Repair it or replace it? That’s a dilemma most homeowners face at some point, especially when staring at the prospect of an expensive repair to fix something that’s broken in their home. When it comes to heating oil systems, here are some guidelines to help you feel better about your decision.
If your oil boiler or oil furnace is more than 15 years old, you might be better off with a new one. The average lifespan of a home heating system is about 20 years. Just like computers and smartphones, HVAC equipment becomes outdated over time. With better technology, a new high-efficiency heating oil system can often pay for itself within a few years with the money you save each year on heating costs. If you have problems with a system that’s less than 10 years old, you have a tougher decision. Your heating oil service provider or HVAC company can help you with that after they evaluate your system and get to the root of the problem.
If you’re not dealing with small, easy and inexpensive repairs, it’s time to crunch some numbers. If the cost to repair your heating oil system is at least half the cost of replacement, it makes sense to invest in a replacement system.
An older heating oil system could be operating at around 70% efficiency levels—or even less. That means nearly one-third of the heat that’s generated for your home will get wasted. Compare that with new systems, which tend to operate at 85% efficiency or higher. If you can gain a lot in efficiency, it may be best to replace now and reap the energy cost savings in the years ahead.
HVAC systems can have longer lifespans if the equipment has been properly installed and maintained. Regular preventive maintenance for every HVAC system is highly recommended. Proper maintenance may enable you to put off replacing your system for a few years; but do keep in mind that no amount of maintenance will make your equipment more efficient than it was when you first bought it.
Sometimes, limitations can dictate what’s possible for your HVAC systems without undertaking a major overhaul. This can include determining if your existing ductwork can support the kind of equipment you’re looking for. However, while there can be significant costs associated with system changes, higher efficiency may enable you to recoup those costs over time.
Be aware that structural remodeling of your house (a room addition, finished basement, etc.) will likely affect the “load” of your HVAC systems – the amount of energy needed to keep your home comfortable. If you’ve done work to your house – or plan to – your heating (and cooling) system needs to be able meet the demands of a larger load. Your heating oil service provider or HVAC contractor can help you determine what size system is best for your home comfort.
More than half of the new HVAC systems installed in the U.S. are not sized properly, and a mismatch means you’ll pay more every year for a system that performs below expectations. Poorly-sized heating systems may cost less to install because in order to offer a cheap price, many contractors cut corners during the installation process. This usually results in problems down the road with system longevity, poor comfort performance and/or premature breakdowns. In many cases, a poor installation will result in no energy savings and possibly increased energy costs.
When you weigh the costs and benefits of repairing or replacing older equipment with more efficient HVAC equipment, it’s clear that there are significant advantages to replacing an older system. So, when is a repair ever a viable option? Here are a few reasons.
Your home’s HVAC system should be considered a long-term investment whose components work together to ensure your comfort. Like any investment, you need to do your research to find the best way to spend your money. If you’re ready for a new boiler or furnace replacement, you can learn more here.
When you replace your old heating oil system with a new one, you may be eligible for rebates on qualifying high-efficiency heating oil systems. Not only will you be adding value to your Michigan home when you upgrade your system, you could also be cutting your annual heating costs by 20% or more.
Read more about Michigan heating oil rebates.