hot air system.

Q: How much does it cost to replace a home heating system?

A: This is a tough question. It depends upon the type of system that exists and whether you’re just doing a boiler change out or a complete system change. Boiler change outs can vary depending on boiler location and how much near boiler piping you need to replace.

Q: How to calculate total btu’s needed for home heating?

A: Calculations are based on room volume and amount of square footage of exposed wall. We also consider glass, exterior doors and infiltration, then divide these numbers by a chosen multiplier to calculate heat loss.

Q: How to install central heating in a home that never had it?

A: First you must choose which type of heating system you wish to put in: forced hot air, forced hot water, radiant, or steam. Then you need to do a heat loss calculation on your entire home to size the system. We, at Heath & Field, recommend that you hire a professional to do your installation in order to obtain the most efficient and best-sized system to fit your home. If your system is oversized, it will cost more to install and more to operate.

Q: Can you substitute diesel for home heating oil?

A: For temporary reasons, yes. To get you through the night if you run out, but not recomended for a long period of time. If you need an outdoor mix to prevent gelling, you can mix with kerosene.

Q: Do home heating oil tanks need to vent outside?

A: Absolutely. When an oil company fills your tank, the air that is displaced smells like oil and the fumes will fill the area that the vent is run to. Also, the vent on an oil tank has a whistle installed at the top of the tank to signal the delivery man as to when your tank is filled to let him know when to stop filling.

Q: How do I calculate cost savings by reducing my home heating temperature by 1 degree C?

A: For oil, take the total house btu loss (let’s say 40,000) and divide by138,000 btu/gal., then divide this by the system efficiency which is different than the boiler efficiency. For example: a boiler with an AFUE of 80% – 7-1/2% piping efficiency loss = system efficiency or .74. Then multiply this by 2500, the number of heat loss hours per year, and this will give you your number of gallons used per year.

Q: How do I clean my home heating boiler?

A: Every boiler has a means to brush and vacuum. This is usually done through a cleanout provided that you unbolt and brush. A very good method to tell if it’s the correct place to access the boiler flue passages, is if it has a rubber gasket behind it. If it is rubber, then this is not the correct cleanout plate.

Q: How do I clean a home heating oil spill in the yard?

A: First, isolate the spill and get some speedy dry on it as soon as possible. If it’s substantial, dig up the earth and let it sit in the sun to evaporate.

More Questions and Answers:

General Plumbing Questions and Answers

Water Heater Questions and Answers

Answers to Your Questions About Radiant Heat

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