Steady Growth Buoys Industry
The boiler industry is going full steam ahead with advancements that provide comfort and more.
In today’s marketplace, manufacturers must constantly look for innovative ways to grow their business. With buzzwords like “energy efficiency,” “smart” and “connected,” consumers are looking for products that will deliver comfort with ease, minimal cost and maintenance.
On the other side of things, manufacturers also need to keep in compliance with standards and regulations. With some of that hanging in limbo, it can be a tricky balancing act when it comes to planning for the future.
So what does all of this mean for the boiler industry?
We spoke to a number of manufacturers — AERCO, Baxi, Bosch, Bradford White, ECR International, IBC Technologies, Laars Heating Systems, Navien, Noritz, NTI Boilers, Parker Boiler, Raypak, VESTA and Weil-McLain — to get a better understanding of what the industry is doing and where it aims to go in the future.
• We started off by asking if there are recent regulations that will likely impact the boiler industry. And if there are, do they anticipate any changes with the new Trump administration?
Most manufacturers addressed the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) regulations. AFUE refers to the portion of energy in the fuel that is converted to useful heat. The standards for each type of boiler include a requirement for AFUE and/or design requirements. Congress established the current standards for residential boilers as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, and they took effect in 2012.
In 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) finalized new standards for residential boilers that will raise the minimum efficiency levels from 82 percent to 84 percent for gas-fired boilers and 84 percent to 86 percent for oil-fired hot water boilers. The new standards will take effect in 2021.
Lew Klein, senior marketing communications manager for Weil-McLain says, “Of course, the proverbial elephant in the room we all recognize is the higher AFUE standards established by the DOE, effective in January 2021. Manufacturers must factor this in when reviewing their current product lines and in all phases of new product design and development. Then there is the sheer volume of new rules that cover not only efficiency levels, but test procedures as well. For manufacturers, this requires additional resources. Then, for us, it’s balancing the innovative roadmap we establish with the compliance aspects.”
Brian Fenske, specialty channel sales manager for Navien agrees. He says though the residential AFUE increase requirements already passed before the new administration took office, “The commercial boiler thermal efficiency increase of 80 percent to 84 percent, which would have been effective in 2020, stalled before passing and is now frozen by executive order.”
“In addition,” Fenske adds, “there is no Federal Tax Credit in place for high-efficiency boiler installations or replacements.”
Jennifer Loran, senior marketing specialist for ECR International Inc. addresses the new regulations as well, but she says, “The new administration has been vocal with regard to reviewing and possibly reorganizing current programs and existing legislations.”
Chuck O’Donnell, director of marketing for Laars Heating Systems says, “With the government freeze of new or pending regulations, we expect that the pace of regulatory action to slow considerably. We hope to see more meaningful engagement at all stages of regulatory development between our industry and the rulemaking bodies under the new administration.”
Rich Corcoran, vice president of sales and marketing of commercial products at Raypak says, “Raypak supports the DOE rulemaking on commercial boilers, which would raise the minimum efficiency from 82 percent thermal efficiency (for 300K = 2,500 BTU/hr boilers) to 84 percent thermal efficiency, and from 82 percent combustion efficiency (2,500 – 10,000 BTU/hr) to 85 percent. The DOE is proposing adding another classification greater than 10MMM, and will leave the level at the current 82 percent combustion efficiency. There also is an EPA Energy Star program that was launched December 2016 for commercial boilers with efficiencies greater than 94 percent thermal efficiency for units up to 2.5 million BTU/hr, but no program for larger units. NRCan in Canada is looking to initial efficiency rulemaking in 2017 on residential and commercial boilers, and water heaters under Amendment 15. They have expressed their desire to have minimum efficiency values higher than the DOE, so I would expect condensing technology for all category levels.”
Though these regulations will impact all manufacturers, some consider them par for the course.
Mike Thomas, president of Marathon International, the exclusive distributor of Baxi products in North America says, “We believe that heating the nation in an economically and environmentally responsible fashion will remain a priority for federal and state government leaders. Energy supply, conservation, sustainability and affordability will continue to serve as important guides to energy policy decision-making, but consumer choice will remain the critical consideration. Baxi research shows that reliability ranks even higher than efficiency, incentives, warranties, training and ease of installation.”
Nate Warren, business development manager of specialty products for Bradford White Corp. says, “Recent regulations have influenced a shift towards more advanced, higher efficiency designs. In 2016, a regulation was passed calling for a higher efficiency rating of all residential boilers beginning in 2021. The new administration is in the process of doing the same for all commercial boilers to increase their efficiency rating. Product changes are not the only regulations impacting the boiler industry. Effective January 2017, a new test procedure was implemented calling for all boiler manufacturers to retest and recertify the ratings of all commercial boilers. With so many changes in effect, Bradford White remains committed to supplying efficient and effective boilers to our customers.”
Douglas Dodds, managing director of North American sales and marketing for IBC Technologies adds, “I believe the die has been cast for condensing products, and they will continue to take market share. The key to the long-term success of high-efficiency boilers is cost (initial and annual operating) and reliability.”
“There are a few scenarios with federal and state regulations that may impact the market,” says Nery Hernandez, product solutions manager for AERCO International Inc. “For example, Utah is considering commercial boilers have reduced low NOx emissions, following the lead of other states such as California. We see additional states considering similar guidelines. At the federal level, there has been discussion of the EPA loosening regulations. If this policy shift occurs, it may affect how some decision-makers evaluate boilers. We believe, however, that most people in the market will still prefer high-efficiency solutions because of their superior return on investment (ROI).”
Other manufacturers are focusing on international trends and how those impact the future of regulations in the industry.
Dan Moffroid, director of product management of boiler and hot water products for Bosch Thermotechnology Corp. says, “One of the main regulatory topics we track is whether or not North America will follow some of the trends occurring in Europe. These include a complete conversion to condensing boilers in some markets as well as other requirements impacting pumps and controls contributing to higher system efficiencies. We are eager to see how the new administration manages these topics, as well as the ongoing discussion of implementing higher taxes on imported goods, which would have a big impact on many boiler manufacturers operating in the U.S., including Bosch.”
Having to comply with new standards is one thing, but how it’s done is another.
• Next, we asked the manufacturers how they’ve used technology to meet recent updates in codes and standards.
“Our recent technological advances have been more related to meeting customer demands rather than updated standards. With each passing day our installers ask for our products to be faster and easier to install, and our consumers want easier control of their heating systems. Our focus has been in this area — using technology to simplify everything from the installation to product use to maintenance and service.” – Moffroid (Bosch)
“Utica Boilers (a brand of ECR International) has been adding LWCO (Low Water Cut Off) protection on the majority of our boilers. This feature reduces potential failures and makes it easy for the installer to comply with codes.” – Loran (ECR International)
Michael J. Leeming, national sales manager for Parker Boiler Co. echoes that sentiment. He says, “[We’ve been] adapting to what the customers want, which is more automation, the ability to control and view their boiler on a online dashboard, and HMI (touch screens) on the equipment.”
Jack Ernest, vice president of VESTA says his company is focusing on “software enhancements for easier troubleshooting and communication.”
“Bradford White Corp. has built a state-of-the-art combustion lab at Laars Heating Systems Co., our manufacturing facility in Rochester, New Hampshire. The lab allows our engineering staff to measure and record a broad spectrum of product performance with incredible precision. Our engineering team uses this data to help ensure our current products meet the tighter tolerances required by today’s standards.” – Warren (Bradford White)
“We’ve moved toward stainless steel condensing to meet higher efficiency market demands — not necessarily due to codes and standards. Most changes in technology are being driven by market demands, not codes and standards.” – Corcoran (Raypak)
For most manufacturers, technology and energy efficiency go hand-in-hand and have been part of the company protocol for years.
Steve “wheels” Wieland, regional sales manager of NTI Boilers says, “Our team of engineers are constantly reviewing and updating our technology to stay up with all recent code and standards changes.”
“AERCO has designed Low NOx burners for years, allowing us to meet the market trend for lower emissions. Our progressive thinking also led to high-efficiency technologies that have a clear ROI, so our customers see economic and operational benefits to our solutions, in addition to environmental advantages. This approach positions our boilers well in the market, even if the EPA guidelines change.” – Hernandez (AERCO)
“Baxi has been the leader in boiler technology advances since the 70s when it developed compact wall-hung boiler technology. It later was first to introduce the all-in-one, combination heating and domestic hot water modulating boiler. Baxi was also one of the first to introduce modulating, condensing high-efficiency boiler technology. More recently, it introduced gas-adaptive, self-calibrating boiler technology with comprehensive Baxi Luna Duo-Tec GA technology.” – Thomas (Baxi)
Jason Fleming, vice president of sales and marketing for Noritz says, “We are already meeting these standards, so we have been unaffected. We always strive to stay ahead of the technology game instead of scrambling to catch up as changes are made.”
“Throughout our 136-year history, Weil-McLain has both employed and created the latest available technologies to develop boilers in response to the ever-evolving codes and standards, particularly regulations that relate to high efficiency and the environment. A prime illustration of this mantra is the recent introduction of our 95 percent AFUE Evergreen boiler that delivers optimum comfort and performance while achieving advanced efficiencies and a reduced carbon footprint. For example, for residential and light commercial customers who require a multiple boiler setup, the Evergreen offers the ability to cascade eight boilers together and ZoneStacking up to 24 programmable zones with no external panel required. In commercial applications, optimal energy efficiency yields reduce energy costs with up to 96.5 percent combustion efficiency. Our SmartSequencing feature maximizes energy across all boilers on a system, reducing energy costs. The unit also is certified as low NOx by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) with less than 20 ppm. Evergreen was designated as Most Efficient 2015 by ENERGY STAR.” – Klein (Weil-McLain)
• Using technology to comply with codes and standards seems like an obvious practice, but we were curious about what new developments there’ve been in boiler technology. We asked the manufacturers to tell us about any new developments in boiler technology that their company made recently.
“Many new technology developments have been designed into the new AERCO Benchmark Platinum high-efficiency, condensing boilers. The boilers feature a dual return capability that takes full advantage of diverse load demands specific to a site. Most traditional boilers offer a single return that forces the blending of hot and cold water temperatures. Benchmark Platinum’s dual returns keep cold water separate; creating a larger condensing zone in the heat exchanger that improves boiler efficiency up to 7 percent. Another advancement is AERtrim, AERCO’s patented advanced O2 Trim technology that monitors actual site conditions and self-adjusts its combustion process to ensure the boiler is operating at optimal O2 levels and peak system efficiency. A system with proper O2 levels delivers greater uptime reliability, produces lower emissions and creates the ideal environment for condensing to occur, which saves money with an additional 1-2 percent in seasonal efficiency gain. It also lowers operating and maintenance costs by ensuring the system is operating at peak performance. Remote monitoring, such as OnAER, is another key advancement. It continuously monitors the overall health of a boiler system to help more efficiently maintain and protect a boiler investment.” – Hernandez (AERCO)
Baxi recently introduced gas-adaptive, self-calibrating boiler technology with the Baxi Luna Duo-Tec GA technology. “We have introduced common venting for multiple commercial boiler installations. Based on the success of our all-in-one residential Baxi Luna Duo-Tec GA series (both combi CH and DHW, and CH-only), we have now included more built-in components to our commercial Luna Duo-Tec MP models. Those components now include a built-in pump, pressure relief valve, low water cutoff, frost protect, 0-10 V interface in the PCB, as well as program modes for automatic de-aeration, anti-Legionella, anti-wind, chimney sweep and commissioning functions, for example.” – Thomas (Baxi)
“A key focus area for Bosch is being a technology leader in the Internet of Things (IoT). Our boilers can currently be controlled by the Bosch Control smart thermostat, and in Europe we have already launched the Bosch Smart Home system. There is future consideration of introducing it in North America, as well. This will allow, for example, your boiler to communicate with other areas of your home. Imagine you are feeling a little warm in early spring so you open your window. The boiler would know and automatically shut down to further reduce energy usage.” – Moffroid (Bosch)
“One of the most interesting new features is our VSPC variable speed pump control. It’s standard on MagnaTech boilers and optional on 285-1200 model Brute Series boilers. The VSPC maintains a constant boiler Delta T by adjusting a variable speed boiler circulator in conjunction with the firing rate. By maintaining a constant Delta T, the VSPC reduces the pump’s electrical consumption at lower firing rates. Considering most condensing boilers only operate at their full capacity for a very small fraction of the year, the VSPC can produce electrical savings of up to 70 percent.” – Warren (Bradford White)
“The recently released MAC high-efficiency boiler, from Utica Boilers, features a control system called AI (Artificial Intelligence). The AI control is able to determine the fuel being supplied to the boiler — liquid propane or natural gas — and automatically commissions the boiler. The control continuously calibrates combustion by adjusting air/fuel ratios. The proper gas air mixture optimizes combustion resulting in fuel savings and reduced maintenance costs.” – Loran (ECR International)
“We introduced our own wireless portal to allow for remote access and monitoring of our boilers.” – Dodd (IBC)
“The Laars unique VARI-PRIME control functionality balances combustion, air flow and water flow to optimize boiler efficiency per indoor and outdoor conditions. The result is a large reduction in the boiler’s gas and electrical energy consumption and therefore a smaller bill for the building owner. VARI-PRIME is currently available on MagnaTherm and NeoTherm lines, but will soon be available on many of our residential condensing boilers as ECM pump technology finds its way into the residential market.” – O’Donnell (Laars Heating Systems)
“Noritz will be launching the NRCB unit in September, allowing simultaneous use of space and domestic water heating. This will be a nice addition to our combination boiler offering. Plus, its Wi-Fi capability will allow for wireless control and diagnostics.” – Fleming (Noritz)
“With the increase popularity in modulating/condensing boilers we find that new options are always becoming available. We test as many as we can to guarantee function and dependability. It’s through this testing that we recently released a 10:1 turndown ratio on the new VMAX153 Series boilers.” – Wieland (NTI Boilers)
“We have developed a new low emission, high-efficiency steam boiler that uses 50 percent less floor space than its predecessor.” – Leeming (Parker Boiler)
“We’ve developed a hybrid condensing tankless style unit with a 3-gallon buffer tank to meet the amazing concept of the hybrid tankless-water-heater.” – Ernest (VESTA)
• Technology is not the only thing that’s trending. We asked the manufacturers: what are some trends in regards to space, size and materials that impact manufacturing?
“Like the automotive industry, the high-efficiency boiler market will continue to make more efficient products for less money.” – Dodds (IBC)
“The biggest trend can be seen in the materials used to design and manufacture boilers. The market is integrating the finest materials to ensure high reliability, long life and low maintenance. By incorporating higher-end materials, boilers are delivering a greater level of performance that is now expected in the market.” – Hernandez (AERCO)
“One of the worldwide trends we are tracking is 3D printing, which we currently use in our R&D labs for prototyping, and may eventually reach the factory floor for selected parts. Another trend is Industry 4.0, which we have already implemented in some factories to modernize our processes and reduce unexpected production interruptions.” – Moffroid (Bosch)
“We use a lot of stainless steel as certain grades are more resistant to different operating characteristics — not only in the heat exchangers of our condensing boilers and volume water heaters, but also in flue and jacket components for various products throughout our product line. Our manufacturing facility in Rochester, New Hampshire has been expanded and re-designed to cut, form and weld the various grades and gauges of stainless steel.” – Warren (Bradford White)
“Our newer compact boiler designs meet the demands of a market that is trending towards products that take up less space, weigh less and use different materials in the construction of the heat exchanger.” – Loran (ECR International)
“Space and size is always a consideration. If one contractor is able to install a unit, it saves him or her time and money. Noritz’s use of 304 austenite stainless steel for both primary and secondary heat exchangers is helping make it an industry leader.” – Fleming (Noritz)
“In general, smaller is better (in regards to boilers/water heaters/pool heaters). Stainless steel is making major inroads – even though aluminum would work effectively. Trends are moving toward larger input boilers in packaged designs.” – Corcoran (Raypak)
VESTA’s Ernest believes the trends we see today highlight the benefits of the tankless water heating products, which include “condensing, space and ease of installation.”
“One significant trend is the need to develop boilers that offer improved maneuverability when faced with confined spaces. Another trend is the ability to meet more stringent weight restriction. Such challenges especially apply to retrofits and newer buildings where space is at a premium. We are also witnessing the need for compact size in the combi-boiler market, and the industry is responding.” – Klein (Weil-McLain)
• Next, we asked what are some ways in which installation costs, time, etc. have been addressed?
“AERCO has always emphasized developing efficient solutions that save time and money during all phases of a boiler’s lifecycle. Our compact boiler design lowers installation costs because they fit through a standard doorway and in standard elevators, eliminating the need for expensive cranes or knocking down walls.” – Hernandez (AERCO)
“The all-in-one Baxi wall-hung boiler has always made installation faster than other boilers that require timely installation of components that are not included. By adding automatic gas adaptivity, auto de-aeration, self-calibration at commissioning and continuously for the life of the boiler, we have set a new standard for high-efficiency heating solutions.” – Thomas (Baxi)
“More and more of our products are incorporating a low loss header in direct response to requests from our installers. This type of plug-and-play solution allows them to spend less time on the jobsite and provide more value to their customers, which is a win-win solution.” – Moffroid (Bosch)
“There are quite a few time-saving features throughout the Bradford White Branded Boiler line. For example, our Brute Series line of condensing boilers and volume water heaters all feature quick set-up control menus, which groups the basic settings together for quick adjustment and start-up by the installer. Another is feature is top-mounted piping, water, and electrical connections on Brute Series 80-850 models. It’s a space-saver for stand-alone units, but it also allows two units to be installed at floor level with a significantly smaller footprint.” – Warren (Bradford White)
“The MAC and UCS, from Utica Boiler’s high-efficiency condensing boiler line, will feature a labor saver primary/secondary manifold and a built-in boiler loop pump. In addition, low-water cutoff is standard. These features simplify the installation for the contractor by reducing piping as well as electrical wiring requirements.” – Loran (ECR International)
“We offer an express set-up on our touchscreen controller with factory presets that allows for fast, efficient programming.” – Dodds (IBC)
“The attraction to lighter weight, compact wall-hung boilers has certainly assisted the installation process and requirements. Easier to transport and install, Navien products have reduced installation requirements and manpower required. With simple venting options, factory manifolds available and forgiving gas supply requirements due to our advanced combustion system, it’s never been easier to install our boilers.” – Fenske (Navien)
“Our combination boilers are smaller than traditional cast iron boilers, which helps reduce installation costs and allows the use of PVC or CPVC instead of stainless steel venting for further savings. Items we offer, such as isolator and manifold kits, make the plumbing easier and more time-efficient for the installer. Noritz also includes an outdoor temperature reset with all CB units, which saves time and money spent on programming and operation.” – Fleming (Noritz)
“At NTI we are constantly listening to what our contractors want to have. For instance all of our boilers are fully serviceable from the front, have an 120 V outlet on the side, vent connections that accommodate multiple types of pipe, and have service switches.” – Wieland (NTI Boilers)
“We have been selling more packaged skid-mounted systems. It gives the owner single source responsibility once utilities are properly installed.” – Leeming (Parker Boiler)
“Raypak has always tried to make our products “plug-n-play” where you install the unit (properly) and simply turn it on, and it operates correctly and well. Raypak tries to provide good troubleshooting/diagnostic tools on our products. Additionally, Raypak is an industry leader in outdoor installations; we have done this for almost all Raypak products. Raypak has strived to ship replacement parts orders better/faster than other manufacturers to provide better customer service when issues occur.” – Corcoran (Raypak)
“One key item is our ‘Self-Calibration-Mode’ at start up.” – Ernest (VESTA)
“The many high-tech advances offered in boilers today can present challenges for contractors and others not totally familiar with the technologies. That’s why it’s imperative that manufacturers create products that can help facilitate the installation process. Thankfully, the same advances in technology can provide just that. Take a look at our SlimFit boiler; it has a set-up wizard that offers simple, intuitive controls that help walk the contractor through menus during the installation process. It’s also worth noting here that in addition to ease of installation, the newer products feature significant advancements in boiler control that include remote control and diagnostics, boiler-to-boiler communications, modulating from maximum input to minimum input, rotating lead lag and integration with building automation systems and smart homes.” – Klein (Weil-McLain)
• These manufacturers have put in a lot of time and thought into producing products that not only meet regulations, but also live up to the customer’s expectations and wants. We asked what customer feedback have you received about boilers and the market?
“The majority of customers are seeking to control costs. So they expect solutions that are easy to install, highly efficient during operation and extremely reliable for extended boiler life. Customers also expect greater intelligence from their boiler solutions, so they can be monitored remotely, as well as easily integrated into plant management solutions and boiler management systems (BMS). These features have become standard to meet market needs.” – Hernandez (AERCO)
“In the compact wall-hung category, contractors and consumers alike are placing a higher value on reliability than on efficiency, incentives, warranties, training and ease of installation. We get very positive feedback from our contractors on not only reliability of boiler performance, but especially on after-sales technical support. We do not solve a boiler operating issue by replacing it; we help our installers and service technicians find and fix a problem with a high level of success. That builds trust and confidence, not only in the product but especially the Baxi people working in partnership to deliver reliability to the end-user.” – Thomas (Baxi)
“Our customers are seeing a crowded boiler market and want to work with a reliable partner. The targets haven’t changed in terms of needing a reliable product at a fair price with excellent customer service. But some of these priorities are getting shifted around in a crowded field, which is creating some unwanted instability in the market. We are happy to be one of the leading manufacturers in all of these areas and continue to push the envelope, as we have for several decades in North America.” – Moffroid (Bosch)
“We have found that is it important to keep things simple and efficient for our customers. They want a straightforward installation and setup of our products, whether it is in a new application or a replacement situation.” – Warren (Bradford White)
“Contractors have realized that the high-efficiency segment of the market is where the growth potential is. The condensing line, from Utica Boilers, includes models with unique features that make it faster and easier to install and setup these boilers. Intelligent controls, simple piping and quick connections are some of the ways we accommodate them.” – Loran (ECR International)
For Dodds (IBC), the feedback comes across simply as, “Easy set-up, and ease of service are important when selecting a boiler.”
“Residential and commercial customers both look for feature-rich controls that are intuitive and easy to use such as the large color touch screen user interfaces found on all Laars high-efficiency commercial products. Additionally, users are looking to optimize total installed efficiency of their boiler installations. A key attribute to this is tying boiler modulation rates together with outdoor reset measurements and variable speed pumping. In response to this need, Laars developed the proprietary VARI-PRIME control system that seamlessly matches the firing rate of a Laars boiler to its variable speed boiler pump’s flow to minimize operational expense.” – O’Donnell (Laars Heating Systems)
“The attraction to wall-hung, compact, lightweight and high-efficient boiler products has been appealing to installing heating contractors. Consumers appreciate the space-saving, off-the-floor boiler design, also.” – Fenske (Navien)
“In general, customers have praised the ease-of-installation and set-up resulting from the available pre-selected defaults. However, no heating system is the same, so it’s still important to adjust the CB for optimized performance at each installation location.” – Fleming (Noritz)
“There is a clear need and desire for technical training that provides installers with installation, service and maintenance knowledge. There is a market shift toward high efficiency solutions and compact, pre-mixed solutions.” – Corcoran (Raypak)
“Federal and local utility rebates continue to drive opportunity and provide the consumer savings.” – Ernest (VESTA)
“Specific to Weil-McLain, AquaBalance was introduced late last year and showcased at the 2017 AHR Expo; both customer response and sales have been excellent. And when Evergreen was launched in 2015, we initially could not keep up with the demand. This underscores our belief that products that offer meaningful innovations with high-efficiency benefits will appeal to the marketplace. Tempering this, obviously, is the fact that three warm winters in a row have not helped sales of heating products overall.” – Klein (Weil-McLain)
• If you’re in this industry, the hope is to be able to ultimately deliver comfort to the end-user, your customer. But comfort means different things to different people. So we asked the manufacturers what it meant to them.
“Comfort means living in a care-free way. It means being confident that professional people are always readily available should I need their help. It means sleeping well at night. From a gas-fired Baxi boiler property owner standpoint, comfort is even warmth and reliable performance.” – Thomas (Baxi)
“Comfort should not require effort. To be fully comfortable an owner must have peace of mind. In terms of a heating system, this means not worrying about whether the system is working properly, may break down this winter or next, or is using more energy than necessary. It also means not having to constantly make adjustments as the weather outside changes or as you move from room to room. This concept of “invisible comfort” is something we are pleased to offer our customers with the reliability of a Bosch boiler and a suite of programmable controls.” – Moffroid (Bosch)
“Comfort is knowing that we put tremendous quality into designing, engineering and building our products to ultimately provide the best variety and performance for our customers.” – Warren (Bradford White)
“The heating or cooling system in a structure, that provides its occupants comfort year-round, should be reliable and undetectable. No drastic swings in temperature should be occurring — that’s comfort.” – Loran (ECR International)
“Warm, even radiant heat. When it comes to comfort, conventional forced air heating cannot compete.” – Dodds (IBC)
“Comfort can mean many things but words such as ‘reliability,’ ‘ease-of-use,’ ‘peace of mind’ in product performance and, as we know in this industry, hydronic heat, offer unparalleled heating comfort to those occupying the living space.” – O’Donnell (Laars Heating Systems)
“Comfort in its truest sense should be felt and not be seen or heard. Regarding heating and boilers, delivering this comfort without noise, drafts or unsightly diffusers or emitters. A perfect example of this would be a low-temp, highly efficient radiant heating system powered by a high-efficient gas-condensing boiler. – Fenske (Navien)
“To me, comfort means not having to think about heat for your home or hot water. You can count on a consistent temperature that is achieved with little variation.” – Fleming (Noritz)
“That my shoes are not too tight. I’m just kidding. I am comfortable, and most of our customers are too. Parker Boiler products last a very long time with little or no failures.” – Leeming (Parker Boiler)
“Comfort is made up of many things, which include the temperature, humidity, energy expended, cost of the energy expended, the space required, warranty, availability of replacement warranty parts, knowledge and professionalism of the installing service contractor.” – Ernest (VESTA)
“You want to achieve warmth and comfort in the best possible way. We see boilers as delivering the better overall experience due to the type of heat they provide: more even heat, softer (not dry) heat and heat delivered effectively in any and all parts of the home and space.” – Klein (Weil-McLain)
• Our manufacturers are optimistic about what lies ahead in the industry, here’s what they had to say about an outlook for the boiler market:
“We see a bright future. AERCO is experiencing growth as decision-makers see the benefits of high-efficiency solutions such as those offered by AERCO. We are also well positioned to meet the market demand for more ‘connected’ boiler solutions. Facility managers need intelligence and access at their fingertips, and by integrating tools such as OnAER Remote Monitoring, AERCO is meeting that requirement. Another reason for a favorable forecast is that we see the economy growing, which we expect will lead to more capital investments.” – Hernandez (AERCO)
“We have no reason to believe that the outlook for reliable high-efficiency wall-hung boilers is anything but promising. As more property owners and renters throughout the U.S. and Canada become more familiar with the space and cost-saving benefits of a high-quality wall-hung boiler, like Baxi, the category will begin to move closer to the European experience where the technology is, by far, the most preferred heating solution.” – Thomas (Baxi)
“We are expecting moderate growth in the boiler market this year, driven partially by new construction, but more by a higher replacement market supported by an improving economy. We’re also hoping we experience a colder winter than the last one in many areas of the U.S.” – Moffroid (Bosch)
“As boilers become more refined and efficient, we see steady growth in both replacement and new commercial applications. On the residential side, the expectation is that the replacement market will remain steady and consumer confidence strong, with a wider variety of new, more efficient products available for today’s homes.” – Warren (Bradford White)
“I am optimistic that the high-efficiency wall-mounted boiler market will continue to grow as the trade becomes more familiar with the technology.” – Dodds (IBC)
“Our outlook focuses on continued growth in the condensing boiler market segment. The popularity of combi-condensing boilers will continue to spur this growth trend.” – Loran (ERC International)
“We expect 2017 to unfold much like 2016 did with continued interest/growth in our high-efficiency condensing product lines in both the residential and commercial markets. Both new home construction and residential replacements are showing growth in the use of condensing units, especially combi units. We’re also seeing commercial construction expansion where high-efficiency products are being specified. However, there continues to be a strong demand for our near condensing, fan-assisted commercial product due to the overall value offered.” – O’Donnell (Laars Heating Systems)
“Generally, boiler sales have been flat with minimal increases year to year, but I am convinced this is changing. With the efficiency choices and space-saving designs, boilers as the main source or ancillary heat uses will continue to increase in use and popularity. While the economy improves, discretionary spending increases on items such as residential additions, finishing basements and add-on rec rooms, all perfect for comfortable hydronic heating.” – Fenske (Navien)
“The boiler market has been a little soft this year, but we see this as an opportunity to introduce Noritz to the market as a true boiler alternative. Finding new uses for the combination boiler has shown very positive signs for continued growth in this category.” – Fleming (Noritz)
“Good,” says Leeming (Parker Boiler), “our sales keep growing.”
“We see the demand for tankless condensing boiler and combi-boiler market growing.” – Ernest (VESTA)
“Weather always is a factor, as we have experienced mild winters in recent years. However, the high-efficiency market will continue to grow as green energy resources grow — as well as the rebates to fund them. Standard efficiency boilers will remain steady for the foreseeable future — at least until the more stringent DOE laws take effect.” – Klein (Weil-McLain)
To learn more about the products these manufacturers produce, turn over to our special boiler product section on page 60, or visit each of the manufacturers for more information.