Boiler On The Edge? Retrofits May Do For Now, But Weigh These Factors Before Deciding

Has your boiler been running inefficiently or giving you trouble? While the thought of making the investment in a new boiler may give you the chills, it may not be in your best interest to rule that option out. Here is a simple guide to making the wisest decision between retrofitting or replacing your boiler.

Equipment age

Though there’s no definite expiration date on a boiler, most domestic systems have a lifespan of a least 15 years, with some lasting much longer. If your current equipment is approaching its retirement age, the investment in retrofitting will simply not be worth it. While you may spend less money initially by adding efficiency retrofits like vent dampers, intermittent ignition devices, etc., you will find that you could have saved money by simply upgrading to a new system.

Boiler efficiency

What’s the current efficiency rating of your boiler? All heating systems are required to display their annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating, which will tell you how much of the energy in your boiler’s fuel actually becomes useful heat. In a unit with an AFUE of 90 percent, for example, nine-tenths of energy going into the system is converted into heat. Even if your current boiler is still years out from retirement, a retrofit may not be the most economical solution. If your system’s AFUE is below 70 percent, for example, efficiency retrofits can only do so much good. In this case, an investment in a new, more efficient model will be more cost-effective.

System condition

Another thing to consider when choosing between retrofitting and replacement is the condition of your current heating system. Without annual preventive maintenance, your boiler may experience frequent problems, and its lifespan may be significantly reduced. There is really no point in spending the money to retrofit a boiler that’s in poor condition. Even the best HVAC contractor can only do so much to help boost the performance of a substandard system.

For more advice on deciding between retrofitting or replacing your home’s boiler, contact the professionals at Overland Heating & Cooling. We proudly serve residents of the greater Kansas City area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Overland Park, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock