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How Do I Know When It’s Time to Replace My Boiler?

Touching radiator

Posted: March 15, 2019

If you have radiators or baseboards rather than air vents in your Delaware Valley home, then you have a boiler rather than a furnace – and like any piece of equipment, that boiler will eventually have to be replaced one day. Here are a few signs that will help you determine if a replacement system is in order.

  • How old is it? If your boiler’s age is creeping up on 20 years old, you’ll save money on your annual heating costs in the long run by replacing it with a new, more efficient system.
  • Do you see any corrosion? Just like your water heater, if you see outward signs of rust on your boiler, it’s time is limited. A professional inspection may also reveal damage to piping or other boiler components.
  • Is it keeping you warm enough? A properly working boiler should keep you comfortable even on the coldest nights, but a boiler’s operating performance diminishes with the passage of time.
  • Your heating costs continue to increase. Your boiler’s efficiency slowly degrades the older it gets. Lower efficiency means higher heating costs. Add in a higher number of repairs for an old system and this is another strong sign that you would do well to let go of your old boiler.
  • Diminished hot water production. If you depend on your boiler to heat your domestic hot water—Summer/Winter Hook-Up Systems—and you’re not getting as much hot water as before, this could be a sign of a leaking or corroded coil on the boiler – a precursor to boiler failure.

Boiler basics

Here are some boiler basics, including information about a type of high efficiency boiler.

There are two types of boilers: a steam boiler, often found in older homes, and the modern, and more energy-efficient, hot water boiler. Steam boilers require special safety precautions because of the temperature of the steam (the water must be heated to 212°F). As a result, it is vitally important to follow a regular maintenance schedule.

All boilers – whether powered by heating oil, propane, or natural gas – extract heat from fuel as it burns; this heats the water (or creates steam) that will run through the zones that are calling for heat. The heat is delivered through your radiators or baseboards.

The problem is that some heat (as much as 30 percent in some older boiler models) will be lost as exhaust, which means you are paying a lot of money for heat that will never reach your living space.

Condensing boilers

In a high-efficiency condensing boiler, heat loss is reduced dramatically. By recycling heat from the exhaust process – and by operating at lower temperatures overall – your condensing boiler can improve operating efficiency by 10-15% compared to a non-condensing boiler.

So why aren’t all boilers condensing, considering their obvious efficiency advantages? For one thing, condensing boilers cost more to manufacture. Plus, a condensing boiler is not practical for all homes. What’s more, installing a condensing boiler correctly requires highly trained technicians who know how to capitalize on the efficiency benefits of these sophisticated machines.

The good news is that you can find those highly trained technicians at Wilson Oil and Propane. We can start off by sending one of our boiler experts to your home to evaluate your current system and then discuss your replacement options.

Every boiler we install is covered by a substantial manufacturer’s warranty, and Wilson stands behind its installation work with a 100%-satisfaction guarantee. Whether you are replacing your old boiler or are curious about your options in high-efficiency boiler technology, contact us and we will be happy to help you.

Read more about boilers.