Imagine your car runs only at full throttle. You tap the gas pedal and the car zooms to top speed until you stomp on the brakes. That would put a lot of stress on the car, not to mention you, your passengers and anyone else on the road or the sidewalk. And it would burn far more fuel than necessary to get from Point A to Point B.

That, in effect, is what happens with the typical residential boiler today. The house thermostat calls for heat and the boiler responds as if it’s the coldest day of the year, raising the water temperature as high as 180 degrees. The boiler runs at full throttle, even when it could be heating the house with much cooler water.


Enter the boiler reset control. Using various strategies, reset controls modulate the output of the boiler to match the heating demands of the home. On winter’s coldest days, the controls let the boiler run at maximum output. On milder days, which occur throughout the heating season, the controls ease off the “gas pedal.”

Reset controls have been around for decades, used mostly in commercial applications. Now they are winning acceptance in residential settings as well.

The reason is annual fuel savings estimated at 10% or more.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy estimates the savings at 11% in its 2009 report on emerging HVAC technologies. Some manufacturers — such as Intellidyne and Beckett — will give you your money back if their products don’t reduce your gas usage by at least 10%. In fact, the approach is so effective that modulating controls have been required on all residential boilers manufactured in the United States since September 2012.

But a lot of older boilers are still out there, operating without reset controls. This creates an attractive opportunity for utility-sponsored energy programs looking for cost-effective measures.

Reset controls have already found their way into programs in New Jersey, New York (City and State), Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Michigan. Those programs are offering rebates from $70 to $225 to encourage homeowners to install reset controls.

For homeowners with older boilers, adding a reset control is definitely worth considering. For utility program designers and administrators, the controls offer a great opportunity to capture significant cost-effective savings from the large base of installed boilers that are operating far below their potential.

Retrofitting boilers with a reset control is just one of the many energy-efficiency improvements we may suggest. Contact us to learn more.

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