Regular maintenance can keep a boiler going strong for about 15 years, but even the best-kept boilers wear out eventually. When repairs start adding up, it can make more financial sense to invest in a new boiler. And if safety issues are causing the boiler to be a liability, you’ll want to make replacement a priority. If your boiler is aging and you’re not sure if you could put off replacement another year, here are some guidelines to let you know sooner is better than later.
1. YOUR BOILER IS OLDER THAN 15 YEARS
Consistent maintenance can extend the life of your boiler beyond 15 years, but at that point the costs often don’t make sense. Not only do older boilers need additional maintenance, but technology has advanced as well. Purchasing a new boiler will frequently save companies money within a few short years of the purchase.
2. YOUR BOILER’S ENERGY EFFICIENCY RATING IS LOWER THAN AN “A”
Boilers are rated for energy efficiency on a scale of A to G, with A being 90% efficiency and G being 70% efficiency. Upgrading your boiler can save you money in the long run on energy costs. You can calculate just how much you can save with this calculator tool from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
3. YOUR BOILER TAKES LONGER TO HEAT UP THAN IT USED TO
Boilers that are working properly should heat within seconds. If you’re having to wait several minutes to feel hot air and you’ve already attempted repairs, you probably need a new boiler.
4. YOUR BOILER’S FLAME IS YELLOW INSTEAD OF BLUE
A yellow flame can indicate the presence of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide doesn’t have an odor, so it’s difficult to detect. If you see a yellow flame, your boiler should be immediately examined. Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous and can be fatal, so it’s wise to install a carbon monoxide detector to alert you to a problem. Black soot is another indicator that carbon monoxide may be being emitted.
5. YOUR BOILER IS LEAKING
When a boiler starts leaking, it’s often nearing the end of its lifespan. A leak indicates that a seal or valve is broken. Flooding from boiler leakage is also expensive to repair, so you’ll want to replace a leaking boiler if it can’t be repaired easily. And because a leak can lead to an electrical short circuit, which is dangerous, leaks should be dealt with immediately.
6. YOUR FUEL COSTS ARE RISING
Barring a price increase by your energy provider, rising fuel costs usually mean that your boiler is becoming less efficient, wasting fuel. If this drop in efficiency can’t be repaired, it most often is best to replace.
7. YOUR ROOMS ARE NO LONGER BEING HEATED EVENLY
If some of your rooms are becoming hotter or colder, your boiler’s controls may not be working properly. A variation in temperature indicates that something is wrong as well. Again, if this problem can’t be solved with a repair, you’ll want to look into purchasing a newer boiler.
8. YOUR BOILER NEEDS REPAIRED MORE OFTEN
Every boiler will need regular maintenance, but if an engineer has to come out and address problems regularly, the cost of repairs outweighs the cost of purchasing a newer boiler.
9. YOUR BOILER’S PARTS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE
If your engineer is finding it difficult to source parts for your boiler, the extra time and effort is going to affect the cost of maintaining your boiler.
The two deciding factors in the repair-or-replace debate are safety and cost. If your aging boiler doesn’t show any signs of safety issues that would necessitate an immediate purchase, we recommend doing a cost analysis to compare the cost of repairing your current boiler over the next couple of years with purchasing a newer one.