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Should I Repair or Replace My Furnace or Boiler?

Posted: May 25, 2018

Basement furnace

Deciding whether to repair or replace a heating system is a not-so-fun question to answer – but it’s one that you will more than likely have to face at some point in your life as a homeowner.

Sometimes the choice is easy – especially if you have a furnace or boiler that is obviously on its last legs. But far more often you’ll find yourself in a gray area that requires careful consideration if you are to make the smartest decision for our Rhode Island home.

When you’re faced with a heating system “in-betweener,” here are some questions to answer that will help you decide whether repair or replacement is the right choice.

  1. How old is your system? A well-maintained furnace or boiler can last 12-15 years, but that doesn’t mean it will run at peak efficiency throughout its lifespan. If you’re having problems with a system that’s more than 10 years old, more often than not replacing is the smarter choice – especially when you consider the incredible efficiency performance of today’s propane furnaces and boilers. Before it reaches that age, you will have a tougher decision, but here’s a rule of thumb: if a repair costs 50 percent or more of the replacement cost, it’s generally worth the upgrade.
  2. How well have you maintained your heating system? If you’ve maintained your heating system regularly since the day it was installed, it’s a better bet to last longer with fewer costly problems. But even with perfect maintenance, your boiler or furnace will eventually kick the bucket – and no amount of maintenance will make your equipment more efficient than it was when you installed it (or more efficient than a new furnace or boiler).
  3. Does my home limit my options? Do you have ductwork in your home, or is it a character home with radiators or baseboards? Do you have enough space to accommodate a furnace or boiler that’s larger than your current model? Conditions like these can dictate what options are possible without making significant changes to your home.
  4. Has my heating load changed? If you’ve added space to your house without changing your heating system, the next breakdown you have could be caused by pushing your furnace or boiler beyond its capacity to meet your space’s new demands for heating power – a problem that is likely to recur if you keep your undersized system in place.
  5. Is my current system safe? A 10-year-old system carries a much higher risk of safety issues than one that is newly installed; for example, older heat exchangers can crack or rust, causing potentially dangerous carbon monoxide build-up in your home.

Summing up

When you weight the costs and benefits of repairing or replacing your furnace or boiler, there are often significant advantages to a heating system upgrade – especially as your equipment ages. Is repair ever a viable option?

Yes, if:

The bottom line: A furnace or boiler is a long-term investment – and like any investment, you need to do your research to find the best way to spend your money. When it comes time to make your choice, make it a smart one – call the pros at Vaughn Oil.

On the fence about repairing or replacing your heating system? We’ve got summer specials that can help you save up to $1,000 on a new, super-efficient, money-saving boiler or furnace! Contact us today to learn more and get a FREE, no obligation estimate!