Energy Application Associates has found boilers built by Energy Kinetics (http://www.energykinetics.com/) of Lebanon, New Jersey to be the most cost efficient energy converters for hydronic heating systems. When installed properly, these systems offer unrivaled performance. This is clearly demonstrated by the government-sponsored tests conducted by The Brookhaven National Testing Laboratories
The Brookhaven data correlates to our experiences with Energy Kinetics Boilers. These boilers are installed with many standard features that improve energy efficiency, promote long equipment life, and make service easier than is the case with conventional boilers.
Many of the standard Energy Kinetics’ features are available as expensive add-ons for conventional boilers, but when they are added to these boilers, the price of these additions raises the cost of the conventional boiler beyond the Energy Kinetics product, and even then, they are unable to equal the performance of this product.
Some of the options you would need to add to a conventional boiler to mimic an Energy Kinetics’ System are as follows:
External Combustion Air Supply Kit
When fuel oil is burned most efficiently, it takes about 21.5 lbs of air to burn 1 lb of fuel. Since it takes about a gallon of fuel oil to run the boiler for an hour, and since a gallon of fuel oil weighs about 7 lbs. Your boiler requires about 150 lbs of fresh air every hour to support combustion. That means the boiler draws in about 2000 cubic feet of cold outside air every hour.
The Energy Kinetics boiler draws this air from outside the building. Without this feature, the house is placed under a vacuum when the boiler is running and for every hour the boiler runs, the house is cooled by the intake of cold outside air. To neutralize the cold drafts that are created when this air rushes into the building, the boiler must provided additional heat.
With the Energy Kinetics boiler the outside combustion air is piped directly to the burner, it does not place the house under a vacuum. This, in turn, reduces the amount of heat necessary to heat the house. Conventional boilers require the addition of an outside air supply kit and the proper installation of the same to match this Energy Kinetics feature.
This situation is the same for both gas fired boilers and oil fired boilers.
Efficient Domestic Hot Water (DHW) Supply
In most cases it is more efficient to heat household hot water with your boiler than it is to use a separate hot water heater. Basic conventional boilers provide DHW by passing cold water through a coil that is installed in the boilers’ water jacket. This is extremely inefficient and virtually causes the boiler to run every time you run the hot water tap. To make DHW efficiently Energy Kinetics makes 40 gallons of hot water at a time and stores it in an insulated water tank to be used as necessary, without the recurring need of operating the boiler with every demand for water. This DHW system is normally installed with every Energy Kinetics heating plant. Frequently conventional boilers have an indirect hot water system added. This can be done by adding a BoilerMate™ indirect hot water heating tank to a conventional boiler or even installing the Energy Kinetics’ plate heat exchanger and insulated storage tank as an option. However, these options are not necessary with an Energy Kinetics boiler, as efficient DHW heating is part of the standard heating package.
Zone Valve Controller
Heating systems with zone valves for more than one zone require a zone valve controller. When a thermostat calls for heat, the controller opens the proper zone valve, and starts the system pump and fires the boiler to heat the proper zone. With a conventional boiler, this additional control must be added. Every Energy Kinetics boiler comes with a digital manager that incorporates a zone valve controller that can manage up to five zones.
Energy Recovery Controller
When your thermostat is satisfied and stops calling for heat, conventional boilers stop firing the burner and shut down the system pump. This leaves lots of heat trapped in the boiler jacket and water. If you watch the thermometer on the front of the boiler after it shuts down, you will see the water temperature of the water in the boiler rise. This is because the hot metal in the combustion chamber is still transferring its heat into the cooler surrounding water. A conventional boiler without energy recovery looses this heat up the flue, totally wasting the energy. If you add an energy recovery controller to keep the system pump running after the burner shuts down, you can capture this heat and move it to the house before it is lost up the chimney. With a conventional boiler, this is usually an available option. With an Energy Kinetics boiler, this feature is incorporated in the digital controller.
Boiler Protection Controller
When a circulator pump is activated by a thermostat call, previously stagnant cold water from the distribution system is pumped back to the boiler. It is then injected into the boiler’s red hot, water jacket. If this cold water is cold enough, below 130º F., it will cause the combustion gases to condense within the boiler. This will damage the boiler. If the returning water is even cooler, the boiler will be subject to damage from thermal shock. As conventional boilers are assembled from cast iron sections that sandwiched together with a gasket between them, they are especially susceptible to this damage. Energy Kinetics boilers have a one-piece steel combustion chamber that is not susceptible to this type of thermal shock damage. Furthermore, the digital manager that is included with the Energy Kinetics product will stop the circulator from returning cold water to the boiler and heat it to prevent condensation in the combustion chamber. For a conventional boiler to achieve this level of protection, the installer must design and install a boiler protection system. This is seldom done.
Entrained Air Removal System
When water is heated, air bubbles are created. This is obvious to anyone who ever heated a pan of water on a stove and noticed the bubbles that formed on the bottom to the pan before the water started to boil. The same thing takes in your boiler. When this air remains trapped in the water that is circulated around your house for heating, it causes a number of problems. Failure to remove this trapped air prevents efficient circulation of the heating water, creates noise in the pipes, causes cavitation in pumps, and oxygen corrosion of the boiler and its equipment. Energy Kinetics prevents this build up of air in the system by shipping the boiler with an air removal and pumping system installed. This assures that the boiler is installed with proper air removal. Piping a boiler in this manner is known as “pumping away” and is an industry standard for effective air remediation. Conventional boilers are usually shipped without air removal included and with the pump preinstalled in a contrary manner. While the directions that are included with these boilers usually suggest that the system pump should be moved to “pump away” from the boiler, this is seldom done.
Conventional boilers also require the installer to add an air removal system. When the installer tries to save money and time, he will leave the pump in the position it was installed in for shipping, and if he adds an air removal device, it will usually be an inexpensive air scoop. Air scoops can only remove entrapped air when they are installed according to the directions provided. That means that the scoop must be preceded by 18 inches of straight pipe. Seldom is this the case.
The Energy Kinetics boiler is delivered with an adequate air removal system installed.
Effective Noise Suppression System
When conventional boilers are fired with oil or other pressure type burners they are usually annoyingly noisy. While there are optional silencers available, Energy Kinetics boilers are delivered with an effective muffler. The noise emitted by Energy Kinetics boilers is no louder than your microwave oven.
The Real Energy Kinetics Advantage
All the options listed above are standard installed equipment on all Energy Kinetics boilers and all of them significantly improve the efficiency of your heating system and its expected service life. Over time, this will reduce both your fuel and maintenance costs. When comparing boilers, remember that conventional boilers, whether imported or domestically built would need to have these options added to meet the operating efficiency of an Energy Kinetics boiler. When you add these features to other boilers, the cost of the options and the labor to install them properly will exceed the cost of the Energy Kinetics product. You should also be aware the AFUE standard for boiler combustion efficiency does not take any of these energy saving features into account. This is clearly demonstrated by the government’s Brookhaven test that compares this boiler to the others.
However, the best feature of the Energy Kinetics boiler is the fact that it turns off completely when there is no call for heat. This unique feature means that if there is no immediate requirement for heat or hot water, the boiler shuts completely down. When you consider that the heating season is only a few months a year and that the daily requirement for a tank of hot water is infrequent: it is obvious why the System 2000 saves fuel. It is usually off!
Conventional boilers are fired on and off continuously throughout the year as they can only operate by maintaining a minimum temperature at all times. Even in the summer, conventional boilers have to maintain this temperature. Because of the excess heat thrown off by these boilers, you need additional AC cooling in warm months to neutralize this unwanted and unnecessary heating. In the summer or at anytime your house does not need heating, the Energy Kinetics boiler is completely off, and the space it is installed in is not heated by the boiler.
The Energy Application Associates Advantage
All the above features are provided as standard equipment on Energy Kinetics boilers. When they are available on other boilers, they are expensive options. When properly installed, Energy Kinetics boilers use about 25% less fuel than is used by competitive brands.
Besides these features, Energy Kinetics also offers a wide variety of accessories that allow the installed boiler to mate with the type of heating system installed in the house.
Boilers installed in houses with radiant heat need to be installed differently than those that are used in homes with baseboard heating systems. Radiators, hydro-air systems, and local building code requirements all alter the equipment that must be added with any new boiler installation.
Choosing the proper way to install a boiler requires serious consideration. Before installing a new boiler, it is necessary to study the house and the existing heating system that must interface with that boiler. Failure to properly engineer the installation of a boiler can drastically reduce both the energy efficiency of the boiler and its service life.
When Energy Application Associates installs an Energy Kinetics boiler, we always do the necessary work to optimize that installation for the specific requirements of your house.