Boilers: How Old is Too Old?

Written on: November 6, 2023

Heating systems last decades — but their fuel efficiency decreases.

boiler repair New Paltz, ny Your home’s boiler — like your water heater, roof, refrigerator and automobile — is built to last for a long time, but it won’t last forever. And as with those other essential items, a failing boiler can seriously impact your life. You can’t get by without one for very long.

With over 40 years of ensuring the comfort of households in the Hudson Valley, the Kimlin Energy team knows a thing or two about boiler maintenance and when a boiler has reached the end of its service life.

How long does the average boiler last?

Today’s boilers typically last around 15 years with proper maintenance. If you take especially good care of your boiler, it might last over 20 years. Older boilers can last longer. In fact, our technicians have seen cast iron boilers that have been in operation for 50 years.

That’s pretty impressive — but there comes a time when you should consider replacing an older boiler.

When does a boiler replacement make more sense?

The longer your boiler has been in service, the more its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) will have deteriorated. The AFUE rating tells you how much of the fuel your boiler consumes goes to heating your home. It’s comparable to your car’s miles-per-gallon metric.

If your boiler is over 20 years old, you might get an AFUE of 60% or lower. Roughly half of every dollar you spend on oil or propane is going right out your flue or chimney!

Now, consider that today’s high-efficiency boilers have AFUE ratings close to 90% for heating oil and approaching 100% for gas. Improving your fuel efficiency that much will considerably lower your annual energy costs, quickly defraying the upgrade expense.

You also need to account for your older equipment’s increasing maintenance and repair costs. Eventually, the expense of keeping your old system running will approach a boiler replacement cost.

Are old boilers safe?

As long as you arrange annual boiler maintenance, you can be confident that your system is operating safely. A licensed HVAC technician like a Kimlin team member will ensure your boiler is burning fuel and venting combustion products safely.

That’s not to say you can’t get more peace of mind with a boiler update. Today’s boilers have safety features that automatically shut down their burners if there’s a safety issue. Older products may not have these mechanisms.

Kimlin Energy protects boiler integrity.

One way to safeguard the efficiency, safety and reliability of your boiler is with a Preferred Oil & Propane Plan. Our service plans include complimentary annual maintenance, discounts on parts and repairs, and 24/7 priority emergency service. In short, this coverage limits your liability in case of a breakdown while also ensuring your equipment gets the care and attention it needs to work efficiently for years to come.

If you’re interested in enrolling in a Kimlin Preferred Plan or need to arrange maintenance for your boiler, please contact our team.