Oil heating is one of the older HVAC technologies on the market, and continuing product development helps keep its efficiencies on a par with other types of systems - sometimes more efficient, in fact. In addition, manufacturers are continuing to add features that improve oil heating system serviceability.

This article offers a look at some of the latest innovations in the market. For more information, please contact the manufacturers or their distributors.

Comfort-Aire’s Patriot 80 oil furnace now features control board LEDs and a “clean cut” pump.

Furnace Efficiencies

Bryant Heating and Cooling (www.bryant.com) recently unveiled a line of variable-speed oil furnaces available in lowboy or multipoise units.

The variable-speed blower motor allows homeowners to run a constant fan, helping to eliminate temperature differences throughout the home and improve air quality, the company said. Other benefits include reduced drafts in the home, reduced sound levels, longer heating cycles, and increased energy efficiency. These furnaces have an AFUE rating of up to 83.5 percent.

"We're very excited to provide this advanced technology to many of our customers who, for reasons often out of their control, would otherwise not be able to experience it," said Jonathan Payne, product manager for Bryant.

Comfort-Aire's (www.comfort-aire.com) Patriot 80 oil furnace line has been enhanced with control board LEDs and a "clean cut" pump.

"The LEDs make it simple for the contractor to check operation and to diagnose any problems quickly," the company said. The oil pump's solenoid provides positive shutoff when the furnace turns off. This helps keep the heat exchanger operating more efficiently.

Models are available in heating capacities from 58,000 to 196,000 Btuh in a variety of configurations (upflow, downflow/horizontal, rear flue, and front flue), and are sized for installation in tight or awkward spaces. Prewiring facilitates the addition of central air conditioning (2 to 5 tons cooling capacity).

The series also has been designed to minimize operational noise. Foil-faced fiberglass insulation helps reduce noise and minimize heat loss. A high-temperature ceramic combustion chamber and harmonically balanced multispeed blower contribute to quiet operation. AFUE ratings are 80 percent or better.

The model also features an "AFG" oil burner with flame-retention head, PSC motor, and solid-state ignition. Maintenance and service are simplified with removable panels, the company said, as well as easy-access cleanout ports for servicing the heat exchanger.

Century's (www.century-hvac.com) LG Series oil/gas furnaces are available in heating capacities of 225,000 to 450,000 Btuh, making them suitable for installation in churches, schools, and commercial buildings, the company said.

Models are ordered by job requirements: output capacity, vertical or horizontal installation, and oil or gas fuel.

Oil burners (ordered separately) come with a stainless steel flame retention head, oil valve, two-stage fuel pump, and primary safety relay. The gas burner (also ordered separately) features integrated safety controls, heavy-duty construction, and flame retention head.

"Units can be converted from one fuel source to the other at a later date," the company said.

The LG Series' AFUE rating is 81 percent. Twin blowers move the heated air. The heat exchanger is made of 14-gauge stainless steel.

To simplify maintenance and service, the blowers are mounted on rails. Removable panels permit access to the motor for service and cleanout. The unit also features a 14-gauge aluminized steel front header box and 16-gauge steel blower deck and base frame.

Boiler Innovations

ECR International's (www.ecrinternational.com) Empire Steam II oil-fired steam boiler is said to deliver high efficiency, reliability, and ease of maintenance for homes requiring oil-fired heat.

The boiler's wet-based design helps overall efficiency by enclosing the combustion chamber with water on all five sides. The boiler offers an AFUE rating of 84 percent. Cast iron sections and push nipples offer durability and efficient heat transfer capabilities, the company said, and a cast iron swing door allows quick inspection of the oil burner and combustion area.

In addition, integral skim tapping facilitates skimming of the boiler water. "The prethreaded outlet makes this maintenance procedure easy for the installer," the company said. The Empire Steam II is also available as a knock down boiler for easier handling in tight-access installations.

The Burnham Hydronics (www.burnham.com) FD Series steel boiler can use oil, gas, or a combination of both for commercial installations. With forced-draft firing, the boiler is said to require less space than conventional boilers and eliminates the need for external draft devices, such as a high chimney or mechanical draft equipment, the company said.

Besides providing space heating and domestic hot water, the boiler can supply indirect hot water for spas, car washes, laundries, commercial swimming pools, and restaurants. Its capacity ranges from 264 to 1,607 MBtuh.

R.W. Beckett (www.beckettcorp.com) calls its HeatManagerâ„¢ "the newest advance in boiler controls for residential boilers." It helps improve the efficiency of most oil-, propane-, or gas-fired residential boiler home heating systems. The company even guarantees that the controls can "reduce heating fuel consumption by at least 10 percent."

The controls are designed to automatically adjust the burner run pattern to match the system's heat load. The product's patented microprocessor technology optimizes overall heating system efficiency. "When installed on a new or existing boiler heating system, HeatManager boiler controls reduce fuel consumption, wear on parts, flue emissions, and electrical usage," the company said.

Publication date: 12/13/2004