Although boilers differ in technology, size and type, they all require fuels in order to function. When deciding on the type of boiler to buy, it is a good idea to select one whose type of fuel is conveniently available to you. Depending on your budget, selecting a boiler that can operate on different fuel sources guarantees an easy operation and maintenance.
This is because you can switch from one fuel source to another as per prevailing conditions such as prices, availability and pollution control. Whichever choice you opt for, check for fuel efficiency and energy output in order to use least possible fuel in heating your water and home at large. Sometimes a cheaper form of fuel may have a low energy density hence requiring using more fuel to heat up compared to a relatively expensive form of fuel with a high energy density.
You may end up spending more while trying to cut on fuel and operation costs. There are five main types of boiler fuels as illustrated below
1. Natural Gas/ Propane
The abundance of natural gas and its convenient supply made it the most used form of fuel. However, it is comparably expensive to fuel oil and still as a lesser energy density compared to diesel. Propane being the by-product of natural gas is used in either liquid or gaseous state. Another form of natural gas in use is methane. It is a cheaper option to propane but raises concern on how eco-friendly it is.
2. Renewable Energy
Under renewable energy, boilers can either use biomass in form of recycled wood or solar power. Those using solar power must be manufactured compatible to convert solar energy. Biomass provides an excellent way to use the wood Waste from other activities. It is however, more expensive compared to the other forms of fuel.
Electricity guarantee a noiseless, instant boiler connected directed to the mains supply and taking up less space. They however, consume a lot of power raising your electric bill considerably especially in a household with multiple occupants each needing hot water.
4. Solid Fuels
Coal is a common form of solid fuel used in boilers. However, they have a lower energy density and not eco-friendly. Despite this, their rampant use is fuelled by how inexpensive solid fuel boilers are to purchase, install and maintain.
5. Fuel Oil
Fuel oil is either distillate or residual which each category farther divided into numbers 1 to 6. The best fuel types for boilers are number 2 distillate fuel and number 6 residual fuels. Distillate fuel is most preferred as it emits less greenhouse gases compared to residual but has a lower energy density.
While fuel type and price should be a guiding factor when buying a boiler, energy output is also key in making the final decision. Another factor to consider is environmental impact of the burning fuels as well as overall safety in its handling and use. An expert will be able to guide you keenly giving you both pros and cons of each fuel type.