How to Pick the Right Boiler for Your Residence

Before you begin a residential boiler installation, it's wise to think about the type of system you might want to run. There are plenty of factors in determining what kind of setup you should use so let's look at four that will factor into choosing the right boiler.

Electric vs. Gas

Arguably, this is the biggest decision in the bunch. Electricity and natural gas are by far the two most common options for powering boilers. For the vast majority of homeowners, the decision is going to boil down to whether electricity or gas represents the cheapest option.

You should look at the ratings for every boiler you might want to buy. See how much electricity or gas they're estimated to use in a given year. Pull out your utility bills and check the prices. Do a bit of multiplication to decide which fuel source is likely to be the cheapest.

Bear in mind that you need to convert everything to a total dollar amount for one year. The electric models will usually show costs in kilowatt-hours, and a gas-based boiler furnace installation will typically use BTUs or units of natural gas. You can only make an apples-to-apples comparison once everything is in operating dollars per year.


Generally, gas systems are going to be noisier than electric ones. If you need an especially quiet environment, you may want to favor electricity even if it ends up being a bit more costly.


You will want to right-size the unit to your home as much as possible. Remember, you're going to be heating large amounts of water so there's no logic in boiling more than necessary. Heating capacity is usually reflected in BTUs. A ballpark figure is that heating a house that's 1,500 square feet will require between 45,000 and 90,000 BTUs of total capacity.

This will vary based on your climate zone and how well-insulated the building is. Notably, you should lose less heat to air leaks compared to a forced-air furnace system because you won't be blowing the air into the colder parts of the house. Still, more insulation will always help.


The efficiency of a residential boiler installation is measured in AFUE. Annual fuel utilization efficiency usually ranges above 90% for modern systems, especially ones that are high-efficiency. More efficient systems will tend to be more expensive upfront but cheaper to run over the course of several years.

For help with your residential boiler installation, contact an HVAC service in your area.