Condensing vs Non-Condensing Boilers – New Development

by / Monday, 02 November 2015 / Published in HVAC Design

It is now possible to achieve the savings of a condensing boiler without the capital costs!

During the past couple of design projects I have performed, a boiler retrofit project in Sarnia and a Social housing building in Toronto, I observed an interesting development.  I was using RBI boilers as a design basis in both of these projects and found that their condensing boiler option (Infinite Energy II) were being offered at a lower price than their non-condensing unit (Futera III).

This is significant as typically the former cost more than the latter.  In the debate of condensing vs. non-condensing, this removes one of the main drawbacks of condensing at least in the case of RBI, I have confirmed regarding other manufacturers as well.  The advantages of condensing boilers (for RBI) include:

  • Higher efficiency about 90-93% vs. 80-85%. Highly significant difference.
  • Much better turndown the RBI Futera III has a 4:1 ratio vs the 20:1 of the Infinite Energy II, thus allowing for a better match-up of the level of demand of the facility and the amount of gas used to meet that gas.
  • More robust heat exchanger stainless steel vs. copper.

Both boilers have a similar lifespan, 15-20 years and are perfect for multi-residential and many commercial applications.  It is possible to attain the benefits of a .condensing boiler without the extra capital costs.

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